10 Companies That Were Once Great But Now Kinda Suck

There was a time when many of us got our videos at Blockbuster after shopping for a Sony Discman at Sears, all while talking on our Motorola phone. All of these companies have had their glory days, but now they’re on the U.S. News & World Report’s list of 10 Companies That Have Lost Their Edge.

Here’s a summary of their list, in alphabetical order:

Blockbuster Video: “Blockbuster’s conventional retail outlets seem hopelessly outdated… It’s now chasing its industry instead of leading it.”

Dell: “When the Internet arrived, Dell took off and competitors got whiplash trying to keep up with its skyrocketing sales. But a decade later, Dell faltered as mobile devices began to displace PCs… Dell has countered with mini-laptops, smartphones, and other trendy products, but it’s now following the pack.”

Eastman Kodak: “For nearly a century, no company commercialized the camera as successfully as Kodak… But Kodak’s storied run began to end with the advent of digital photography… Its stock price is now about 96 percent below the peak it hit in 1997.”

Microsoft: “It helped give the PC mass-market appeal, and still dominates much of the software industry. But Microsoft has also fumbled or passed up many great ideas that others capitalized on, like Web TV, E-books, smartphones, and the tablet PC… And sure enough, the market is shifting away from the PCs that Microsoft’s software is designed for.”

Motorola: “Motorola dominated [the mobile phone] business as recently as 2003, when it introduced the trendy Razr, the biggest-selling mobile phone ever at the time. But Motorola failed to focus on smartphones that can handle E-mail and other data, and rapidly lost share to newcomers like Research in Motion, Apple, LG, and Samsung.”

Sears: “In earlier days, Sears put catalogs on the map… and introduced sturdy, affordable brands like Craftsman and Kenmore. But later in life, Sears stood flat-footed as competitors like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon chewed up its turf.”

Sony: “Not long ago, the Walkman was as ubiquitous as the iPod is today, and Sony dominated the market for TVs, cameras, video recorders, and many other consumer electronics. But as Sony became a huge conglomerate with film and music divisions, it lost leadership in many of its core product lines… As a result, faster-moving competitors like LG, Samsung, Vizio, Apple… have outpaced this old-school innovator.”

Sun Microsystems: “Its Java programming language, introduced in the mid 90s, became an industry standard just as the Internet arrived, helping make Sun an industry giant by the late 1990s. But the dot-com bust wiped out many of its customers and changed the way companies meet their technology needs.”

Toys R Us: “As it went national, Toys “R” Us drove many competitors out of business and gobbled up others. Then the tables turned, with the once-mighty toy giant suddenly bested by discounters like Wal-Mart and Target, online sites like Amazon, and smaller merchants with better quality and service.”

Yahoo: “Yahoo’s snub of a $45 billion buyout offer from Microsoft in 2008 now looks like a huge gaffe, since Yahoo’s market value has fallen to a scant $19 billion or so.”

What do you think of this list? Do you disagree with its assessment of any of these companies? Which others belong on the list?

10 Great Companies That Lost Their Edge [U.S. News & World Report]


Edit Your Comment

  1. lehrdude says:

    Woolworth’s anyone???

    • rdclark says:

      Companies that have “lost their edge,” but *still exist.*

    • scratchie says:

      Um, yeah, I think they might have lost their edge some time before they went out of business 10+ years ago. And TWA just doesn’t have it anymore.

    • kevslim says:

      Stay out of the Woolsworth!

    • Bob says:

      Exactly. We can list A&P, TWA, Eastern, Braniff (which is still advertised on South Park), Netscape (which is still running on quite a few PCs worldwide), your Woolworth, Montgomery Ward, and soon to be Sears and K-Mart. They all missed the boat or made a terrible decision that cost them the company. Expect more of this in the coming years.

      • Destron says:

        Netscape is still around so to speak – it just exists in the form of Firefox nowadays.

      • DerangedHermit says:

        A&P is in an endless state of fail. Even after closing all their stores that weren’t in the NYC, Philly or Baltimore/DC areas, they’re still eating it. It’s not even Walmart’s fault all that much. Shoprite (and to a lesser extent, Stop & Shop) is handing their lunch to them.

    • Philly Cool says:

      That might be on my Grandpa’s list, but the old 5&10 stores died decades ago.

  2. flyingember says:

    Motorola makes popular Android phones, I don’t have one but I admit they look good. Not sure their inclusion is completely fair.

    Generally I find anything from U.S. News & World Report is generally already either well known or extremely limiting on purpose. They’re not the place I go for in depth pieces. Also, that this piece included decade-old companies in with ones as old as the intercontinental railroad shows how weird the mix is.

    • Preyfar says:

      And Microsoft has the XBox 360, which is huge in its own right (RROD issues aside). Windows 7 redeemed Microsoft, sales a huge, with the 360 and their other projects…

      Hell. Microsoft Office is still one of the best and leading office suites even on a Mac (next to Open Office). They’re not the empire they once were, but are no means weak.

      Seems weird to see them on this list.

      • nonsane says:

        I think sony is the wierd one on this list. They’ve just shifted gears. No point in going into the portable audio market when apple has it saturated. They’ve shifted to other entertainment areas and mobile technology. just because they don’t do what they used to doesn’t make them bad. And they’ve had very little complaints of a product being crappy(erikkson products are the exception here i think)

        • JayPhat says:

          I wondered why they are on there too. I have a 46″ Sony tv in the living room that I just got. It’s outstanding.

        • darksly says:

          Sony products are by far the best of the comoditized CE business…. Nothing out there can hold a candle to the overall quality of Sony

          • th3v6cann3val0s3 says:

            I beg to differ. Their quality and innovation have clearly declined in the last 10 years. Their glory days strictly lied within the Trinitrons and Walkmen of the 70s/80s/90s.

    • Darrone says:

      Motorola is somewhat on a path to a comeback. But there newer android phones, the droid 2 and droid X are plagued by what killed them in the first place. Droid 1 was awesome because they made the hardware and they DIDN’T make the software. Now they are gimping everything with they’re “blur” crap and Blockbuster ads that can’t be deleted. They are going down the same path.

      • Preyfar says:

        I have a Droid 2. It does have Blockbuster pre-installed on the apps, but it’s not pre-selected on the menus. You have to add it in yourself. It’s very subtle, and I don’t mind that at all.

        • pz says:

          The Droid2 is a very good phone, and you’ll be happy with it. However, the problem with the Blockbuster app isn’t that it’s “pre-selected on the menus” (trying to figure out what you mean here), but that it’s installed on the phone at all, in a way that makes it impossible to remove. This, coupled with the fact that it’ll routinely run in the background doing… whatever, whether you use it or not, is troubling.

          Motorola was on a streak there for a while with the Droid — let’s hope they can recapture it.

      • SquareBubbles says:

        The Droid X is by far the best phone I’ve ever used and that is coming from someone who has owned a number S60 phones and and an iPhone. The Blur on the device is not the piece of garbage that is on the CLIQ and is easily taken care of by installing Launcher Pro (something everyone should do on their Android phone). Moto is making a solid comeback and if they keep this up, they’ll have me as a dedicated customer

      • DanRydell says:

        Jesus tap-dancing Christ you just said “they’re” AND “there” when you meant “their.” You’re supposed to learn the difference in 4th grade.

    • pax says:

      The Droid is a great phone. If Motorola had lost its edge, I think it’s fair to say they’re making a fierce effort towards a comeback.

    • Destron says:

      The android phones from Motorola are fairly recent though, for a period they were relegated to cheap texting phones while their competition exploded around them. If they had jumped on the smart phone bandwagon from the start they may not have been in that position – but of course Android wasn’t around then which means they would have had to make their own OS probably… so who knows?

    • yggdriedi says:

      I still use my Razr. I’ve dropped it hundreds of times onto hard floors and it’s still barely damaged (a piece of rubber fell off it a while back, but aside from that, it’s basically good as new). Maybe I can’t browse the internet on it, but I have a laptop for that.

    • darksly says:

      Motrola may have taken a back seat in the cell phone world, but they are the industry leader in connected home products such as cable modems, DVRs, and cable boxes… Most everyone has at least 1 product from Motorola in their home… And their clients aren’t fickle end users whom buy 1 at a time… They are companies like Comcast and Verizon that buy hundreds of thousands of units…

  3. AngryK9 says:


    • huadpe says:

      Already on the list, in the form of Sears, which owns it.

      • np206100 says:

        If you want to get particular Sears does not own Kmart. Sears Holdings Corporation owns Sears and Kmart.

    • cabjf says:

      KMart and Sears are the same entity now.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I think they are beyond “Lost their edge” to on their deathbed. Blockbuster is still around in the mail order sense and trying to stay relevant. KMart has pulled out of so many markets I don’t know why they didn’t just end it.

