To Err Is Human Mistake do happen and sometimes even when we have got everything in place. Technology is not spared from it, numerous products are developed and that too from big Tech Giants of all times like Microsoft, Apple, Sony with cutting edge technology and design but somehow fail to catch the attention of consumers, and then later on becoming interesting Case Studies in B-Schools
Here in this article I shall put forward some of the products that had the capability of being the best in industry but somehow got rejected, maybe because they were too good for the consumers to handle.
Biggest Tech Failure of All Times
Sound familiar right, Sony Betamax was launched as a product that will revolutionize the Video Home System. Betamax was one of the first consumer-grade VCR released in 1975. The Betamax was able to record videos in shorter time and in good quality to be viewed at home. In the meanwhile JVC (another Japanese Tech Giant) decided to forge Betamax and develop their own recording technology and compete on the recording format. This was the beginning of the famous “Videotape Format War” which eventually lead to Sony’s failure. With time other cheaper products were available in market and later Sony’s lat Betamax was produced in 2002.
Apple Newton MessagePad
Apple made an attempt to develop first series of PDA’s in 1993. The Newton was based on the ARM 610 RISC processor with futuristic features like Handwriting Recognition and Touchscreen in early 90’s. The reception was not as good as it was expected by Apple Inc. , as the handwriting recognition software gave mostly inaccurate results. The inability to recognize handwriting was made part of many jokes and also featured in comic series of “The Simpsons” .
The Newton was upgraded but Apple discontinue it in 1998.
Apple PowerMac G4 Cube
Another product from Apple Inc. Steve Jobs defined PowerMacG4 Cube PC as
“This is a stunning product, quite possibly the most beautiful we’ve ever designed”
But to his surprise the product was a failed attempt by him, as it was highly overpriced ($1,799) and also had serious design defects, and its inability to upgrade to powerful graphic component. In July 2001 Apple issued a press release announcing discontinuation of Cube PC. The statement released by Apple gathered many eyeballs as it was very strangely written that the product was to be put “on ice”.
Motorola Roker E1
The Motorola Roker E1 was the first phone to be integrated iTunes music player. The Moto Roker E1 was launched in September 2005 in a media only event hosted by Apple, and was priced at $250. Soon the phone lost its appeal because of its 100 song limit and slow file transfer and iTunes dull interface. Roker was followed by launch of iPod nano by Apple and hence the relationship between Apple and Motorola strained and Motorola CEO Ed Zander accused Apple of “purposely undercutting the ROKR”. The phone was discontinued in 2007.
Smartphone smarties Blackberry made its attempt to imitate iPad in 2011. But the Blackberry Playbook was a total disaster (Yes, this the word for BB Playbook). The PlayBook received strong criticism as it required a Blackberry for its email application, and had very few third party applications.
Walter S. Mossberg the principal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal wrote
“I got the strong impression RIM is scrambling to get the product to market.”
To this Research In Motion’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie, said
“there are more than 60 million BlackBerry smartphones in use that can pair with a PlayBook”
However, only 900,000 units were shipped and RIM gained only $485 million by offering price discounts.
So these were some of the products that I think were a Tech Disaster. Hope you enjoyed it If you think of some product to be included in this category then do share it with us.