Fascination with Portlets Gone Wrong - Orange.com
I must admit, I've always been skeptical about portlets (or whatever else you happen to be calling the same notion in your technology). I've rarely seen a website where I found them a necessity. I do not use, or ever intend to use, iGoogle, because I never go to their homepage - my browser allows me to search from the toolbar. As a matter of fact, the only two cases where widgets make any sense, that I know of, are OS-X Dashboard and Facebook. I have not bothered to customize even those, much, to be honest, though.
To my great delight, most website owners quickly figured that the "usability" myth of morphing their websites into a pile of "widgets" was nothing more than a mirage. They quickly kicked the know-it-all-can-sell-any-bullshit "consultants" that suggested it out of the door - where they belong.
Unfortunately, it seems like Orange of France Telecom "did not get the memo". Somebody over there managed to "portletize" the homepage (!) of the corporate website. Now, it's one thing to let users customize their own profile pages, but to turn corporate homepage into a Lego™ toy is just a whole new level of a case of an arrested development.