Innovation has led to unprecedented technological advances over the last few decades. We have seen the rise of the likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft among others. They have spearheaded and shaped the modern day technological world order such as Google Search, iPhones, Android, Windows etc. For each of those great technological success there is another failure to count. So, let’s look at the top 10:
Microsoft has given us arguably one of the world’s finest Operating system – Windows. From the first iteration of windows – Windows 1 – to the current iteration – Windows 10. While some versions of windows were successes like Windows XP and Windows 7, there is one that is loathed by Microsoft customers – Windows Vista. Released in 2007 as the replacement of Windows XP, it never caught on. It had software compatibility issues and tighter security controls that annoyed the Windows XP users. It was also very slow. Microsoft later release Windows 7 two years later to wipe out the memories of Windows Vista. While many might argue that Windows 8 was a failure, I disagree. The only reason Windows 8 was never popular was because it did away with the start menu but other than that, it was an improvement on Windows 7.
Remember Google glass? It was supposed to be the future. Google glass was an optical mounted screen on normal glasses. Glasses that you could put on just like normal glasses and would display information in a smartphone like manner but hands free. It was voice controlled just the modern day digital assistants. It flopped due to several reasons: Its was extremely expensive at $1000 and they looked nerdy. People didn’t like how they looked and their area of applicability are limited for normal folks.
First, there was Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and then there was just Facebook and Twitter. Google tried to push Google+ as an alternative to Facebook but failed miserably. While Facebook did adapt to its users’ moods and trends, Google+ was not able to. It also did not help much that Google didn’t not attempt to differentiate between its owns service and Facebook to the normal user. Google has started created some individual services from popular Google+ features such as Google Photos and Hangouts.
Zune was Microsoft attempt to take on Apple iPod. Microsoft was too late to the party and they never gave users a reason to purchase it over the iPod. It introduced Zune device when the smartphone was era was taking off. Smartphone has gone on to become everything for us, from cameras, PDA and music players.
“The portable music market is gone and it was already leaving when we started. We just weren’t brave enough, honestly, and we ended up chasing Apple with a product that actually wasn’t a bad product, but it was still a chasing product, and there wasn’t a reason for somebody to say, oh, I have to go out and get that thing.” – Robbie Bach
HD DVD was supposed to be the alternative to the famous Blue ray. Developed and pushed by Toshiba as a competitor for Sony’s blu ray. But unlike blu ray it flopped big time. It came bundled with Xbox while blu ray was bundled with the Play Station. This has been pointed as reason as to why HD DVD failed. Xbox never sold as well as Playstation and Microsoft were never fully committed to HD DVD because it was not its own technology. Coupled by lack of support by Hollywood the technology never stood a chance.
Nintendo Virtual Boy
Virtual reality is a huge thing today. But, did you know that Nintendo attempted something similar over two decades ago. Nintendo attempt at Virtual Reality with the Nintendo Virtual Boy back in 1995. Nintendo seems to have launched its VR headset before the technology had matured enough and the results were disastrous at best. It caused migraines and eye-strains to the unfortunate souls that played the game.
Before Apple Watch and Samsung Gear popularized smartwatches, there was Pebble Watches and other smaller wearable companies. Pebble was crowdfunded through Kickstarter. It took money in advance from backers in the promise it would give them a product after sometime but it never delivered. The company went into debt and was acquired by Fitbit, another of the smaller wearable companies specializing in fitness trackers.
Galaxy Note 7
Samsung found itself in a crisis last year when it was forced to recall all Galaxy Note 7 devices because they were exploding. This killed Samsung’s flagship device for the year, giving advantage to its competitors. The process cost Samsung Electronics billions of dollars. Although, it later repackaged into a Galaxy Note Fan Edition with a much smaller battery.
There was a time Yahoo was once a large multinational and synonymous with the internet. Yahoo lost out on a couple of deals such as acquisition of Google, Facebook and Microsoft. This coupled with other factors has led to Yahoo falling from grace. It was bought by Verizon for $4.5 billion earlier this year, was combined with AOL among others and renamed to Oath.
Blackberry is another company that has been brought down to its knees thanks to Apple and Android. The major reasons for blackberry failure were lack of innovation and failure to read markets trends. While Apple and Android devices were removing a physical Keyboard, Blackberry stuck with it, limiting the screen size. Users were attracted by the large screens sizes offered by competitors.
They stuck with their own operating system which was hugely unreliable and the User Experience was terrible compared to their competitors. They also chose to stick with the enterprise market while Apple and Android devices stuck to the consumer market. This led to them (Apple and Android) selling millions of devices while Blackberry was struggling to make sales. It sold its global rights to TCL – a Chinese company – last year.