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Is the Quick Death of Failed Tech Products a Good Thing?

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the first-impressions-are-everything dept.

Handhelds 181

Joining the ranks of accepted submitters, HumanEmulator writes "The NY Times reports on how the Hollywood summer-movie business model is being applied to tech products: 'Every release needs to be a blockbuster, and the only measure of success is the opening-weekend gross. There is little to no room for the sleeper indie hit that builds good word of mouth to become a solid performer over time.' New products are being pulled from shelves only weeks after a lackluster release. What if the TouchPad, the Microsoft Kin, or even Google Wave had had more time on the market? Is this blockbuster-or-bust model a good thing for consumers, or for the industry in general?"

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Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37205414)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Golden Girls! (0)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#37205806)

Um... a pal and a confidant.

confidant (knf-dnt, -dänt, knf-dnt, -dänt)
n.
1. Someone to whom secrets or private matters are confided.
2. An intimate friend.

Re:Golden Girls! (0)

networkBoy (774728) | about 3 years ago | (#37206494)

I don't know which is funnier, if that was a typo that you corrected, or if that was a really clever troll and caught you.
Either way that was very entertaining.

Thanks guys,
-nB

Re:Golden Girls! (0)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | about 3 years ago | (#37205982)

Bea Arthur in space. That's just crazy enough to work.

Re:Golden Girls! (0)

Cryacin (657549) | about 3 years ago | (#37207240)

She's tall enough.

Re:Golden Girls! (0)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 3 years ago | (#37207228)

Will someone please turn off the Wild Wasteland trait? KTHX.

It's an investment strategy (5, Informative)

plover (150551) | about 3 years ago | (#37205426)

I knew a guy who started .com companies like popcorn. His business plan was the same for all of them: be successful enough until someone bigger buys you out. His goal was to work for a year at trying to get a thing going, then sell it for a couple million dollars for that short duration that it would be hot. