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The Twelve Most Tarnished Brands In Tech

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the packard-bell-is-in-its-own-class dept.

Businesses 430

harrymcc writes "Polaroid, Netscape, CompuServe, Westinghouse, Heathkit — these were once among the most respected names in the technology business. They're still around, but what's happened to them is just plain sad. I took a look at the tragic fates of a dozen mighty brands that have, in one way or another, fallen on hard times."

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Here's Another (0, Redundant)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609452)

Bell & Howell. They were respected manufacturers of projectors, binoculars and the like. Got bought out and turned into an even cheesier version of K-Tel.

Re:Here's Another (0)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609484)

Oops, my bad. TFA listed B & H.

Re:Here's Another (5, Funny)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609534)

Or how about Hyades1. Once the recipient of such moderations as "+5. Insightful" and "+5, Informative" the brand is now associated with failing to RTFA.

Re:Here's Another (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30609756)

What about Slashdot? It's been passed around like an intern's ass at the geek compound. Andover.net, va research, va linux, va systems, sourceforge, and now geek.net. And I haven't even mentioned the pt cruiser.

Microsoft (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30609454)

Who trusts these bozos anymore?

HP didn't make the list? (4, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609488)

Odd. They lost the HP way a long time ago.

Re:HP didn't make the list? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609604)

Or if not HP, then at least Compaq.

Re:HP didn't make the list? (0)

SleepingWaterBear (1152169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609862)

Compaq never had a good brand reputation to lose. They've made junk computers since day one. HP at least used to have a reputation as the best maker of printers - they still make good printers, but now I mostly think of them as the makers of the worst computers.

Re:HP didn't make the list? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609912)

Maybe they did, but they're still around selling of printers (and ink) and cameras and (OEM-rebranded) networking equipment and servers and the like. It's hard to argue with $122 billion in market cap.

Harry McCracken Week Continues!! (-1, Offtopic)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609492)

It's All Harry, All The Time!

You Give Us 20 Minutes, We'll Give You Harry!

(Feel free to submit your own slogan)

Re:Harry McCracken Week Continues!! (0, Offtopic)

gregarican (694358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609790)

Looking at his pic [technologizer.com] I think he looks like he's put something over on us. Perhaps all of the recent articles on here, eh?

HP (4, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609522)

When you say HP, the first words that comes to mind is innovation and great engineering. However you look at the past 10 years and HP has done surprisingly little in innovation or great engineering, and has not been creating market changing technology. They've gotten stuck building pcs and selling printer ink because that's the safe way to make money.

I don't know whether it was the compaq acquisition or the carly regime that made HP soft,. Maybe the HP name hasn't fallen and it's not tarnished as much as some of the other names on the list, but the company behind the brand isn't what it used to be.

Re:HP (4, Insightful)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609540)

The first thing that comes to my mind is huge bloated printer drivers that are constantly updating.

Re:HP (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609606)

Agreed but why use their software in the first place? I normally just go for the bare drivers and keep the rest of their crap off a system.

The one thing I can say is that it seems that HP is slowly crawling back out of the hole on SOHO printers. Nothing in the laser arena seemed to be as bad as the HP 1100/1200 printers of the late 90s/early 00s. They seem to have gotten back to some of the basics that made the HP 4 series a great little printer.

Re:HP (2, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609608)

Have you seen their recent blade server technology? While their support is awful, the hardware itself (namely the C-class blades) is pretty impressive.

Re:HP (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609708)

I liked the HP server line, and when I was shopping around last spring for a new server, even got a couple of quotes, but at the end of the day, they just weren't willing to price match Dell. I felt bad, because, support-wise, Dell has gone to shit, too. I also got quotes on some low-end HP workstations (22 workstations) to upgrade some old Dells, and the only way I could get them to compare to similar Vostros was to dump DVD burning and buy smaller LCD monitors. It's like they didn't give a fuck at all. The reseller, a guy who I like a great deal and would have loved to give the purchase to, literally apologized for HP not playing ball.

Re:HP (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609874)

Really?

