Failed products of famous companies

Product failure is part of any business venture and rather inevitable. Companies are willing to take a risk when they bring out a new product and if it catches on, then the gamble paid and success and fame awaits. When said gamble doesn’t pay off, the result can ruin the company’s image and could even drag the company down.

Let’s have a look at some products of famous companies that failed miserably

1- Coca Cola - New Coke

Coca Cola has steadily grown to become the king of fizzy drinks. It faced stiff competition from Pepsi Co but still had a greater control of the market share in the 1990’s. Things were going great for them and all they had to do was sit and steamroll past any competition.

And then they decided to shoot themselves on the foot. In 1985, they took the incredible decision to change the formula of their No. 1 product, in a bizarre attempt to grab more market and stave off even more competitors.  Officially Coke II (unofficially called New Coke), it was hated and loathed enough that Coca Cola had to bring back the original flavor a couple of months later as a different product and then, in 2002, had to kill off their failed innovation

2- Google - Google Wave

Google has brought a number of good innovation and products to the cyber world. Their flagship product is ofcourse their search Engine but they brought Google Maps which brought about the revolution known as Web 2.0 and most of their products have been a grand success story. Google Wave had checked all the right checkboxes when it was rolled out. It was going to replace the Email protocol and allow for real-time collaboration. It’s purpose and intentions were good, looking to innovate and replace an old protocol

The problem was, majority of user didn’t know how to use it. The way the product worked, it was aimed towards the tech savvy and complicated matters for the layman user. Despite living on as an open source project, Google would surely want to wave away this product

3- Microsoft - Zune

Microsoft has always had a rocky relationship when they move outside the confines of their flagship products, Windows OS and Office package. This list could have been expanded to include more examples of where they failed to grab market attention. In 2006, they went up against market giants and long time rivals, Apple in an attempt to grab a market share dominated by one brand, the iPod. Despite boasting some advanced capabilities compared to their rival counterpart, Zune music player didn’t manage to get any headway in the market

The complexity of the device has often been cited for being a factor leading to its eventual failure, but it could be that a device such as this really needs some zing to topple an established and well loved product such as iPod. Zune music player was officially discontinued in 2011

4- Facebook - Facebook message

Wouldn’t it be so cool to have a facebook email address and switch over to a universal center for messaging, eliminating the need for third party email providers (gmail, hotmail etc)? That doesn’t sound entirely bad and horrible, and similar to other products featured on this page, it should have worked. At least that was the general perception, until it didn’t work.

Facebook email addresses still exist but isn’t it isn’t touted as a gmail-killer app or feature anymore. Pretty sure that the social media sites massive user base doesn’t even know about it’s existence

5- Apple - Apple III

Apple is synonymous with being innovative. Most of their products have been successes and even failed products like the Newton still can be viewed as revolutionary, and in some sense, way ahead of it’s time. But back in 1980s when it rolled out its third generation Apple computer, things didn’t look so good on the onset. Steve Jobs, a pioneer in good aesthetics in products, refused to include vents and fans into the system, because they are unsightly and noisy. With these inadequacies, the system faced overheating, to an extent that individual components on the motherboard got dislodged over time

The advice penned out by the Genius bar in the 1980s to fix this problem was simple – drop your computer in hope that these dislodged components comes magically back into their seats. Luckily for Apple and consumer alike the Macintosh line of computers that rolled out in 1984 was successful and Apple III died an inglorious death

6- Samsung - Galaxy Note 7

This is probably still fresh in the memory of consumers and producers alike and is tale of caution for those producing products for direct customer usage.  Galaxy note 7 is the sixth product in the Galaxy Note product line (go figure the numbering convention). It was expected to break all records in the market in 2016, seeing how popular the product is among consumers. It did break some records but not the kinds expected or favorable

The  main problem with the product is same as Apple III, stated above; overheating. Instead of dislodging components, Note 7 overheated to the extent that it caught fire, exploded and was a downright hazard to even keep nearby. So bad was the situation that airplanes specifically named the product as being inadmissable into the flight.

The final outcome was that the product had to be recalled in 2016, resulting in the samsung product with the shortest market life, a loss equivalent to $17 billion, a loss that would have shot any normal company out of existence and into oblivion


7- Volkswagen- Diesel Engine

Most products in this page are failures due to unintentional design flaws or how the tides of market were set against them. Not so is the last entry. This is a crude story of corporate social irresponsibility. In 2015 the company was caught, red handed, cheating on its diesel emission tests. The resulting loss from the recall of these engines was massive, somewhere in figures of $18 billion

Lesson learned for the German based company.

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