Worst Year Ever: Top 10 Losers in 2012

These people, places, and things would love to leave 2012 in the dust.

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CABLE TV OPERATORS

In an economy where families are looking to save money at any and all costs, the cable TV industry is feeling the belt tighten as more and more households "cut the cord" in 2012.

Multiple reports surfaced throughout the year, ranging from testimonials to earnings reports, that showed people were leaving their cable subscriptions for a number of different Video On Demand or a-la carte television services.

A big reason people are walking away from high cable bills is the added cost applied by sports stations. ESPN pulls in over $5.50 per cable subscriber, forcing customers to purchase the channel lineup despite a good portion of the viewing public never tuning into the network's programming.

With some people using high-speed Internet access and DVD rentals to drop their monthly television bill to as low as $8 a month, 2013 could usher in the year the majority of television watchers tune cable out once and for all.

APPLE MAPS

This screenshot made on an iPad shows the new Apple Maps app released Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. The app replaces Google Maps with Apple's own application. Early upgraders are reporting that the new maps are less detailed, look weird and misplace landmarks. (AP)

Normally, Apple products arrive with such a fanfare, anyone found criticizing them are usually met with disdain from the Apple community. However, one Apple product released this year was so bad, Australian police called it "life-threatening."

Apple Maps, bundled with the release of the iOS6 operating system update, was supposed to be Apple's in-house replacement to Google Maps, offering a better GPS along with stunning 3-D visuals. The app was a disaster, with landmarks moved to random locations, other locations dropping off the map entirely, and 3-D pictures that reminded users of a bad acid trip.

The app's GPS proved to be a danger to some drivers in Australia, where it led them to the middle of a desert instead of a town of about 30,000 people. The town's police department put out a press release after the incident saying that the app was dangerous for use.

The blowback to Apple Maps was so bad, Apple CEO Tim Cook had to issue an apology. Apple has been slowly fixing the problems, but Google may have beaten Apple to the punch. Google released an updated maps app for iOS in December, which people praised while simultaneously continuing to dump on Apple.

RUPERT MURDOCH

The Australian media magnate may not have had as scandalous of a year as he had in 2011, but 2012 could have been a lot better for Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch's media empire started the year by announcing that a number of its newspapers would lose over $100 million in both the U.S. and UK over the course of the year. A few months later, following negative publicity from a celebrity phone-hacking scandal and pressure from shareholders, News Corp. split its news and entertainment divisions into two separate companies.

The hacking scandal wasn't the only bit of legal trouble Murdoch dealt with in 2012. In November, is was reported that U.S. authorities were looking into photos of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein that ran in two of Murdoch's papers. It is alleged that News Corp. bribed a U.S. military figure in order to obtain the photos, which is against federal law. The company said in response: News Corp said: 'We didn't believe then, and certainly don't believe now, that it was wrong to acquire and publish newsworthy photographs of a notorious war criminal.'

Murdoch's company also took a big hit when it was forced to shutter The Daily, News Corp's iPad-only digital newspaper, in December. Reports said the venture lost as much as $30 million over the course of its first year.

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  • Greg Otto is a news editor at U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at gotto@usnews.com.