You're agreeing they've got better hardware and service than Dell, but unless they also only charge what Dell charges, you won't buy their stuff?

So, the value you place on better hardware and service is...$0?

Re:HP (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609980)

I didn't say it was better. I pretty much got an equivalent server, and the workstations came with an actual DVD burner, so not only did I save money, but on the technical end, I broke even or got better.

Re:HP (1)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609886)

Interestingly, most all of their advances in server technology are directly descended from Compaq.

IMO, keeping the ProLiant line was the one single smart thing that HP did after the Compaq acquisition.

Re:HP (5, Insightful)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609670)

I think most people would blame Carly Fiorina. She effectively took HP out of the hands of the engineers who made the company great, and put it squarely into the hands the shareholders who were concerned only with short-term stock price during the dotcom bubble. She spurred a massive shift in culture that killed off the innovation that they were famous for, obliterated morale throughout the company, and generally made it an undesirable place to work. The Compaq acquisition was just one aspect of her failure.

Re:HP (5, Insightful)

japhering (564929) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609954)

I think most people would blame Carly Fiorina. She effectively took HP out of the hands of the engineers who made the company great, and put it squarely into the hands the shareholders who were concerned only with short-term stock price during the dotcom bubble. She spurred a massive shift in culture that killed off the innovation that they were famous for, obliterated morale throughout the company, and generally made it an undesirable place to work. The Compaq acquisition was just one aspect of her failure.

sarcasm on

Isn't that the function of Great CEOs... first drive the company into the ground will getting multi-million dollar bonus for cost reductions and stock value, then sell it to some hedge fund at a profit of 2 or 3x the share price for all share holders, which always includes the hedge fund paying the execs to exercise their options on 10s of millions of shares, thus increasing, yet again, shareholder value. Ah..the bright side of capitalism

sarcasm off

Seriously, so many at the Executive level haven't got a clue about what their company does and to make up for it simply rely on what the bean counters are telling them.

Re:HP (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609832)

The 1st thing that comes to my mind is electronic test equipment (VOMs, signal generators) where HP stands for High Priced

Re:HP (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609894)

The 1st thing that comes to my mind is electronic test equipment (VOMs, signal generators) where HP stands for High Priced

Actually, it now stands for "Agilent".

Re:HP (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610030)

Nevermind HP. How about Xerox. A lot of computing history originated in Xerox Parc, but nowadays you don't hear much from them. Heck, more places I know don't even by photocopiers from them.

A huge source of innovation now essentially peddles middling printers and copier machines...

Re:HP (1)

Tromeo (216969) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610132)

The first things that come to my mind are:

1) RPN calculators (I miss them so)
2) scientific instruments (GC, GC/MS, etc)
3) HP/UX

They don't make the calculators anymore and spun the scientific gear off into Agilent before the dot com bust. HP/UX is still kicking but getting less relevant every year.

Re:HP (2, Funny)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610150)

Two Words: Carly Fiornia


I hope she becomes Gov of California. She'll probably try and merge with Hawaii and then half the state will fall into the ocean.

AOL (1)

Aeros (668253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609526)

Wow AOL sure did screw up alot of good products. Sad

Re:AOL (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609578)

Wow AOL sure did screw up alot of good products. Sad

But coasters! We got lots of coasters (or aerodynamically challenged frisbees) out of the deal. Worth something.

Re:AOL (3, Informative)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609836)

But coasters! We got lots of coasters (or aerodynamically challenged frisbees) out of the deal. Worth something.

I think they may have sent out floppies first, so at least you got a free floppy before.

Re:AOL (1)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610094)

Hmmm... I'm trying to figure out ONE single good product they had to begin with.

Bill

AltaVista? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30609544)

It's not faded yet. At least there I don't get those annoying sorry pages (yet) I get from Google.

Packard Bell for the WIN! (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609554)

I have never seen such a craptastic computer maker than Packard Bell.

Re:Packard Bell for the WIN! (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609662)

Oh yeah....their PCs were horrid. But since my very first computer (as an adult) was a Packard Bell I still get a misty when I think of it.