      • Right On says:

        Blockbuster isn’t doing too bad with their Blockbuster Express kiosks. They can get new releases into the machines faster than Netflix or Redbox because they’re using the same distributors that their storefronts used. Had they put the kiosks in front of their stores 5+ years ago Redbox would probably be “Redbox? Ohh, you mean that McDonalds movie thing?”.

      • pleadthefifth says:

        Kmart & Sears are just a thinly veiled credit card company. It’s all about pushing credit cards.

    • Enduro says:

      I still think that the movie Rain Man killed KMart. I really wish Charlie Babbid had said “WalMart sucks” instead and saved us from the evil empire.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      No kidding right? Kmart used to be huge when I was a kid, now you’d be hard pressed to find one in most cities. I went to Wisconsin back in May & went to the Kmart near Waukesha & it was like stepping into another dimension. It was eerily quiet & they had all these wierd brands I’d never heard of, outdated clothing, cheap unfashionable purses, etc. I found a really cute pair of shoes there, but honestly I couldn’t wait to leave.

      • LoadStar says:

        I work very near that exact Kmart, and yes, it is absolutely surreal. It’s twice as large as the nearest Wal-Mart… yet there are never more than a handful of cars in the lot. I’ve walked through that store for a half hour or more, and saw maybe 2-3 other people the entire time I was there. I have absolutely no idea how that store stays open.

        I always love going back to their electronics department and looking at all the zombie brands they carry… White Westinghouse, Curtis Mathes, Polaroid, and the list goes on and on.

      • Jedana says:

        Was across the street from a kmart today, for 3 hours, while my car was being worked on.
        There were 4 cars in the parking lot in front of the doors and a semi, off in the far corner. No other cars pulled in or out of the front of that lot. The fast food joint by the street had business though.
        Yes, it was open. After my car was done, I ran across the street to get something at the fast food place, and checked, in case it was going out of business or something. We found one in AZ doing that (around 8 years ago) and my husband scored enough underwear for 5 years.

  4. Sparty999 says:

    The Droid is a pretty solid smartphone… I don’t know if is too-little-too-late for Motorola… but I think their relationship with Verizon will keep them afloat.

    I’d add Radio Shack to this list… and any number of newspapers

    • JeffM says:

      Was Radio Shack ever that great or did you just like playing with remote control cars as a kid? This is a question I’ve often pondered.

      • Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

        When I was a kid, Radio Shack used to actually carry radios and electronic parts and other actually useful stuff for the electronics geek, but it’s been useless since the mid 90’s.

        • Keavy_Rain says:

          I was just about to say that.

          In high school, I took an electronics class and there were times I would need a capacitor, resistor, or some solder and Radio Shack had exactly what I needed.

        • barty says:

          Eh, they really didn’t lose their focus until about 7-8 years ago. I worked there from 1997-2000 and it was still a good place to go to for electronics and radio (CB AND ham) parts/equipment.

          While I agree that they needed to make better use of their available floor space, that could have been done by getting rid of the TVs, replacement speakers, security systems, etc., that hadn’t sold well in years, instead of trying to push out the small parts business. Yes, there were (very few, by my observation) that didn’t do well in the small electronics parts, but by in large, that’s what brought quite a few people in the store in the first place. RS typically was the only outfit in many towns where you could walk up and grab those kinds of parts without having to deal with a gruff guy at the counter who gets impatient with you because you don’t know exactly what you need, if there was even another electronics parts store option at all.

  5. The Brad says:

    Disney. The last few years of the Eisner era were downright terrible. Granted they are on a rebound right now, kinda like Dell, but it will take years to see if they can keep the momentum going.

    Six Flags. Formerly known for having great theme parks all across the land, now are a former shell of themselves. Their downfall was expanding and buying up properties too fast.

    • CookiePuss says:

      I used to live about 15 minutes from the Six Flags in Jersey. Its a fun park but they started adding way too many extras you had to pay for inside the park. The season ticket was only a few dollars more than a single day pass, but making so many rides cost extra and then adding so many levels of speed pass stunk. I’d usually blow $200 easy on top of the season ticket. Being they were always jam packed I was stunned when they said they were on the verge of going broke!

      • Outrun1986 says:

        The theme park industry seems to be one where you just can’t win, customers want new rides every year, but those new rides cost millions of dollars each, and they just can’t make it back in profits no matter how much they charge. The cost of operating a park is also extremely high. If they don’t have a new ride or major attraction every year then attendance declines. I know its hard to believe, but its true.

        I would also imagine in park spending is really down in parks, souvenirs, food, games and trinkets is where parks really make their money. But now people are choosing to buy the ticket and do only the things that the ticket includes, bringing their own food and eating in the car and not buying any extras in the park, cutting into parks profits.

        • failurate says:

          When I was a kid, the St. Louis Six Flags was the end all be all of a summer trip. Now it seems people travel easier and there are more amusement parks available. So they just are not rare enough. We also now have so many entertainment options, the experience is just not that special anymore.

    • theblackdog says:

      Six Flags really shot themselves in the foot when they started slapping extra little fees on everything in their parks. Oh, you have a backpack? Well we took away the bins (or cubbies) at the ride station to leave it while you ride, but you can put some money in our new special ride lockers, which by the way are timed to only work for 2 hours. Enjoy your ride!

      • RayanneGraff says:

        This ‘nickel & diming’ strategy is what kills a lot of major attractions. I’ve never actually been to Six Flags, but here in OKC we have Frontier City(which is like a mini-six flags) & it’s been declining for years too. The park is nasty, overrun with thugs & punk kids, and the food is outrageous(SIX DOLLARS for ONE slice of dry pizza that’s been sitting out all day). The rides are old & rickety(the Wildcat is terrifying, not because of the ride, but because it literally feels like it’s gonna collapse any second), and all the good rides(the ones that DON’T cost extra, that is) have been out of commission for as long as I can remember. The water in the log ride is stagnant, green, & smells like an old towel thats been left to rot in the bathroom for a month. I haven’t been there in years but I don’t think it’ll be long before it’s gone. Which is really sad, because it used to be a really awesome, really fun place to go.

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      I went to a Six Flags park yesterday for the first time ever and I was so amused with the attempt at every.tiny.opportunity to grab a buck. Probably the best was on the Gully Washer boat ride–on the side of it, you could put a quarter in a machine to squirt your friends when they went by. And every ride disgorged us in a gift shop of some type, most of which had a bored teenager sitting behind the register picking her nails. It felt kinda desperate to me.

  6. GuJiaXian says:

    I am amused by the “Ozymandias Inc.” tag.

    • kenj0418 says:

      I’m said that I didn’t catch that. It’s one of my favorite poems. (I’m not quite sure what that says about me)

  7. redskull says:

    Yes, if only my value would fall to a “scant” $19 billion or so…

    • humphrmi says:

      Look at the percentages, not the actual values. If your net worth dropped more than 50%, because of one single decision you made, you’d be pretty pi$$sed.

    • Buckus says:

      But there’s no guarantee that the value of Yahoo! wouldn’t have dropped to 19 Billion after MS would have taken them over. The only guarantee is that the Yahoo! shares would have been worth 43 Billion.

  8. divedeep says:

    Abercrombie & Fitch – but hear me out. They used to be great when they sold outdoor gear. They started to suck when the Limited bought them out.

    • ElizabethD says:

      Ditto Banana Republic. I’m old enough to remember their very cool print catalogs with travel essays, and stocked with travel-friendly, multipurpose clothing that adults could wear. Now, what are they trying to be? JCrew but even more expensive? IDGI

    • Vivienne says:

      Same story with Banana Republic / Gap.

    • jason in boston says:

      Agreed. I had an A&F shirt on and my grandfather brought out an old rifle that had Abercrombie and Fitch on the side. He said he got in it Alaska.

    • sebastian tombs says:

      I agree with all – A&F, Banana Republic should have stuck with their outdoor / safari/ travel stuff – they had great stuff in their catalogs now it’s hard to find anything like they used to sell anywhere else.

      I want to Include Cabelas, they used to sell good stuff now they have gone retail and name brand so their return policy sucks and so does alot of their merchandise. I don’t find the kind of quality or selection they used to have from their own private label. They seemed to have alot more in their catalogs in the past then they do on their website or stores now.

  9. slim150 says:

    im quitting my job at sun/oracle in 1 day

  10. jimmyhl says:

    Oh come on. How about some good news for a change, like maybe a story about companies that used to suck and now suck even worse.

  11. scoopie77 says:

    Amazon killed most of them, right?

    • OutPastPluto says:

      Being lame certainly doesn’t help.

