7 Products By The Biggest Tech Companies That Failed Miserably

Image courtesy of Intrinsic Illusions

Hearing the news that Google is taking another stab at social media with a new group-chatting app dubbed “Spaces” may feel like deja vu for anyone paying attention to the tech giant’s previous, mostly unsuccessful efforts to gain traction in the social media world with Google+. But Google isn’t the only big name in the tech world that’s tried and failed to popularize a new tech product, not by a long shot.

Companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix are generally known for their successes, but even the most wildly successful companies occasionally make incredibly stupid mistakes, rushing fledgling products out of the nest — whether to beat a competitor to market or out of a misguided understanding of what consumers want — only to have them hit the ground with a resounding splat.

Here are just a few examples of ill-guided hubris from otherwise successful tech companies:


Zune: One of our most frequent submissions to Consumerist’s Raiders of the Lost Walmart hall of infamy, Microsoft’s attempt to slay the iPod giant in 2006 with its own MP3 player was, by all accounts, a complete and humiliating failure that the company stopped making in 2011. It limped along for a few years, until Microsoft finally put it out of its misery by shuttering the streaming service connected to the device last year.


Qwikster: The well-chronicled debacle, which saw Netflix hiking prices and briefly separating its disc-rental arm into a different company in 2011 before reconsidering, resulted in diving stock prices and a massive pay cut for its CEO.


Fire Phone: Amazon, greedy to expand beyond its online shopping services and line of Kindles, flew too close to the sun with its Fire Phone which failed to catch on in a big way: not even two months after it first went on sale in the fall of 2014, Amazon knocked down the price of the phone to only $0.99 with a two-year AT&T contract. A year later, the device was longer for sale and Amazon said it had sold off its global supply. The company disclosed to investors the next month that it was taking a charge of $170 million related to the costs getting the phone stocked and sold, The Verge reported at the time.


Slingshot: What, you don’t remember Slingshot? Yeah, we’re not surprised. Facebook wanted Slingshot to compete with Snapchat, but it got off to a rocky start right from the beginning with a premature launch in June 2015. We didn’t hear much about it until Facebook killed off the photo-sharing app late last year.


Yahoo Screen: You may be vaguely aware that a streaming service called Yahoo Screen once existed, after Yahoo plunked millions of dollars into original programming original programming, including its attempt to fulfill Community‘s “six seasons and a movie” destiny after NBC axed the critically loved sitcom. All that money went straight down the drain when , the company pulled the plug on Yahoo Screen in January this year.


Glass: You’d have to have been living under a rock in 2013 to avoid the news about Google Glass, a wearable smart device that was touted as The Next Big Thing. But after a few years on the market and a few controversies about where and how it could and should be used, Googled stopped selling Glass in January 2015. It’s only mostly dead for the time being, however, as the company is reportedly working on a new version.

Buzz: Google Buzz debuted in 2010 and almost immediately ticked everyone off. At least, it felt like everyone was annoyed with the Facebook wannabe when it made private contact information public right off the bat. Things only got worse from there, and the company killed the ill-fated social network in October 2011.

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