Re:Packard Bell for the WIN! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30609734)

my very first computer (as an adult) was a Packard Bell I still get a misty when I think of it.

I've always been more of an Officer Jenny guy.

You have to rise to fall (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609714)

The article is about names that were once beloved, that have falled from grace.

From day 1 I challenge you to find anyone who "loved" Packard-Bell.

Re:Packard Bell for the WIN! (1)

Bel Riose (1683532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610038)

As a matter of fact I'm writing this reply on a three year old Packard Bell notebook. As far as I can tell they aren't that bad.

Napster was respected when? (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609558)

Let's be honest here; Napster brought nothing new to the table. They were just known on the same level that Balloon Boy's parents are known. Hadn't it been for being sued into oblivion they would hardly be a footnote in technology.

I also shiver to think that the writer still considers Commodore the same company as they one that died in the 90s. It's the same company by name only. It's not like it did a massive transformation into oblivion like Westinghouse or Polaroid.

Re:Napster was respected when? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609644)

I know people who purchased computers and internet access just so they could download mp3's off Napster.

Napster probably sold more broadband than the Road-Runner.

Re:Napster was respected when? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609692)

This article is about technology giants, not marketing and commercial giants. That's more my point. If it were about marketing and commercial giants that went to crap it would enclude such names as K-Mart... A once vast empire that went to crap because of some little old man named Sam who scooted around the countryside in an old beat up pickup truck selling second rate goods at deep discounts.

totally wrong re sam walmart (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609866)

sam walmart was , love or hate em, a genius he figured out a much cheaper way to store and distribute goods to his stores; th other guys like kmart and sears wouldnt or coulndt copy him the results was that walmart had lower costs, so they could sell for less that they treat their employess like S*** is just a sideline

Re:Napster was respected when? (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609896)

Napster was important because it was the first P2P program. The post-lawsuit napster company wasn't important, but it brought file sharing to the masses and scared the record lables as badly as the VCR scared the movie industry.

Were you asleep then or something?

Re:Napster was respected when? (0)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610080)

Without Napster giving it away for free, Apple band-wagoning and creating iTunes, selling for $1 a pop.

Telcordia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30609572)

they are trying really hard to get on this list

Similarities (1)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609584)

A common current among these formerly great brands is the hiring out of the nameplate. When anyone can pay to slap a Westinghouse, Bell & Howell, or Polaroid name on their product, both licensor and licensee tend to lose credibility.

This is the title (3, Interesting)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609586)

Is it sad, or is it what the company deserved? How many other companies deserve this same fate but are being propped up because "They're too big to fail"?

Re:This is the title (2, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609994)

How about IBM. They should have died years ago, but can still rely on the "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" fanboys. At least they still do some cutting edge R&D though, which is more than I can say for most tech companies.

Diebold? (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609588)

Any such list that doesn't include Diebold is lacking. Once a well respected manufacturer of safes, vaults, and eventually ATM machines, they now are known for creating voting machines that can't count, and in some cases have shown evidence of maliciousness in subverting the democratic process. At worst they are guilty of treason, at best they are guilty of selling useless and harmful junk. At least Microsoft at their worst is entertaining (Bob, Clippy); Diebold is disgusting.

Re:Diebold? (4, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609650)

They're only known for making crappy voting machines on this site.

If some news outlet actually did a hard hitting expose on them, maybe, MAYBE, they'd fall from grace.

Re:Diebold? (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609780)

You are right, most people don't know about Diebold, but then, on the other hand, there is a reason they changed the name of their voting machine division.

Re:Diebold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30610128)

If some news outlet actually did a hard hitting expose on them, maybe, MAYBE, they'd fall from grace.

I'm not sure about a news outlet, but someone has made a documentary. [uncountedthemovie.com]

Old modems (5, Informative)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609616)

3Com/USRobotics should be on this list.

Re:Old modems (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609702)

But hey, at least in the future they'll produce some bad ass psychotic robots.