      It’s the Internet age. Making your stores smaller and shrinking your selection really isn’t a bright idea. Toys R Us did this. The local store was smaller and was further subdivided so that most of the store was diapers and clothing. Best Buy and Target has also done similar. All that stuff is going to do is ensure that I go to Amazon more.

      B&M retail is pretty much doing their best to wean everyone off of B&M retail.

      It’s a shame that we can’t resurrect the companies that ToysRUs ran out of business…

  12. chaesar says:

    GM anyone?

    • georgi55 says:

      They are rebounding and their older cars sucked, they are building better cars now like Malibu, 2010 Equinox, and soon Cruze.

      • gqcarrick says:

        Ford is still kicking their ass, AND doesn’t have the massive debt like they do.

        • stevenpdx says:

          What are you talking about? Ford has about $26 billion in debt, from mortgaging all of its assets a few years ago. GM doesn’t have any substantial debt to speak of, due to the bankruptcy last summer. (The $60 billion or so that is the government’s stake in the company is just that, it’s an ownership interest, not a debt of GM. Same as when you buy the stock of a company, you own part of said company. It’s not a debt).

          Ironically, because Ford did not require any public financing to stay afloat, it now has the worst credit rating of the three. It’s not even considered investment-grade right now.

      • tbax929 says:

        I love my Equinox, and I would have never considered a GM car just a few years ago.

        I’d say Toyota is doing worse than GM.

        • georgi55 says:

          Can’t wait to get mine, just placed order; LTZ Mocha steel metallic with brownstone leather, sunroof, and 18in wheels, so awesome!

        • Jedana says:

          Had an 06 Equinox. It developed a nasty habit; when it rained a lot and you were driving above 55, the engine would shut off and the rear window seal/hatch seal leaked. I was told nothing was wrong with it repeatedly. After the 4th cleaning/drying with industrial dryers/having the carpet and padding replaced, the dealership finally fixed the seals. Still did nothing about the engine, and in Florida, (well, anywhere actually) having an engine that cuts out is bad. Got rid of that sucker last year.

        • johnyg30518 says:

          Funny you say that given that most Toyotas sold in the US are made in the US. Before that was the case, were the products sold in the US so crappy?

      • oldwiz65 says:

        I test drove a 2010 Malibu in November of 2009, and it was still typical GM. It handled like a boat rocking on bumps and heeling in turns, had instruments even the salesman couldn’t figure out, poor visibility front and rear, and on top of all this the dealer said the offer was only good for today. This was 4:00 pm in the afternoon and he said I only had until 9 PM for the deal. I didn’t buy the Malibu. I owned Buick LeSabres way back, and the Malibu was pretty much the same.

  13. yagisencho says:

    They missed one – US World and News Report, L.P. They used to publish a weekly magazine, but are now struggling even as a monthly publication.

    • Alfred says:

      Life Magazine too…….

    • sponica says:

      i was thinking the very same thing. I subscribe to it, mainly bc I adored it as a weekly. Their analysis of the news was usually top notch. Then it dropped to biweekly…which was still ok. But the monthly version is meh…AND the only way I can get the weekly is to actually log into my e-account.

      I’d much rather pay more to have dead tree versions, much like National Review offers its subscribers. Digital only, or digital and print (which is much more expensive).

    • ronbo97 says:

      #11 – US News and World Report. Once an intellegent, thoughtful news weekly. Now reduced to a monthly pub containing nothing but top 10 lists of such important topics as ‘companies that now suck, but didn’t used to’ or ‘best colleges to loose your virginity’.

      Yuck !

  14. Bargaineering.com says:

    Radio Shack

  15. Bob Lu says:

    I actually think the image of Microsoft has been improved a lot recently (around 2009-10. Windows 7, Bing.com, new Office are all pretty competent products, they are almost ….un-Microsoft. I my mine Apple is the new Microsoft now…

    • dwrichards says:

      You had me right up until you added Office to the list. It is one of the worst products to deploy and support.

      • PineRoot says:

        What do you use?

      • Bob Lu says:

        Ahh I admit I don’t know a thing about the deploy / support part. However from the perspective of just an user, I had been using OpenOffce since OpenOffice 2 came out, kept using OpenOffice 3 for a while then I switched to Office 2007 at late 2009. No matter how I want to support opensource softwares, I have to say Office 2007 is hugely improved compare with Office XP.

      • dangermike says:


        I feel dirty every time I have to hunting through that atrocious interface to try to find the functions I need, especially knowing how nicely organized and intuitive the older versions were. My F1 key shows almost as much wear as the spacebar these days.

    • Kryndar says:

      I kind of agree, while Microsoft will probably always be villified, as long as laptops/towers are around there is going to be a market. Also there will always be people like me who dislike smartphones, tablet PCs, and E-books. As for sony however… well no matter how good the PS3 gets it’ll never top the amazing library that the PS2 had so from my perspective as well the company is over the peak.

    • Dunkelzahn says:

      I’m right there with you… This is a semi-ignorant addition, as they bring up their faults when it comes to hardware, while Microsoft (save for a handfull of items) is a *software* company.

      From the Article: It helped give the PC mass-market appeal, and still dominates much of the software industry.

      Doesn’t make sense, they are not really in the decline. You cannot necessarily say they are based on Apple’s sudden rise in popularity, mainy from handheld devices and an online store.

  16. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    The only one I’d maybe question is Sun if you’re using Java as an example of it’s downfall. Java is better than ever right now with the maturity of frameworks like Spring and Hibernate. It’s still the language of choice for most enterprise webapps due to the huge amount of open source support. There really isn’t much competition to it now and nothing really on the horizon that stands to change that soon.

    Now if we’re talking about Sun as a commercial software and hardware company I agree . They really don’t have nearly as much market presence they used to.

    • aleck says:

      “There really isn’t much competition to it now and nothing really on the horizon that stands to change that soon.” You are right as long as you ignore the other half of the world that uses .NET.

      • jessjj347 says:

        Or the other half (lol?) that uses open-source. Okay, so maybe not many “enterprises” go that route…

    • guspaz says:

      I would argue that Sun shouldn’t even be on the list, because they don’t exist anymore. It’s hard to suck when you don’t exist.

      Oracle was very aggressive (and quick) in rebranding the parts of Sun that they cared about (such as Java or VirtualBox) and killing off the parts that they didn’t (such as OpenSolaris).

      Because Sun was not left as a self-governing unit, and Oracle immediately and somewhat dramatically changed the direction of many of Sun’s projects, it’s clear than Sun has been completely subsumed, unlike other companies that are bought out but continue to function autonomously.

  17. Glomarization says:

    They’re out to lunch on Sony — maybe their electronics aren’t as high-profile as they used to be, and for good reasons, but Sony’s entertainment holdings are quite a different matter.

    Word to the wise, don’t get your investment advice from U.S. News & World Report!

    • Rena says:

      Wikipedia can tell you plenty of reasons why Sony is no longer “great” (if indeed they ever were). Summarily, they’re lying scumbags. Phony movie reviewers, rootkits, spam, and a history of defective hardware is only the beginning.

  18. katarzyna says:

    Toyota should definitely be on this list. They started out great when they made simple cars, but have been sliding for at least a decade. The regular consumer might still think they make quality products, but folks in the auto industry know better.

    Dell: I don’t think Dell was ever good. People just didn’t catch on to their suckiness in the beginning.

    Motorola: Hmmmm… all companies have ups and downs. I loved all my previous Motorola phones, and am back with them now after a brief affair with Samsung. IMO it’s too early to put them on the list.

    • sullivanftw says:

      Toyota wouldn’t qualify for this list because of the popularity of the Prius. An innovative, high volume selling vehicle that people like and sets an industry standard. Like the quality or not, they’re no Blockbuster

    • craptastico says:

      Toyota is still the number one seller of cars in the US.

    • Bob says:

      Dell was the first to allow you to customize your PC. That was a big deal in the late 90’s. Now they suck. My mother has nothing but problems from her recently purchased Dell.

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        Dell was also given great ratings for their customer service and tech support. Now, not so much. Dude, you’re gettin a Dell.

    • jefeloco says:

      “The regular consumer might still think they make quality products, but folks in the auto industry know better.”

      Isn’t that the exact opposite of reality? Toyota doesn’t make many interesting cars any more (the FT86 being a huge exception when it goes on sale in a year or so) but you can’t make much money off of interesting cars. Even after their slide from number 1 in the world they are still in the top 3 solidly.

      This list is about industry leaders who lost track of where they are and failed themselves and their customers, not your personal hatred of beige cars.

      For the people crying “why is Sony on this list?”

