George Santayana is attributed with the quote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Along those lines I was inspired from an article one of our contributors (thanks Ian!) shared with our group entitled “10 tech giants that let their big lead slip away”
10. Atari– was in on the ground floor of in-home video game revolution with its’ 2600 but lack of quality control and high pricing were its’ failing
9. Commodore– was on the leading edge of home computers with the Commodore 64 but couldn’t keep up with the pace of innovation
8. GeoCities– in the late 90’s was the 3rd most popular site on the internet but after Yahoo bought it and changed the Terms of Service users left in droves
7. Yahoo– was quick to establish itself as the leader in internet searches but their engines technology fell behind that of Google. When people want to look something up I have yet to hear someone say ‘Yahoo it‘
6. Sony– was a leader of the pack with the Walkman, Trinitron televisions, and Playstation, but a lack of innovation led to their downfall
5. RIM/BlackBerry– owned the business smartphone market until Apple unveiled its’ larger, clearer slab. A lack of response by its’ executives relegated the company to a distant 3rd place. Will be interesting to see what John Chen can do at the helm
4. Nokia– just 8 short years ago Nokia had a commanding 41% market share but the advent of iOS and android combined with the adaptation of the Windows Phone OS led to its’ demise
3. Panasonic– was a leader in high-definition televisions and banked most everything on plasma. As LCD and LED caught on and market share dropped they exited the plasma business. Samsung has now taken over as the industry leader in television market
2. Radio Shack– was a mainstay for electronics but its’ slow descent began as customers started shopping on the internet forcing this ‘brick and mortar’ icon into a corner
1. Kodak– sat atop the film industry for decades until digital cameras took hold. As an FYI, Kodak invented the digital camera but never fully appreciated or embraced the technology. Now it’s looking to sell off patents for revenue.
There seems to be a few recurring themes here, 5 or 6 years are like dog years in tech and a lot can change-
- it’s not only important to keep up with technology, but to innovate
- price and quality are important
- finally, you must be responsive to your customers
So the question becomes, who has learned from the past?