Re:Old modems (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609772)

Are those really tarnished brands, though? Or just ones that fell by the wayside? I haven't seen their gear in years, but the last I did see was pretty decent.

Re:Old modems (5, Insightful)

Xiaran (836924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609782)

Also Borland. Many programmer out there like me cut their teeth using Borland Pascal/C/C++.... then we went thru a brief optimism with Delphi... then the insane Inprise name change... then a long spiral into insignificance. RIP Borland.

Re:Old modems (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30610008)

Delphi still exists and is now at version D2010. It is still one of the quickest ways to write and deploy Win32 apps.

Radio Shack (4, Insightful)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609646)

Junk products and won't honor extended warranties they sell.

Re:Radio Shack (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609678)

Good one.

In the day, Radio Shack was where you went to get your electronic supplies... resistors, transistors, LEDs, capacitors, etc.

Nobody buys them anymore. Radio Shack turned into a seller of overpriced calculators and cellphones.

Re:Radio Shack (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609764)

Radio Shack buys some of the worst product lines out there.

Went there for a phone recharger since I figure that they are now primarily a cell phone re-seller. They couldn't just sell me a phone car charger, they had instead a phone car charger system. You buy the base charger for about the cost of a regular recharger, then on top of that you then buy the specific adapter for the phone that again costs nearly the same amount as a cheapo car charger on its own.

The management of Radio Shack is on Crack.

The only thing I buy from Radio Shack now is odd ball batteries.

Re:Radio Shack (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609804)

Tandy/Radio Shack is a really sad story. From the late '70s and into the mid-80s they produced a helluva lot of computers, including the Model 100, which was pretty much the first real notebook computer (compare it to the Osbornes, where you literally packed around a monster with a CRT screen). The first *nix machine I ever worked on was a Tandy 6000 with a Motorola 68000 chip, a Z80 I/O copressor, 1mb of RAM, two 20mb hard drives and a five port RS232 card. For the time, the machine kicked some serious ass, and we were using it into the mid-1990s for the multiuser accounting software, using dumb terminals. They, like Commodore, made bad decisions, like sticking with an 8bit CPU for the CoCo3 instead of moving into the 16bit world (except with their PC clones).

Last but not least, Radio Shack made some of the best beginners programming manuals out there. I learned BASIC on a 20k MC-10 (the CoCo cousin that ran a 6803 and had a chiclet keyboard), and even wrote a PacMan-like game using semigraphics mode.

Re:Radio Shack (5, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609976)

You know they've run out of ideas and swirling around the drain when they think it's a good idea to change the name they've been using for 50 years.

Now they want to be called "The Shack".

Re:Radio Shack (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610110)

Yeah... I had one of the Tandy PC-7 [rskey.org] pocket computers (a re-branded copy of the Casio fx-5200P [rskey.org] ).

I wrote programs for that thing... I still remember trying to eke out the most of its limited display and memory (1.5k should be enough for anybody!). It had a single array for its variables, which could be referenced through the variable names A-Z, or by base names followed by array offsets, e.g. B[2] is the 2nd slot beyond B (i.e. the same as D).

Each variable could hold either a number or a maximum of 7-character string value (if you put a $ after the variable name). It also had a special string variable that held something like 26 characters. You could adjust the size of the program/variable allocations... less than 26 variables and Z, Y, X, etc. disappeared; more than 26, and you could only access some of them through Z[n] or similar.

By leaving out spaces that weren’t necessarily required by the BASIC interpreter, you could also save a precious few bytes of space, I discovered... 10PRINT"A"; is two bytes smaller than 10 PRINT "A";.

Re:Radio Shack (4, Interesting)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610022)

I have to agree, pretty sad. I still wander in once or twice a year. Last time I went in I told them I was looking for some solder wick. The salesman went and looked, then told me they didn't have any. I looked myself anyway, and sure enough he was looking straight at it, but it was labeled desoldering braid. I still remember as a kid when I could go in for something like an LED and they would recommend a current limiting resistor. Now, I go in for solder wick and they recommend a new cell phone to go with it, and they couldn't tell a transistor from a resistor if their life depended on it.