      They used to be an electronics juggernaut, now they have fractured development houses with inwardly competing products and absolutely no clue what people actually want. The new X10 phone coming out soon, rocking an 18 month old build of Android that is incompatible with any newer apps. The PS3 is powerful on paper but gimped by developers not getting any help with programming quirks whereas MS sent out devs to studios and had workshops to help studios make the best games they could on the system; a system that should be lagging behind like crazy due t it’s specs but more than holds its own against the poop sock 3. Why on earth would they have five or six current camcorders, all in the same general price range, all with similar lenses, with different storage formats and dissimilar user interfaces.

      Sony’s left hand is trying to commit seppuku but the right hand is doing a sudoku puzzle while the face is watching American Idol and the feet are jogging to opposite shores.

      • katarzyna says:

        “Isn’t that the exact opposite of reality?”

        No. Toyota has been cutting corners and covering up problems for at least a decade now, and the general public isn’t aware of it. They’ll still buy the cars, because the public mindset is stuck back in the 70s and 80s, American cars = bad, Japanese cars = good.

        Toyota definitely sucks. Lots of people are gullible enough to buy into their BS, but that doesn’t reflect the reality of their inferior product.

        • jefeloco says:

          Other than recent Fords, American cars are pieces of crap. Toyota quality has definitely slumped over the last decade but it is still well above any of the Detroit 3. I have no idea what the newer Jeeps will be like but they look promising and GM is kind of starting to build quality products but every time I have thought that in the last 15 or so years an image of various cadavaliers pops into my head. GM is up to the same old lame tactics but with new clothes.

          Go back to the UAW.

  19. eccsame says:

    Sony? Really? Have you not heard of a Playstation. Or Playstation 2? What about Playstation 3? Granted, some may not have heard of it yet because they’ve only sold about 38 million worldwide.

    • Murph1908 says:

      Anyone past their 20’s remembers when the Walkman was the iPod. Sony in the 80’s was Apple now.

      Nobody is saying Sony is dead, but compared to what they were…

      Imagine 15 years from now, and some new company holds the personal music and entertainment market as completely as Apple does now, and Apple only has the 3rd generation iPad to boast. You’d say the same thing about them.

    • andyg8180 says:

      sony’s name isnt known for the playstation. They made their brand off of high end TVs VCRs the Walkman and basically electronics as a whole. The Playstation was part of their legacy. So, when you think of that, people dont go into stores saying “Give me a sony tv and sony speakers and a sony MP3 player.” Theyre saying, igive me a samsung or a Vizio led tv, some klipsch/polk/other name speakers, and a friggin ipod”…. OR, give me the cheapest thing in stock…

    • bdgbill says:

      I used to have Sony everything. My first CD player, DVD player and surround sound system were all Sony. I had a 36 inch Trinitron when that was considered a huge TV. My first 5 digital cameras were all Sony. I even owned a purple Vaio laptop at some point.

      After going to three stores in one day looking for the particular flavor of Memory Stick my new camera required and not finding it, I returned the camera and bought a Canon. That was about the time the whole rootkit debacle was going on and that sealed the deal for me. All my A/V stuff is JVC now. I own four Canon cameras and the only Sony products I have left are my trusty old clock radio and a boombox that plays Atrac files.

      It’s too bad because I miss Sony’s build quality.

    • rdldr1 says:

      The Sony Playstation 3 is lagging in total sales behind the Nintendo Wii and XBOX 360. It’s the sad truth since the Playstation 2 was by far the dominant home console.

      I wouldn’t call the PS3 a running success. When it launched, it was basically a failure.

    • DanRydell says:

      Playstation 2 is nearly 10 years old, and Playstation 3 is a third place console – out of three! You actually picked a fantastic illustration of Sony sucking – PS2 dominated the competition HARD despite having inferior hardware. Then the next generation they take that huge lead they had and squander it with a $600 console that had superior hardware but was way too expensive. Now they’re being dominated by inferior hardware. Even the Xbox 360 is beating the PS3 worldwide and dominating the PS3 in the US despite its design flaw that took 3 years to fix. Sony is fortunate that a lot of people bought PS3s because of that flaw. The only thing Sony really has going for it is soccer and auto racing in Europe and nationalism in Japan. Gran Turismo 5 has probably sold a ton of PS3s despite not even being out 4 years into the console’s life (major fail there, Sony)

    • WVUmountaineers says:

      I own a PS3, and although I think its vastly better than the xbox 360, sadly no one I know has one. Not having any friends to play with on the PS3, I’ve been tempted many times to sell the ps3 and buy an xbox.

      If you think about it its similar to owning a Lexus but selling it for a toyota so you can be driving the “hip” car.

  20. RobofNYC says:

    Shouldn’t US News and World Report be on this list as well.

    • jessjj347 says:

      but…the university listings are still relevant?? agree? disagree?

      • thebt1 says:

        the USNWR university ratings still count, but they are so flawed that it seems that people are paying somewhat less attention to them than they used to. still, they and newsweek are a shell of what they used to be.

  21. andyg8180 says:

    M$ is taking a break from being awesome… i think they’re playing the make up game since introducing the laughable Windows Vista setup… I think the 360 will continue to pave the way for them and hopefully the Windows Phone 7 will be a trend setter in the business sector at the least… I immediately saw how serious they were about rebranding themselves when windows 7 came out… much better…

    Right now, Apple is killing them in the home arena. M$ needs to find a way to make Media Center a big selling point and say, hey, mac is nice, but can you do this? Can you do that?

    • hansolo247 says:

      Their last ad did kind of do the Media Center thing.

      Media Center has a lot going for it. A $60 DVR with no recurring fees (for locals only) is one heck of a deal!!! The $60 is the ATSC/ClearQAM tuner.

  22. Outrun1986 says:

    Dell is probably the single most purchased computer still, at least for home users. I can’t think of another brand, maybe HP that has quite the saturation that dell has. In other area’s, yes they have probably been sliding, but if you want a Desktop or a Laptop, they are still a major player. Also dell’s website is not to ignore if you are looking for a deal, sometimes they have very good deals on electronics and video game systems.

    Toys R Us has definitely been sliding, since pretty much the only time people shop there is before Christmas. They used to be THE store for Toys and Video games and a trip there was truly magical if you were a kid during their peak era. If people need toys year round, they go to Target or Walmart whom have pretty much all the big name toys that Toys R Us has and at lower prices. Buying a toy is really nothing special anymore, there isn’t one single destination you go to get one like there was in the past.

    • andyg8180 says:

      haha remember going down the video game isle and seeing which games still had tickets left over? And getting mad when a ticket wasnt there? lol

    • The Dord says:

      Dell Q&A is pretty poor, especially for their capacitors.

    • wackydan says:

      Dell slipped from #1 to #2, and is now ranked #3 behind Acer.

      Acer and Lenovo as the underdogs are growing share where HP and Dell are losing share. Apple is the only other PC vender that has had share growth consistently these past few years.

      All Lenovo has to do is buy a couple of smaller, emerging market based pc vendors and they will push Dell to #4… and they’ve been pushing hard to buy some smaller companies in the past couple of years.

      • XTC46 says:

        Lenovo stopped being an underdog when IBM sold them the thinkpad/thinkcenter line of machines. Thinkpads are hands down the BEST laptops on the market.

      • Dunkelzahn says:

        Ehh, while not taking away from Apple’s success (I may not enjoy the stuff myself, but I couldn’t possibly steal their thunder) their main growth has been based upon Mp3 players, phones and various devices + a rich online store that is hard to beat (especially when their devices rely upon it).

        Their numbers are bolstered by devices that, while other companies like Dell and HP are trying to jump in, only serve to fluff the numbers.

  23. Outrun1986 says:

    Oh yeah, and if we are talking computers, might as well add Gateway in there, in the mid to late 90’s they were pretty much the computer king, now where are they? You don’t even hear the name anymore.

    • rbb says:

      Gateway got too big and then forgot its roots. The first mistake was to leave South Dakota for the big city (San Diego). The second mistake was dumping the cow boxes. The third mistake was not being competitive in the government contracts (such as Desktop III – V with the Air Force).

    • osiris73 says:

      Remember when Gateway opened a bunch of stores? We had a Gateway store here in Davenport, IA that was open for about a year roughly 10 years ago. And I shit you not, it is STILL for sale.

      • rbb says:

        I forgot about that one. Yeah, that was a huge mistake.

        Remember when Gateway led in innovation and particularly how its advertisements set the standard for the industry. Everyone in the color section of Computer Shopper copied their style.

      • Outrun1986 says:

        Yup, there was a Gateway store here, you didn’t see a Dell store, just a Gateway one, which is why I called them the computer king back then (that and I had a Gateway, it was my first computer).

    • DarthCoven says:

      I think Gateway got bought by Acer. Acer doesn’t make fantastic products. I own one of their laptops. It does the job I need it to do but I wouldn’t call it a phenomenal piece of hardware.

