It was quite a year of mistakes, with Carol Bartz leaving Yahoo, HP trying once again to re-orient itself and hiring ex-California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. On top of this comes various reports that once again email is dead or dying (this could be a tedious repetition of the "year of the LAN" that we went through in the 1990s, even though email has been incorporated at the main notification mechanism of just about every piece of corporate software). But there were some spectacular enterprise Web blunders of the year that we've seen that are worth noting here.
- Delicious sold from Yahoo to YouTube.Delicious continues to be a disappointment, as we wrote earlier this fall, looking like "just another Web 2.0 startup." As social bookmarking morphs into "Like" and "Share" buttons on just about every social software, Delicious' time has come and seemingly gone.
- Data.com and Salesforce.com. Data.com has two parents, Salesforce and Dun & Bradstreet. The union will result in combining the information in Jigsaw with the information in the D&B archives, which tracks mostly large businesses across the world. We wrote here that the conflict with Jigsaw, an existing Salesforce effort was going to be a problem earlier in the fall. The jury is still out on this one.
- VMware v5 mispricing. We wrote about the various miscues with the new v5 versions of various VMware products here. While they made some adjustments, their pricing is still far too complex and too costly. Eventually, we think they will regret these decisions. In the meantime, the VMware ecosystem is rich with apps, partners and users. While there are stories of a few customers who are switching, most are just complaining for now.
- Google App Engine overpricing. We wrote about Google's huge price increases to its App Engine here earlier this fall. They still haven't done anything to address this and answer the complaint from many of their developers.
- In June, OpenOffice.org began the transition from a 12-year project at Sun/Oracle to a "podling" as they are called in the Apache Foundation open source community. Many of the original developers of OpenOffice left or were pushed out and went to The Document Foundation, where they developed a separate fork called LibreOffice that was first released at the beginning of 2011. Apache's public license is somewhat different from the GNU licensing terms used by Oracle, which means that code improvements from Apache can be used by Libre but not the other way around. Since LibreOffice began, they have added features and cleaned up the old code, announced plans for delivering iOS and Android versions, and are now the default Office software in numerous Linux distros.
- Microsoft acquired Skype in May and a lot was written about the promises and opportunities. To date, none of these have been realized, but also Skype seems to be fine and continuing under its new overlords. There are new versions for both Mac and Windows, something feared when Microsoft made its purchase but which hasn't come to pass. Hopefully, Microsoft will leave Skype alone and not try to make it into Unified Live Office Communications Realtime Professional Edition.
- Facebook. No accounting for enterprise blunders of the past year can ignore the numerous bad examples of Facebook. On its way to becoming the great equalizer of the profound and the trivial, they continue to perplex everyone with its UI-of-the-week club, features that come and go faster than Microsoft can say "Office Ribbon" and of course so many privacy options to make your head spin. Perhaps next year will see more maturity and stability of the popular service. Until then, its antics are a case study in what not to do for ordinary mere mortal developers who have apps with say 750 users rather than 750 million).