Re:Radio Shack (5, Interesting)

tautog (46259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609860)

Funny Radio Shack story - stopped into the local store a few years ago to pick up some random connectors, etc. Before offering to help me find what I needed, was offered a cell phone and then informed that they have to special order everything on my list. I asked them what they DO offer and was basically told cell phones and a few cables.

My response: "So you're essentially a more expensive and less useful version of Best Buy?".

The guy gave me a foul look and I turned on my heel and left.

For the record, I worked at Radio Shack for a year or so way back when. You were required to take and pass training courses (on basic electrical theory and how to identify and match components such as resistors, capactors, etc) and failure to do so meant termination.

I refuse to even enter their stores anymore.

Where would 3d gaming be without... (5, Insightful)

rjejr (921275) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609656)

3dfx?

Re:Where would 3d gaming be without... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609796)

Indeed. I remember back when if you didn't have a Voodoo card then you don't really have a 3d accelerator. You might have a little toy that could run some demos they included in the box, but not really play games. Then the Nvidia Riva128 came out and it was "Ok". "Almost as good". Nobody seriously into gaming were running them but they were a good makeshift solution.

My how the tables have turned in a little over a decade.

Radio Shack? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30609658)

Radio Shack probably should have been on there somewhere too...Way back when, they weren't too bad of a place to get some electronics stuff, back in the Heathkit days... Oh well...

IMAX seems to be slipping also (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609664)

It used to stand unambiguously for large-format filming (49 x 70 mm per frame), projected on large screens (around 53 x 72 ft). There were some variations, like the projection on a concave screen of OmniMAX (now IMAX Dome), but the general brand made sense. IMAX meant high-resolution film, projected on large screens.

But for presumably commercial reasons related to a deal with theatre chain AMC, a large portion of theatres currently advertising "IMAX" films are actually projecting "IMAX Digital", a not-very-closely-related digital projection format. Film v. digital in theory I don't care much about, but the entire brand of IMAX=big is dispensed with with IMAX Digital's much smaller 28x58-ft screens. The digital projectors (dual 2K resolution projectors) also don't seem to be of sufficient resolution to match the quality of a 49x70mm film projector. As a result, it's not clear IMAX means a lot as a brand anymore, since any given theatre might well have a mostly normal sized screen and a not particularly high-resolution projector.

Re:IMAX seems to be slipping also (0, Troll)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609856)

It's funny that you mention the IMAX brand, but didn't mention their biggest screw-up. DVD's. I mean, what were they thinking? Something with barely double the resolution of VHS and less than a quarter of the resolution of standard film.

Re:IMAX seems to be slipping also (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30610036)

The complaint isn't with new technology, it's with the reuse of an established brand on an inferior product.

To use your example, this would be equivalent to re-branding DVD's as Blu-Ray discs. If you purchased a Blu-Ray disc, and it had a DVD-quality film on it, would that tarnish your impression of Blu-Ray?

Tarnished (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609666)

A tarnished brand would be a once-great brand whose public image has faltered. Only some of these brands fit that description. Others (Commodore, Polaroid) still are held in high regard, though they have ceased to be profitable companies.

Brands that should have made the list: Hewlett-Packard, Monster Cables, AOL, Sony. Sony is the opposite of a brand like Polaroid, in that their public image has taken some hits, but they are still doing strong business. Microsoft would have qualified as tarnished two years ago, but they've made quite a comeback.

Re:Tarnished (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609898)

if u think polaroid ok, u not from boston the shafting of the employees that occured in the 90s by the imperial ceo was one of the great untold monstrositys of the decade

Sony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30609686)

Rootkits on audio CDs? Seriously...

Re:Sony? (2, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610052)

There are still legions of 30+ year olds that think Sony means quality, as well as large number of PlayStation Fanboys that either don't know about Sony's anti-consume practices, or don't care. The good news is that they seem to be improving.

Re:Sony? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610082)

Sony's kind of schizophrenic.

They still can build some pretty nice hardware.