      • Destron says:

        Acer actually makes some pretty impressive stuff, but you won’t find it at Walmart or Best Buy – they only sell the cheap low end computers at retail.

        That said everyone thinks Acer is an emerging power but they have been around since the ’70s and I owned an Acer in the early ’90’s.

    • muzicman82 says:

      I think you mean Gateway 2000… which is you ask me was an entirely different company. They were awesome until they buried themselves releasing that Destination HTPC system, which was sort of ahead of it’s time. They were too small of a company to support the failure of that product. After Christmas the year that thing released, their tech support lines had people on hold for over 24 hours.

      • krom says:

        Really… See, I think Gateway 2K died because the cow spots went out of style and they didn’t have a new gimmick. Running on gimmicks is not a great long term business plan. But it was the 90s.

  24. Elcheecho says:

    North Face

  25. FinancialPeace says:

    How about Wall Street Journal? (Fallen mightily since Dow Jones sold it).

    • chaesar says:

      I am getting tired of the Karl Rove editorials

      • ARP says:

        Yes, but they’re part of the Faux News empire now and have shifted further to the right. Mind you, the WSJ was always right leaning (its a newspaper for banker and investment types), but now its gone to the Faux News propaganda level. That will likely help its overall circulation, given the political demographics, but they may lose some of their old readers who want to know the news with some objectivity so they can make financial decisions. If its hard to tell what’s opinion/editorial from news, it’s makes more difficult to make a (presumably) objective financial decisions.

        • lihtox says:

          I’m not sure about their losing older (in the sense of “born a long time ago”) readers, since Fox News’ demographic is one of the oldest on television, and the conservative movement in general tends to skew old. They might lose a lot of the longstanding readers, though, I don’t know.

    • Mr. Stupid says:

      it’s the only newspaper with increased circulation each of the last 10 years or so. not sure how that qualifies it as a failure.

    • COBBCITY says:

      i would have to agree, while I weep that it was sold to News Corp, the Wall Street Journal has done very well financially and circulation wise. Not a failure by any means.

    • SuperBK says:

      Cable TV companies – Time Warner, Comcast, etc.

  26. Harry_Greek says:

    Amazon.com; it is now filled with merchant slime ($63 for Mario Kart DS?? Windows 98 for $119?!?!) and review trolls.

    You still find some great deals, but you can end up neck deep in scum.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      That’s mostly the 3rd party sellers, the problem is that Amazon got so big people think they can get 10x the amount their item is worth by selling it there. The actual Amazon, aka products sold only by them is great. I rarely buy from a 3rd party on Amazon, if ever.

      • scratchie says:

        Yeah, real Amazon still kicks ass. Good prices and hassle-free return policy.

        • BurtReynolds says:

          Some of the merchants are OK, like for CDs, they can be cheaper than Amazon even with shipping costs associated.

          Quite a few are trying to scam some uneducated/desperate consumer though. Amazon was out of PS3s for a couple weeks, and the merchants were trying to peddle the 120 GB PS3 for like $400 because of it.

  27. SlappyFrog says:

    When was Dell “great”? Sure they made cheaper computers back in the day but I can’t remember a time where the machines weren’t shoddy and their customer service a nightmare.

  28. pz says:

    I beg to differ about Motorola — maybe they don’t have the market share they used to, but their design of (and marketing of) their Droid phone is part of the reason why Android is enjoying the boom it is today. It turned an OS that was known only to geeks into a household term.

    • DarthCoven says:

      …and then turned around and, in cahoots with VZW, neutered the very OS that brought them back into the spotlight. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Droid X, but I’d rather be able to dictate what is installed and running on my phone at any given time.

  29. mbd says:

    While Kodak is fading, at the moment anyway, with consumer products, their industrial photographic film business is still booming (90% of the movie theaters world wide still use 35mm film, X-Ray film, etc).

    Kodak also owns a vast number of patents for the technology in all our digital cameras and computer printers, making them money while letting other companies do the work of selling.

    Unlike other dinosaurs, Kodak invested heavily in new technology, and regularly sells off old technology products when they are no longer sufficiently profitable.

  30. punteruk says:

    Microsoft: Douchebaggery of the 90s cost them all their geek cred. It wasn’t cool for geniuses to work there anymore–and they didn’t
    Motorola- Comeback possible with the latest Droid phones. Real iphone competitors they are.

  31. Big Mama Pain says:


  32. ElizabethD says:


  33. Rachacha says:

    Kodak has certainly lost some marketshare, but I think that they have found their niche in Consumer Digital Photography. They make extremely simple, easy to use (set it on a dock, press a button and print your photos) digital cameras. These are the perfect cameras for people (like my parents) who have stuck with a simple 35mm point and shoot film camera because it had 2 buttons, Power and the shutter.

    Their printers claim to be more economical to run, and again, because of their simplicity appeal to a certain niche audience.

    They also make a lot of high end professional printers that can deliver high quality digital prints almost instantly.

    Looking back to the 1980-1990s when they were getting their @$$ handed to them by Fuji and the flops of the Disk cameras, and losing the lawsuit against Polaroid for their Instand film cameras, they have come a long way at moving the ship in a completely new direction.

    Perhaps I am just biased having lived less than 5 miles from Kodak Park in Rochester, NY for my entire childhood.

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      That, and they also seem to do a brisk business in photo printing; snapshots, cards, calendars, gift knicknacks. I occasonally use their Kodak Photo Gallery for prints, Christmas cards, etc.

  34. Speak says:

    I actually have an issue with saying Toys R Us lost to Amazon. The last time I tried to buy something online from Toys R Us, it was though an Amazon portal. Of course that was a few years ago, but I still don’t think Amazon had much to do with Toys R Us. Also I still go to Toys R Us when I want to see a large selection of toys in one place. Wal-mart & Target each have some selection of toys, but not as big a selection.

  35. ahecht says:

    I would take Dell and Microsoft off the list and replace them with IBM (at least from a comsumer standpoint) and Radio Shack.

    • krom says:

      Radio Shack is a poster child of abandoning a niche market and trying to compete in a much larger pond.

      Used to be you could reliably find three things at RS: 1. informed staff, 2. components, tools, and resources for tinkerers and DIY repairers, and 3. cheap electronics and A/V supplies.

      But now all an RS is good for is cell phones and overpriced electronics goods. I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that an RS is no longer a great place to find a cheap, basic technology accessory. I went into an RS two weeks ago to get a MicroUSB cable. They had one type and it was $13. A few days later I was at a T-Mobile store (not even an electronics store!) and snagged one for $5. When a cell phone store can beat RS at price, you know they’re in trouble — doubly so considering RS is a cell phone store now.

  36. Consumeristing says:

    Newsweek/Time. These rags today are so thin. Newsweek sold for a dollar. I am now laughing at the awkwardness of the 50 billion Obama covers and the epic “We’re All Socialists Now” cover.

  37. SwoonOMatic says:


    The only thing I can find at Toys-R-Us are toys from Disney/Nickelodean characters plastered all over them. If you don’t want anything with Buzz Light Year or Lightning McQueen, then don’t bother entering the store.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Pretty much every toy these days is licensed, its hard to find something that isn’t and those that aren’t are cheap store-brand junk toys that just break after 5 min. But around here they don’t have anything more than Walmart and Target have in their toy departments when it comes to actual toys.

      They seem to be more focused on selling baby products, since a large section of the store, previously occupied by toys, is now being taken up by baby clothes, diapers, food and other baby products and no we don’t have a Babies R Us store here, this is the regular store called Toys R Us.

      They have bikes and sporting goods, but Walmart and Target have those too, basically Toys R Us has turned into its own version of Walmart.

      Another problem is that there is less demand for actual toys these days, since kids 7-8 years and up are already clamoring for iPods and video games, leaving toys in the dust when previously the manufacturers were able to sell toys to that audience. No girls play with dolls past 8 years old and boys stop playing with toys as soon as they discover video games (at least its that way around here). There are only so many toys that the manufacturers make that are current and Walmart and Target seem to have that covered, unless the stores carry back stock of older toys which they won’t because no one shopping in retail wants those.

  38. kc2idf says:

    I haven’t liked Microsoft since 1988 or so. The last product of theirs that I consistently liked was the BASIC interpreter in the ROM of a Commodore 128. DOS was crap. Windows is crap. Don’t even get me started about their server software like SharePoint.

    I don’t hate Microsoft for their success. I don’t really hate them at all, I just think their products suck and are holding back the computer industry. PHBs are attached to them, though, so they continue to dominate, perverting the function of the market.

  39. maryland157 says:

    I’d have to disagree with: Dell, sure they’ve got the worst tech support around but their computers are not all that bad. Microsoft, Windows 7 nuff said best OS ever. Sony, sure they might not be as innovated these days but they still make great products.

