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Biggest failed products 2

25 of the biggest failed products from the world’s biggest companies Part 2

By Ben Gilbert From Business Insider

Launching a product is tough.

“Less than 3% of new consumer packaged goods exceed first-year sales of $50 million — considered the benchmark of a highly successful launch,” say Joan Schneider and Julie Hall, coauthors of “The New Launch Plan.”

That’s part of the reason that the most heavy-hitting names in business — from Nintendo to Netflix, Microsoft to McDonald’s — have had some of the biggest belly flops.

Here’s a look at 25 of those flops, and what we can learn from them.

2006 — Microsoft Zune Zengame on Flickr

The Zune was built to take on the iPod. It didn’t.

Robbie Bach, the former leader of Microsoft’s home entertainment and mobile business, gave his explanation as to why:

“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.”

The good news is you can still grab one on eBay if you’re feeling wild. Go ahead and grab a Microsoft Kin while you’re at it.

2006 — Mobile ESPN

Mobile ESPN, introduced in January 2006, was one of the biggest flame-outs of “mobile virtual network operators,” or MVNOs, in the past decade, which also included Amp’d Mobile, Helio, Disney Mobile, and others.

The idea was that ESPN would exclusively sell a phone that offered exclusive ESPN content and video, leasing network access from Verizon Wireless. But ESPN had only one phone at launch, a Sanyo device selling for $400. Can you imagine buying the phone above for four-hundred big ones? Neither can we.

No one bought it, and ESPN quickly shut down the service, instead providing content to Verizon’s mobile internet service. And, of course, smartphones essentially obviated this entire concept.

2006 — HD-DVD

Sponsored mostly by Toshiba, HD-DVD was supposed to become the hi-def successor to the DVD when it launched in March 2006. Standalone HD-DVDs players were sold, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 — a wildly popular game console — sold an HD-DVD attachment.

But the Sony-led Blu-ray faction ended up winning the format war when Warner Bros. announced it was dumping HD DVD for Blu-ray on Jan. 4, 2008. It certainly didn’t hurt that Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console had Blu-ray playback functionality built right in — the PlayStation 2 helped christen DVD as the dominant format previously, and the PlayStation 3 took that concept another step further.

About a month later, Toshiba said it would shut down its HD-DVD efforts. Years later, Blu-ray is still the most dominant media format for video playback.

2007 — Joost

Joost, originally known as “The Venice Project,” was supposed to be a peer-to-peer TV network for the future, invented by the European geniuses behind Skype. The company recruited a rising star — Mike Volpi — away from Cisco to become its CEO. It nabbed a deal with CBS.

Joost was supposed to reinvent the way we consumed professional video.

Instead, Hulu, a joint venture between News Corp., NBC, and Disney, became the go-to site for TV episodes on the web. And who’s ever heard of Joost nowadays?

Meanwhile, Joost had all sorts of problems with its P2P architecture, its bulky software player, its content library, and more. After launching in September 2007, it never took off; its scraps sold in late 2009.

2008 — Google Lively

For some reason, Google thought it had to compete with “Second Life.” Remember “Second Life”? The virtual world that looked like a game but was actually just a virtual world for social interactions? Neither do most people. It still exists, powered by a super-dedicated userbase.

Google created its own version of “Second Life” in “Lively,” which came out in July 2008. (Unlike “Second Life,” “Lively” was supposed to be sex-free.) When the economy went down the toilet, those dreams faded fast. Google quickly pulled the plug by November 2008.

2009 — JooJoo Wondering what Business Insider looked like around seven years ago? Here’s your answer!

In the era of a $499 Apple iPad, an inferior tablet computer that also costs $499 doesn’t work. (You may remember this device from its previous title, the CrunchPad.) It came out in 2009 and was gone by 2010.

2009 — The Nook B&N / YouTube

Launched in 2009, Barnes & Noble has now spun off the NOOK into its own company, orphaning the under-achieving e-reader. Sales had been plunging for awhile.

Brian Sozzi, chief equities strategist at Belus Capital Advisors, explained the demise to us: “Shoppers couldn’t get beyond Barnes & Noble being a destination for something they no longer want or generally care about, books,” Sozzi said. “Barnes & Noble management perpetuated that by not investing aggressively enough in marketing to alter perception.”

Perhaps even more importantly, the Nook just isn’t a great e-reader — Amazon’s Kindle is inexpensive, easy to use, and syncs up easily with an Amazon digital account.

2011 — Qwikster

In September 2011, Reed Hastings announced that Netflix would spin off Qwikster as a DVD rental business. This move met tons of criticism, and Hastings backtracked on his statement 23 days later.

At the same time, Netflix announced a video game add-on that would ship game discs to your house. Beyond just the name Qwikster, those plans were also scrapped.

2011 — HP Touchpad

HP gave up the TouchPad and its mobile operating system, WebOS, after just a month and a half on the market.

The tablet was no iPad killer, selling just 25,000 units for Best Buy over the 49 days it was on the shelves.

And, in fairness to HP, the TouchPad wasn’t that bad. It was rough around the edges, but those could have been smoothed in the coming months. It just didn’t really do anything better than the iPad, which means it’s just like every other tablet out there.

2013 — Facebook Home Facebook

With Home, Facebook tried to become the homescreen for your phone.

It failed. From our review:

“So, what happens when you have no control over what appears on your phone’s home screen?

It becomes a mess.”

In less than a month of being released, the two-year subscription plan dropped from $99 to $0.99. The consensus between reviewers and critics: Home worked only for the most fanatical of users. “It was fine for a Facebook addict,” one reviewer noted. “But [it] seems to run through a lot of data and battery. Uninstalled.”

The flop is reflected by a re-organization in the company. “Facebook has disbanded the team of engineers originally assigned to work on Facebook Home,” The New York Times’ Mike Isaac reported.

2014 — Amazon’s Fire Phone Business Insider

Amazon’s Fire Phone was a flash in the pan — getting announced and released in 2014, then being discontinued the following year. It ran on Android, and looked competitive.

In reality, it was a critical and commercial failure. The one big sell point — 3D face scanning technology — was seen as a gimmick, and a limited availability at AT&T initially didn’t help it get off the ground. In the long run, Amazon discontinued the phone 13 months after its launch, and outright retired from phone manufacturing after this one model.

2016 — Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Baidu/Mr. Ni66666

What can be said about the disastrous Galaxy Note 7 that hasn’t already been said? The Note 7 — one of Samsung’s big flagship phones — had a little problem where it occasionally caught fire and/or exploded. There was a car that supposedly was burned down by one. The phones have been outright banned on flights, and Samsung had to recall the entire line. Talk about a self-own!

The Note line, however, persists — the latest version is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

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