And their media division keeps paranoidly figuring out ways to make it useless so you won't use it to steal their shit.

Here's another one not on the list... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30609700)

Slashdot might I propose?

Where's AOL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30609750)

AOL used to be respected back in the early 1990's by more people than you'd think.

In 1993 if you asked a typical AOL user "Do you have Internet access?" they'd say "No, but I have AOL, you should get that too, it's really cool."

I'd just shake my head and walk away.

And even years later, AOL was still respected by a lot of people, I remember back in 2000 or so people would have conversations such as:

Ann: "Why don't you get cable?"

Jenny: "Are you nuts?! You can't beat AOL, I still have 2000 free minutes on my AOL dialup, LOL!"

reverse effect? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609760)

What about the reverse effect of this? What I mean by that, are brands that went from being very poor, bottom dwelling no name brands to being something somewhat respected? Like DIVX, which went from being a much hated, big brotherish "movie rental" company [wikipedia.org] , to a company that makes a widely used video player and format for internet video [divx.com] today. Granted, the **AA still doesn't give them much credit, but consumers seem to like it,. . .

Re:reverse effect? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609838)

Those are two totally seperate entities. If I recall, Divx the format was around before DIVX the scheme to rent you physical product.

Re:reverse effect? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609884)

DIVX is not even the same company as who created DivX. How they weren't sued to oblivion, I have no idea.

To be Fair... (5, Interesting)

clinko (232501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609770)

How about Slashdot?

I know, we're the converted, but think about how Gizmodo and Engadget have changed how "Tech News" is reported.

Slashdot used to be the ONLY good place to get tech news. I remember telling someone "Slashdot is like the 'What's New' of Popular Mechanics, but free!"

I wouldn't even mention slashdot now. I'm not leaving, but I don't see any reason to convert others...

Re:To be Fair... (3, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609910)

I respectfully disagree, for several key reasons:
1. There are still some geek celebrities that pop in here from time to time. If we're talking Star Trek, it's not totally uncommon for CleverNickName to show up. Bruce Perens will not infrequently make an appearance on issues he knows about (or when the article is about something he did). And so forth.

2. There are still some comments that are insightful / interesting / informative that are modded as such. It ain't universal, but it's there. And plus, some of the funny comments really are funny.

3. There's a lot less spam-type articles. Roland and * * Beatles Beatles are both not showing up anymore. There's still the occasional slashvertisement, but they're less common than they used to be.

It's not, and hasn't been for a really long time, just about reporting technology news.

Re:To be Fair... (1)

scatterfingers (1001726) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609982)

You read the discussions on this site (who cares about news, really? and have they ever?) and you can't think of anything to recommend Slashdot? Look, I know this site used to be way cooler back when everything was way cooler, but Slashdot is doing just fine, thanks, and if you want to have a really, really good discussion about anything (including the good old days when Heathkit was the shit and we were all building our own shortwave radios) this is the place to go. Where else? Engaget? Gizmodo? Not even close. Not even in the same universe.

Re:To be Fair... (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610010)

This is not a news site. This is a discussion site. And that's the way I like it.

Re:To be Fair... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610078)

Gizmodo and Engadget have way, way, way too much crap posted. Not that Slashdot doesn't post crap, but the 'signal to noise ratio' is a lot better here.

No Novell? (4, Insightful)

Salo2112 (628590) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609808)

No Novell? They used to own the LAN, and now they feed off MS scraps....

Some substitutions (3, Insightful)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609846)

Napster doesn't belong on that list, because at its height, it was never a great or proud company--just an early one.

Packard-Bell has been a joke for so long that hardly anyone young enough to care remembers when they weren't.

Netscape doesn't really exist. They acknowledge that, but still put it on the list. Same for Netscape, and (sorta) Compuserve.

There are some others I would add to the list, though: Silicon Graphics and Atari deserve top honours. Also, hugely powerful and profitable though it may be, Electronic Arts almost defines "tarnished brand," considering their origins. Also, how about Radio Shack? Can you even get parts there anymore?