    • VashTS says:

      Didn’t Dell get a shellacking by the FCC or some government run group over knowingly selling computers that were going to fail in 5 months?

      No different than MS Xbox 360 debacle.

  40. progrocktv says:

    Radio Shack. Last time I was in there it was like the “Cheese Shop” sketch in Monty Python.

  41. Destron says:

    I don’t shop at radio shack anymore, every time I go in there they try to force batteries down my throat and want WAY to much information just to sell me a breadboard.

  42. oldtaku says:

    Sun doesn’t just suck, they’re dead. Oracle bought them and are busy destroying anything that was left.

  43. WHC999 says:

    Roses…the store.
    GC Murphy

  44. Hoss says:


    • econobiker says:

      Yup, CNN’s appetite for infotainment and close to shill expert soundbites plus branding Headline News as HLN is lame and trailing down the suck path…

      • failurate says:

        Yeah, I had no clue what HLN was on my channel listing, figured it was a shopping network or something, so it always got bypassed.
        Now I know… and it will still always get flipped past.

  45. TheGreySpectre says:

    Microsoft is not going anywhere, most consumers still use microsoft based PCs, and more importantly almost every corporation uses microsoft products

    • Joey_Brill says:

      Microsoft now licenses Windows7 per machine. You don’t get desktop plus laptop. Transferring your license from an older pc to a newer model is nearly impossible.

      All this comes after the Vista failure – Remember when it was called ‘Longhorn’?

  46. Mangy66 says:

    I beg to differ on Motorola. The Droid X is the best smartphone out there by far. It puts the iPhone 4 to shame. So I would dare to say they’re on the cutting edge right at this moment.

  47. jonroknrol says:

    When I was a kid, I remember going there if I wanted to get that harder to find He-man character (for example). Now, when I take my kids to Toys R Us, the selection kinda sucks. We end up going to Wal-Mart for the harder to find action figures.

  48. Brunette Bookworm says:

    What, no American Apparel on the list? Considering their recent difficulty in filing with the SEC and huge losses, I think they could be here. They have a large market share in selling to screen printing companies and had a good concept for a business but Dov Charney’s lack of management skills and lawsuits are killing them.

  49. econobiker says:

    Sears killed their catalog and mail order just as people were adopting to the specialty mail order and catalog trend (early 1990s). If they had kept their catalog business and figured out how to streamline it then they would have been at a good jump off for the internet. They focused too much on static brick and mortar stores without moving the stores to different properties as communities changed and new places advanced in population.

    Sears also kept its captive credit cards only in its stores way too long- also into the 1990s.

    I think that Sears/Kmart only stays alive because Wal-mart doesn’t want any monopoly lawsuits…

  50. BurtReynolds says:

    “And sure enough, the market is shifting away from the PCs that Microsoft’s software is designed for.”

    Really? No one is buying Windows 7 based computers anymore huh?

    • consumerfan says:

      I showed my parents the iMac and they love it. I get far fewer complaints about it than I ever did when they had a PC.

      I’ll be using Windows XP and Ubuntu for now. Why would anyone want Windows 7?

      • DorsalRootGanglion says:

        Something about it being supported in the next 6 months and getting regular anti-virus updates vs. XP being technically unsupported.

  51. Shadowfax says:

    Who the hell wrote this list? Yeah, Motorola doesn’t focus on smartphones. . .Well except the Droid (which, btw, is the phone that shot Android into the common consumer sphere), DroidX, and Droid 2, and by the way posted a 136.8% growth in share between Q1 of ’09 and Q1 of ’10, which happens to be the largest growth of any cell phone maker.

    And Dell didn’t lose sales because tablets and smartphones came out. Dell lost sales because they used to make fantastic computers and have stunning customer service, and then they started making cheap pieces of junk coupled with nonexistent customer service. Dell lost sales because Dell now sucks.

  52. sopmodm14 says:

    most of those companies still have tried and true products

    i had a dell that finally crapped out 2009 just before black friday, that i brought for college in 2001 (yes, i’m a van wilder, a decade straight of college), so i rewarded myself w/ a new comp, but the best deal i had was from HP.

    i never really rented videos anyway (still in college, so i DC++)

    i used to have a kodak camera, but just got a new canon one

    my first cd and md player was from sony, and i still have their tv and a ps3

    microsoft products are standard everywhere for the most part

    i’m proud to say i still rock the razr !!!

    i still go to *THE* toy leader at Toys ‘R Us year round !!! (not ashamed to say it !) and babies ‘r us also when the occassion arises

  53. jpdanzig says:

    I wouldn’t count Sony out just yet in electronics. Yes, Samsung has come on strong as a competitor, but I hear that the reliability of their products — especially TVs — just sucks. Same for Vizio. When my old Panasonic CRT conks, you can bet that I’ll replace it with a flat-screen set from a reputable Japanese brand like Sony or Sharp or Panasonic rather than a Chinese or Korean product that barely outlasts its two-year warranty.

  54. SunsetKid says:


  55. soren121 says:

    I object, I think Motorola’s made a comeback with their Android phones.

  56. ShreeThunderbird says:

    What? No airlines?

    • stuny says:

      The airlines have all sucked at least since the eighties, maybe longer. Except maybe Virgin, which still has style.

    • BocaMan says:

      And except for Jet Blue, they are still awsome. But in a few years Jet Blue will probably suck like all the others, it’s only a matter of time.

  57. nelamvr6 says:


    Motorola makes the Droid, the Droid 2 and the Droid X.

    How in the world can this article claim that “Motorola failed to focus on smartphones that can handle E-mail and other data, and rapidly lost share to newcomers like Research in Motion, Apple, LG, and Samsung.”

    • APCO25guy says:

      Cellphones are a fraction of Motorola’s business. Their other business units such as their radio products group that make public safety radio systems is doing exceptional: they dominate this multi-billion dollar industry at around 80 percent. Each subscriber radio can cost anywhere from $1000-$6000 a piece, and the infrastructure to make them work can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. What do the cops and firefighters in your town carry? 8 out of 10 are toting Motorola radios on Motorola radio systems.

      Cable TV infrastructure, networking, RFID, inventory control (Motorola owns Symbol Technologies) are all very profitable expanding part of the company. Motorola also is a huge player in the cellular infrastructure business making base stations, controllers, and associated hardware to make all those Droids and Droid 2’s work. Handset sales a ripple in a toilet bowl. Infrastructure is where the money is. And Motorola is king.

      Their heyday making phones was actually in the early days of cellular (1980’s through the mid 1990’s), they’ve moved on to where the real money is. And that’s the part that makes it all work.

  58. Not Given says:


  59. sebastian tombs says:


    They used to sell good stuff now they have gone retail B&M and sell alot of name brand items so their return policy now sucks and so does alot of their merchandise. They used to have great clothes that lasted forever and had great guarantees. My overseas friends used to buy from them because of their quality goods but not anymore, I don’t find the kind of quality or selection they used to have from their own private label. They seemed to have alot more in their catalogs in the past then they do on their website or stores now.

  60. Jeff says: "WTF could you have been thinking?" says:


  61. MitchV says:

    Best Buy – I used to buy all my electronics and appliances from Best Buy. I was shocked when they built a store across from Circuit City. I didn’t think they could compete. I found that BBY had better prices, they honored their warranties on the spot, and they had a much better selection. I spent so much money with them.

    These days, I buy *nothing* from Best Buy. They no longer have the best prices. Both Best Buy and Circuit City started charging restocking fees at one point (like CompUSA), the reward zone program became progressively worse (I used to pay to be a reward member), and the warranty program is nothing more than a glorified place to drop off your item so they will pursue the existing manufacturers warranty.

    For example, I used to buy all my PC monitors at BBY with warranty. If a monitor failed (yeah, I have 4 PCs in my home), the “old” Best Buy would at least give me a loaner monitor until the broken monitor came back from being repaired. On one of my last trips to Best Buy I asked to speak to the manager and informed him that if he refused to provide me with a loaner from the back I was “going to buy the most expensive monitor on your floor, open it and use it until my monitor was repaired, and then I would return it for a full refund… and the whole thing would be financed on my Best Buy credit card so they would fund it too.” He told me to do whatever I felt I needed to do… so I did!

  62. G00MAN says:

    IMO Microsoft and Motorola don’t belong on the list, but U.S. News and World Report should add themselves to the top of the list. I subscribed for years and then with no warning, they became electronic format only. Sure, they tacked on some extra issues to my subscription, but it’s not what I paid for and not what I want. They more than kinda suck.

  63. Dr.Wang says:

    Sony used to mean quality and innovation. More and more radio and TV stations and independents have banned the Sony name from their facilities. Sony quality isn’t what it used to be. Personally, after so many faulty devices and failed formats (betamax, minidisc) that brand is also banned from my home.

