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Project Failure: 10 Famous Failures

10 Famous Failures

For every revolutionary thing, there are usually a dozen failed projects. Let us remember the most unsuccessful products of this decade.


In late 2002, Toshiba and NEC created a new HD DVD format to replace the regular DVD. However, at the same time, Sony was developing the Blu-Ray format with eight leading electronics companies.

Sony had its own film company and many connections, so it was able to convince other major studios to release Blu-Ray films. The war between competitors ended in 2008 when companies refused to support the HD DVD format. In the end, it turned out that Toshiba spent over a billion dollars on the failed technology.

Google Lively

In 2008, Google decided to create a copy of Linden Lab’s successful Second Life project and created its own virtual platform. However, it was not a standalone application like Second Life, so Lively was a collection of “virtual chat rooms” powered by Flash.

The idea was interesting, but the resulting product did not have the same immersive experience as Second Life. Lively looked bulky compared to Facebook and other messaging platforms. A few months after the launch, the project quietly died.

Microsoft Zune

In 2001, Apple released the iPod and revolutionized the digital music industry. Five years later, Microsoft introduced a competitor, the Zune. Despite positive reviews, the Zune flopped because it hit the market too late, had a poor marketing campaign, and lacked the backing of major music labels. Sales were low, but Microsoft supported the Zune for another six years. In 2012, the company finally closed the project.

Windows Phone

Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 in 2010, three years after the first iPhone and two years after the first Android devices were introduced. The delay came at a cost to the company because most developers and users had already become attached to the iOS and Android ecosystems.

In a desperate attempt to develop their project in 2014, Microsoft acquired Nokia – but a year later it led to only billions of dollars in losses. Windows Phone now has less than 1% share of the smartphone market.


Blackberry storm

After the iPhone was released, BlackBerry, then the leader in the smartphone market, said that users were more accustomed to using keyboards and would not want to buy touchscreen phones. However, people began to take iPhones, and BlackBerry had to urgently release the Storm, its first phone with a “clickable” screen that simulated pressing physical buttons on a keyboard.

This strange mechanism broke down quite often, which forced the company to replace most of the million smartphones it sold in 2008. Losses totaled nearly $ 500 million. BlackBerry’s stock continued to plummet, and finally last year the company finally phased out its phones.

HP Touchpad Tablet

In July 2011, HP created an iPad competitor called the Touchpad. A month later, the company announced that it was canceling production of all webOS-powered devices, including a new tablet, in order to exit the mobile market. The remaining stock of the Touchpad was sold for $ 99 apiece. The Touchpad is now considered the shortest tablet in history.

Facebook Home

In 2013, Facebook made the Facebook Home mobile platform for Android devices, which allowed you to quickly view and publish content on Facebook, correspond with other users, and run various programs. The platform also displayed all Facebook notifications on the phone’s lock screen.

Obviously, this is how the company wanted to take over mobile operating systems without building its own. As a result, the platform failed due to bad reviews (mostly people complained about its intrusiveness) and concerns about the confidentiality of information. Because of this failure, Facebook had to reconsider its plans and turn its messenger into a platform.

Google glass

Initially, the company launched the Google Glass project in 2013 as part of the closed Explorer program, and only a year later presented the augmented reality device to the public. The initial cost of the device was $ 1,500, but Google was going to bring it down for the commercial launch.

Many predicted that Google Glass would become a new computing platform, but the company ignored the issue of privacy (it was not clear whether a person is taking pictures, filming or just looking at you in such a device). Organizations did not use Google Glass, and ordinary consumers did not like the strange look of the device and its high price. Google took it out of production in 2015, but promised to release an updated version of the device in the near future.

Amazon Fire Phone Smartphone

In 2014, Amazon decided it could replicate the success of its Kindle Fire tablets by launching its own smartphone. There were users who have already used iPhones and Android devices. Already in the first month, Amazon reduced the cost of the Fire Phone from $ 199 to $ 0.99 (subject to the signing of a contract with the company for two years), but at the end of the year, due to lack of sales, it suffered losses for $ 170 million. In 2015, the company completely abandoned this project.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Popular Samsung Galaxy phones started exploding last year due to malfunctioning batteries. The ensuing panic led to millions of devices being returned by customers, and the company was shutting down its smartphone production. In the third quarter, Samsung lost $ 2.3 billion, and the holiday period was also unprofitable.

As we can see, in recent years, new technologies have led to amazing products. The dizzying pace of innovation has pushed many tech companies to take big risks. Sometimes their ideas were ahead of their time, but people were simply not ready for them. What mistakes in marketing strategy or any business operations have caused failure?

Share your opinion in the comments below! If you wanna learn more or know more you can contact my team or you can jump into a one-on-one call with me right now clicking one of the the below buttons.

Alessandro Rocco Pietrocola is an entrepreneur, fintecher, investor, blogger and author based in London and operating mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania with main focus on UK, Baltic Countries, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, Middle East and New Zealand as area of interest! At the moment is the CEO of Astorts Group. He is an UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and NZ FSPR (Financial Service Provider Register) Approved Person and has great experience as director of regulated companies.
He uses to dedicate part of his life to inspire others and help them achieve the most out of their lives. Since he was 20, he had successfully founded and managed several companies operating in the field of management consulting, wealth management and fintech. He is Member of Institute of Directors in London, Member of Changer Club in Riga, Member of Fintech Association of Hong Kong, Member of Singapore Fintech Association, Member of Non Executive Director Association in London and Member of Alumni Network of Draper University in San Francisco. He loves travelling, he is a cigars lover, an amateur golfer and a dapper man.

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