Now if we jump into the audio world, there are more than anyone can count. Advent, Sansui, Nakamichi, Hafler, Scott, etc..

Re:Some substitutions (3, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610060)

Good call, I was going to mention Atari. They essentially brought the first generation of videogames to the mass market, and then plummeted into obscurity when the videogame market crashed in the 80s. Incidentally, if you ever see a game with "Atari" on the label, know that it has nothing to do with the original company in any way. The name was the only thing they sold.

I'll throw out another one related to gaming, although it certainly wouldn't belong in the top lists anywhere: Sierra On-line. They made a bunch of magnificent games, such as the King's Quest series - some of the earliest PC games I played. The stories from a long-time developer working there were pretty astounding (in a horrible way), so it was no big surprise to me when they finally closed shop.

adding 13 and 14 to the list.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30609848)

harrymcc and Timothy for submitting then posting this drivel....

How about Tektronix? (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609914)

Is Tektronix still making anything? It used to be THE brand for oscilloscopes, but I haven't heard anything about them since the 7000 series.

Re:How about Tektronix? (1)

Black Cardinal (19996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610138)

Like the other big test & measurement companies, they've lost a lot of their luster, but they still make good oscilloscopes. I bought an MSO 4054 from them two years ago, and have been pretty happy with it. Of course, it's more of a "disposable" scope than the classic analog scopes were.

digital (5, Insightful)

tengu1sd (797240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609926)

Digital Equipment Corp, DEC, digital These folks started making test equipment, rivaled IBM when the PDP and VAX systems roamed the data centers. Their customer support was a pleasure to deal with. The only time a DEC field service engineer ever told me they didn't have a part in town, he told me it was coming in on a 2:00 pm flight and he'd be at my door by 3:00. A series of management by accountants slowly dissolved the company into take over bait. Despite making quality products they faded away. The low bidder trumps all.

Re:digital and a frontrunner for 2010 (1)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610016)

Mod Points if I had em.

They mentioned altavista though.

How about what will be happening to SUN once the Oracle deal is "approved"

Re:digital (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30610058)

Digital Equipment Corp, DEC, digital These folks started making test equipment, rivaled IBM when the PDP and VAX systems roamed the data centers. Their customer support was a pleasure to deal with. The only time a DEC field service engineer ever told me they didn't have a part in town, he told me it was coming in on a 2:00 pm flight and he'd be at my door by 3:00. A series of management by accountants slowly dissolved the company into take over bait. Despite making quality products they faded away. The low bidder trumps all.

Ever accidentally or intentionally, pull the console cable on a PDP? It would immediately crash the machine. Great machine otherwise.

Easy to summarize. (4, Interesting)

Xeno man (1614779) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609936)

I'd say about half of the companies on the list were failures due to lack of vision and avoidance on making changes. If they weren't so busy trying to squeeze every buck out of their old assets and actually invested in new tech, they would still be around as the giants they once were. Now that's not true for all of them Companies like Heathkit and Napster were victims of the times. Not all markets last forever.

What about the Acme Buggy Whip Company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30610000)

Why aren't they on the list too?

Adobe (4, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610074)

Might not quite be there yet, but it's well on its way.

From the abominable performance/security of the Flash player to the ever-increasing bloat of Photoshop, Adobe's users are pretty much fed up with the company.

At one point, it would have been heresy to criticize Photoshop. Now the design community is practically screaming for a replacement. (It's twice as bad if you're a mac user. Nobody's quite sure what prompted the Apple/Adobe divorce, but it's been ugly [tumblr.com] )

Silicon Graphics (5, Insightful)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610076)

SGI should be on that list. It was amazing to watch their death spiral in the mid-late 90s. That brand is way more tarnished than Napster (which didn't have much of a brand to tarnish).

Polaroid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30610088)

Well, I like my Polaroid video camera. Just $149.00, it shoots HD tv, and has SD card recording - up to 10 hours.

Oh, oh... I've got one!!! (0, Redundant)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30610124)

How about this one: Slashdot!!!

Remember when they used to give us the news ONCE, BEFORE everyone else did?

Bill
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