  64. stevenpdx says:

    Palm. Palm Pilots were all the rage 10-15 years ago.

  65. Gregg Araki Rocks My World says:

    American Apparel, and it’s for the better. They opened up over 100 stores at the height of the housing bubble and their crappy, overpriced goods aren’t selling well. Their creepy, sexist ads don’t help much, either.

  66. lumaniac says:

    I’m not sure Microsoft really belongs on this list. I guess “kinda suck” is somewhat subjective. Microsoft’s numbers are looking pretty good actually (not Apple level) but Office and Windows are still huge cash cows. Microsoft can pretty much buy everyone else on this list.

  67. APCO25guy says:

    RadioShack officially died in 2002, that was the last year of the famous Radio Shack catalog. Since then they are nothing more than an overpriced cell phone retailer that happens to carry a few accessory items and A/V cables sold at grossly inflated prices. Gone are the component selection, neat items like CB radios, scanners, radios, etc. Gone are the days when the staff was knowledgeable on electronics and the items they sell. Now you cannot step foot in the door without being harassed about buying a cellphone from them. All the good stuff they used to carry is either available at WalMart or online. I still don’t see how they manage to stay in business. Every RS store around here is devoid of customers.

  68. pixiestix says:

    What no Spirit Airlines? They’re considering charging you to piss! Want to bring a carry on? That’ll cost ya. Want to use your seat belt? That’ll cost ya. Want to bring any luggage with you? Oh that will really cost ya.

    Apple’s on the verge of sucking. Aside from being over-priced, how do you release a phone with “really cool engineering” that’s flawed and tell people not to hold it that way? Of course the problem can be fixed by duct tape but I’m sure people didn’t stand in line for an entire day and fork over all that cash for a phone they need to duct tape.

    How about Netflix? Is anyone ever able to get that new release they requested? Now Netflix won’t even make them available until 28 days after they have been released. That redbox looks better and better.

  69. theholymac says:

    Why is Dell on this list? They’re not the #1 computer manufacturer in the USA anymore, but they certainly aren’t doing poorly, at all.

    Microsoft… would have been a perfect fit on this list, oh, two years ago. The Vista debacle taught them a lot, and Windows 7 is helping them regain some of their former reputation, and no matter how much the open-source zealots yell, MS Office is still light-years ahead of OpenOffice (This is said as someone who has used OO on Mac and PC, as well as every Mac and PC version of MS Office since 2000).

    Motorola, while not as hot as they were 10 years ago, is still doing damn well for themselves.

    On the other hand, I’m really surprised by everyone defending Sony. Yes, they have a massive entertainment empire now, and are in no danger of going under. But in the 80’s and 90’s, Sony was THE company in personal electronics. You wanted a TV, a stereo system, speakers, from the mid-end to the tip-top of the high end, you bought a Sony. Sony’s consumer electronics divisions today are muddled, work and cross purposes to each other, build competing products that are years behind cutting edge.

    The real tragedy on this list is Kodak. I’m always mildly horrified that most cameras are made by consumer electronics companies nowadays, not actual camera companies. At least Canon and Nikon came out stronger than ever.

    On the topic of Kodak being made irrelevant by a major technology shift, a company to watch over the next decade it Seagate. All they make is hard drives; all they’ve ever made is hard drives. As solid-state drive take over the market, hopefully Seagate will be be able to react and adapt…

  70. OnePumpChump says:

    Blockbuster was BIG. They were never GREAT.

  71. BradenR says:

    If I could believe that Motorola’s decline was due to the boycott, It would make me smile. Still a frown though, as American consumers care about no one but themselves.

  72. Conformist138 says:

    “But a decade later, Dell faltered as mobile devices began to displace PCs…”

    Sorry, that is way too soon. These mobile devices have been popular as computer replacement for the non-tech types for about a day. Many of us still laugh at the idea of our *real* computers being replaced by cell phones. Sorry, but no device on the market now can replace a standard laptop or tower unless you have extremely limited needs.

  73. Patches O'Houlihan says:

    Motorola is tanking. I’ll tell you why. Not any point on the Droids or cell phones, but their government markets. Motorola has taken an adversarial position with governmental entities. They do not listen to feedback from their customers in government. They market a product exceedingly overpriced and have a take it or leave it, smug attitude. Once you purchase a motorola product they bleed you for accessories which are priced exceptionally high in the market. On top of this, each generation of public safety devices are proprietary to themselves. You must buy new batteries, holders, chargers, shoulder microphones, software, etc… for each individual product. Yes, some would say this is smart business by maximizing their net revenue, however, this has had a backlash on them as most governmental public safety providers are eagerly looking for another option to motorola.

  74. touayang says:

    Out of the 10, I still think Microsoft and Sony will be around for the long haul. MS has started to get back on it’s feet after the release of Windows 7. Sony will get back on their feet if they can manage to produce OLED TVs at a low price. Of course, they can’t no 15″ TVs either. They have to be at least 40″.

    As for the rest on the list, they could have been gone 5 years ago and nobody would have cared. The only thing Dell has going for them are their government contracts, without them, they might as well be out of business.

    Sear’s Craftsman brand has really taken a hit in the past 4-5 years. That was the only thing they had going for them.

    Yahoo!? I haven Yahoo-ed in a long time.

    Toys R Us is a rip off nowadays when you have Amazon.

    Motorola just doesn’t make phones like they used to.

    Blockbuster should have merged with Circuit City and die so we no longer have to hear about them.

    Kodak? I don’t use film anymore when I have my DSLR.

    Sun Mirco use to have some of the best technologies and fastest computers around? Haven’t heard anything positive about them since I graduated college in 2002.

  75. krom says:

    For most of these companies, their fall can be directly attributed to ejecting visionaries and enlisting bean counters. This blame falls directly at the feet of uninterested shareholders whose priorities are not for quality or pride but for maximising short term ROI.

    And how can you blame them in an ever-expanding socioeconomic system in which cash is king? The free market doesn’t self-regulate or self-innovate; it churns out gobs of cheaply produced crap which replaces quality goods. I suppose if the system rewarded quality over price, it would.

    Companies like Blockbuster, Sears, and Kodak because someone had an innovative idea, and a vision, and ran towards it. As they became successful, investors got hooked, and when things turned down, instead of seeking another vision, they sought ways to cull all loss. That kept the money flowing for a few years, but it drained the life out of the company toward assured doom.

  76. COBBCITY says:

    Um, Toys R Us was sold, is now private and doing VERY well. It had a very rough period that it has recovered from. Who researched this list? Radio Shack is missing but companies that are doing better made it?

    • jursylegnd says:

      Recovered and doing well? Yeah if you call crapping on your employees at every possible turn “doing well” then your right. I still marvel at the business world’s continuing to miss the point which is that you get what you pay for. Toys R Us pays sh!t so you customers, in turn, will get sh!t. You want cheap toys and cheap clothes and cheap crap but you don’t have a clue where that “savings” is REALLY coming from. Nothing is manufactured in the US and the people stocking the shelves get scraps. The truth is we Americans are cutting out the legs from under ourselves!

  77. XTC46 says:

    You do realize that MIcrosoft does A LOT more than just windows OS right? And as much as people like to say things like the iPad are replacing computers, they are wrong. the iPad is awesome, we use them at work. But it is in no way a replacement for the windows PCs we run our businesses on. Heck, one of the main things we use the iPad for is remoting into our Windows Server 2008 based terminal server.

    Microsoft is far from sucking.

  78. pandih says:

    Ebay, for sure! When it was new, it was a wonderful way to sell and buy unusual, unused, or white elephant stuff. Now it has become totally commercialized. Most of the sellers are full or part-time “merchants” pure and simple, not ordinary people looking to buy or sell something. But it still is a great place for fences and shoplifters — I love their range of choice in razorblades!

  79. SalParadise says:

    Interestingly enough, Intel went to Kodak first with their new erasable memory chips, and gave them a shot at the digital photography market before anyone else. Kodak refused, citing the enormous profits they were making in their photo paper business.

    There’s a recurring theme here: the US hi-fi industry was given first shot at the new transistor technology (also invented in the USA), but gave it a pass, since all of their expertise was in tube technology.

  80. soj4life says:

    microsoft is still very important and makes money hands over fists. Also, who has a web tv device? tivo isn’t the same thing. neither is apple tv or roku’s netflix player. e-books only have gotten more popular when devices have lowered in price, the same is saif about tablets.

