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The Top 20 Tech Stories of 2011


11
Netflix Confuses Us More

One company that gave HP a run for the money in 2011's confusion department was Netflix. The company was doing well for the first half of 2011 -- the stock price climbed up to $305 on June 13 at its highest point [source: Google finance]. It seemed like Netflix was everywhere, including computers, tablets, phones, video game consoles and set-top boxes. What could possibly go wrong?

We found out in September. That's when Netflix announced changes to its price plans. Before September, customers in the United States could subscribe to a combined DVD and Internet-streaming plan for $9.99 per month. The company decided to split Internet-streaming and DVD plans into two categories. Combining them would now cost customers $15.98 per month. That's a 62.5-percent price hike. To say that Netflix customers protested the change would be putting it lightly.

The response was so vocal that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings published an official apology on the Netflix blog. But then he went on to create a new controversy by announcing that the company would spin off its DVD service as its own organization. The Internet-streaming division would still be called Netflix. The new company's name would be known as Qwikster. Customers would have to manage two different accounts with two different companies if they wanted to have both DVD and Internet-streaming service.

The negative response to the new announcement prompted Netflix to reverse course and say that nothing would change -- apart from the earlier price hikes. Shareholders may have felt a little dismay as the stock price fell down below $100. By Dec. 1, 2011, the price was at $64.42 per share when the market opened. Rumors popped up that Netflix might look to sell to a larger company -- candidates included Verizon, Google and Microsoft, among others.


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