Sometimes acquisitions and mergers don’t work — meaning a lot of the time. With the big egos of CEOs, ideas that don’t work well together when one or two assumptions don’t pan out and myriad other problems, there is a lot that can go wrong when two companies link up in hopes of bettering their business operations. The following are some of the worst crashes and burns on record in the tech world.

Microsoft and Groove Networks

Microsoft and Groove Networks

Image via Flickr by Max Braun

Back in 2000, everybody wasn’t talking about “the Cloud” as the next big thing. Ray Ozzie was possibly the first person to use that term to describe the linking of terminals so that work groups could collaborate easily. The idea is so brilliant that it has a number of similarities to what many people are doing today — and Microsoft wanted it.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has a habit of building on existing platforms instead of developing new ones to match their needs. When the Groove platform that Microsoft bought eventually became avaible for users, it effectively amounted to a synchronization utility and was heavily watered down. It has been rendered far less effective in the days of users who aren’t tied to their PCs as they used to be.

Sprint and Nextel

Sprint believed that if it purchased the rather large competitor Nextel, it would both gain an ally and sacrifice an enemy. Unfortunately, this became a matter of improper consideration leading to a lot of growing pains. The cultures at the two companies were wildly divisive, causing them to integrate poorly. Beyond the cultural issues, Sprint and Nextel used radically different types of technology. Sprint’s stock plunged, many of its executives jumped ship and the company lost billions of dollars for the poorly planned acquisition. If you still have a Nextel, it’s probably best to get a quality internet provider, like hughesnet gen4 internet, because that phone is probably only good for surfing around on the web.

HP and VooDoo

HP and VooDoo

Image via Flickr by Pop Culture Geek

Most PC manufacturers make their living by selling massive numbers of PCs, and to do this there is a certain quality standard that should be met but not wildly exceeded. There is a time and a place for extremely well-made hardware, and high end PCs have occupied this limited niche. However, when HP purchased VooDoo, the company made no significant effort to market the high level brand to its native audience — gamers and workers who demand the highest quality level and who will pay for something a cut above the rest.

Putting a top-tier PC into a mainstream venue is asking for trouble. Unfortunately, HP did not understand that there is a time and place for the best. That place isn’t the shelves of Best Buy.Ordinary consumers expecting ordinary hardware were not interested in paying top dollar for the best, and now VooDoo is essentially nonexistent.

Apple and Quattro Wireless

Apple was searching for a way to monetize its services the way Google does, so they purchased Quattro as one more Next Big Thing. However, this experiment failed because Apple was already producing an online platform that was more advanced that its purchase. There goes $275 million.

The tech world is full of bad ideas. The above were just some of the worst.