  81. magus_melchior says:

    I’d question a couple:

    Motorola, because they are now approaching a year since their Droid handset (they had other Android handsets before that, testing the waters; BLUR, for all its shortcomings, did have positive feedback). Were it not for them, Verizon would still be chomping at the bit for the iPhone– now they’re unleashing a flood of Android courtesy of not just Motorola, but also HTC, Samsung, and others. Yes, recent Droids come with some bloatware, but honestly, they’re still damned simple to customize– and you can root them if you’re feeling adventurous.
    A much more deserving company is Palm. Once the iconic company that defined the PDA, made some waves with its WebOS handsets, but ultimately couldn’t get enough customers to hop aboard because the build quality and launch marketing sucked, and they picked the smallest network to launch. Now they’re owned by HP, which is a bit of sad irony because the iPaq was one of the devices that killed Palm PDAs (another was RIM’s Blackberry). WebOS and old-school Palm emulation may live on, but Palm is otherwise gone for good.

    Microsoft, for all its recent clean PR moves, is still very much the same company that called Linux a “virus” and a “cancer”, with Steve Ballmer at the helm: they dominate the enterprise because they perfected OS/SDK lock-in, and they get their partners to engage in trickery like ballot stuffing to influence governments and standards organizations– because if they’re going to call you a monopoly, you might as well control the politicians. I wouldn’t write them off yet, as they do have brilliant product designers and historically one of the best marketing teams out there (though not the most consumer-savvy; case in point, Seinfeld ads).

    The criticism of Sun is off– enterprise uses Java tech heavily, and the firms moving to alternative frameworks are few, small, and agile. Of course, since the events in the article practically stopped at the year 2000, there’s no mention of what Sun did in the next 10 years. I would say that while Sun has historically been somewhat amenable to opening up its technology portfolio (most notably Java), the new overlords at Oracle may see things very differently– and the Android lawsuit seems to be an indication of this.

  82. blakek says:

    I got a Droid X and it seems pretty smart to me…

  83. Crutnacker says:

    I’m going to get out my crystal ball. Companies to make this list in the future:

    Apple — More and more of my friends are buzzing about Android phones and Apple is hitting the same wall they hit with PCs. It’s no longer good enough to be the first or most user friendly. People appreciate value and choice as well.

    Wal-Mart — Yes, it may take decades, but Wal-Mart used to be a decent company that people liked working for and that saved American jobs. The 20 years since they began their rise have seen the company competing through sheer force of will and being cheap. Evidence would suggest that this is not sustainable.

    Target — The stores are trying to compete with Wal-Mart by being Wal-Mart. That’s not why we go there, Target.

    Ebay — There is plenty of room for a decent e-commerce alternative to take its place. Craigslist helped the individual.

  84. JayPhat says:

    Agree 100% on Sears. They used to be the pinnacle of shopping but have fallen so far behind it’s not even funny. I often wonder with so few people actually working in the stores, how many fridges could I wheel out before someone would notice?

  85. LastError says:

    Many of these companies used to be single-players who owned or practically owned their particular market segment. And many of them have become obsolete:

    Blockbuster Video: killed by Netflix, Red Box, streaming movies and other innovations that don’t require stores.

    Dell: Gateway pioneered the idea of built-to-order PCs, Dell took it over and ran with it. But Gateway is more or less gone, and Dell will follow because anyone can get a new PC at Costco or Walmart. Or from bigger companies like HP. Dell will remain only as a place to price-shop.

    Eastman Kodak: Cell phone cameras will obliterate the pocket digital camera market for everyone soon enough. Only pro-sumers or pros will bother with a dedicated digital camera.

    Microsoft: In the old days, you sort of needed Windows to help you do things on the computer. Now, you can do nearly all those things on a phone or tablet or directly online (again using a phone or whatever). The concept of desktop software that you have to have to use a computer has not kept up with the reality that people just want to DO stuff. They don’t care a lot about the OS that makes it work. A product people don’t care about is one they won’t pay for.

    Motorola: They have recentered themselves around Android and for the moment it will save them. But they are now competing tooth and nail with everyone else who is making Android devices. Consumer acceptance and desire can be very fickle.

    Sears: Lost sight of who they are and how they were different. Their brands may survive but even if they don’t it’s not that big a deal. Many Kenmore and Craftsman products are made by companies like LG and Maytag and Husqvarna. So the products will still be around.

    Sony: Is there anything they don’t make? Is there anything they make that ISN’T proprietary in some way? The world today is about interoperability. Sony is about Memorystick and Magic Gate and other bizarre things nobody else uses. Their R&D has gone to hell and they’ve lost the innovation edge. Plus, Samsung is on a tear and wants Sony dead (even as they sell stuff TO Sony. Last holiday season, every electronic item I bought for gifts or myself ended up being Samsung. They has the features I wanted for the right price. Sony didn’t. That said, I just got a Sony stereo for my car. This is the first Sony product I’ve bought in years and it’s a leap of faith to go this route. They just had the features I wanted for the price I wanted. If this radio turns out to be a turkey, they probably won’t sell anything else to me for a decade.

    Sun Microsystems: Meh. They’re part of Oracle. They’ll live for decades. Maybe not selling servers as much but surely as a brand.

    Toys R Us: People are having fewer kids anyway. If you rely on kids and there are less of them, do the math. With the economy down, parents have less to spend and when they DO want toys, they can usually find something at Walmart or Target where the prices are perceived to be lower anyway and where the parents likely shop. Why make an extra trip to a store that only sells toys? Wow. That’s so … 1980.

    Yahoo: Who? Come on, what IS Yahoo anyway? They’re like AOL. They exist but nobody is clear why, exactly.

  86. Dyscord says:

    I can kinda agree with this list. I remember when Blockbuster was HUGE. Yahoo was pretty big in the dot com era.

    Dell is still relevant IMO. Desktop computers are cheaper than ever. If you’re a PC gamer, you’re going to want a desktop over a laptop. And their laptops are also affordable.

    Plus, when the average person wants a computer, what’s the first thing that comes to their mind? That Dell is a good brand.

  87. meechybee says:

    I don’t know if I’m alone in this opinion, but I hate UPS. Not only have they drop-kick my packages, they’ve squandered all brand equity in outdated vehicles and bad service.

    • jursylegnd says:

      I applied for a job at a UPS sorting facility. It had a very nice “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” feel to it. I kept saying, “Indy cova yo haaaart!” I left and didn’t look back.
      Plus does anyone else notice how different the prices are from one UPS store to another? It’s pretty ridiculous.

  88. meechybee says:

    I don’t know if I’m alone in this opinion, but I hate UPS. Not only do they drop-kick my packages, they’ve squandered all brand equity in outdated vehicles, obnoxious service center staff, and bad service.

  89. meechybee says:

    I don’t know if I’m alone in this opinion, but I hate UPS. They’ve squandered all their sexy-UPS-man equity in outdated, oversized and pollution-spewing vehicles, obnoxious service center staff, and overall bad service (my packages arrive looking like hey’ve been drop-kicked across the street and our delivery man stays in one spot all day hanging out in the truck).

  90. TheGreySpectre says:

    Motorola actually started faltering much earlier before the razrs.

  91. WickedCrispy says:

    If Sony hadn’t teamed up with porn for the Blue-Ray win, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have survived at all.

  92. Rhinoguy says:

    Smaller companies: Kenwood, seems like their receivers quit after four years. Minolta/Fuji, not really gone, sold to Sony, which is sinking in quality. Big Lots, no really good deals anymore, just another discounter. Volvo, goodness, they are Chinese! Jaguar, owned by TATA of India?
    Saab is iffy, they’re owned by a Dutch company that makes funny looking sports cars, Spyker. Fiat is a big Question. They have the most advanced valve trains on the planet and they own Ferrari. But who has driven one in the states?
    Volkswagen: Several of it’s makes consistently rank in the least reliable category. VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat. Others are amazing. Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti. Don’t know anything about Scania trucks.
    And the number of food products that have gotten just plain boring is astounding.

  93. cys_av8r says:

    This list is a joke. Do some research….

  94. PsiCop says:

    Many moons ago, in a great job at a company that went the way of the merger, I had a Sun SPARCstation on my desk. It was a hyperpowered scream machine that was the envy of the systems department. Nothing could crash it … and I do mean, nothing. I will always miss it. Sun was a great company, until Oracle opened its vast maw and swallowed it.

    With the success of their Droid line, I’m not convinced Motorola is completely washed up. And assuming that Microsoft is all but finished, is just plain foolish. PCs may be on their way out … but they won’t disappear for many years yet, and it’s wrong to say that Microsoft hasn’t managed some sucess outside that realm, particularly with the Xbox.

  95. jursylegnd says:

    Slap Bracelets!

  96. jursylegnd says:

    Dell Computers are trash. I will never buy one of those lemons again. Computers cost too much money to crap out after 2 years. I think all computers should be warranted for at least 3 years. It’s like saying we aren’t confident this $800-$1200 machine will last past 3 years. IF you are saying that to your customers then your product sucks.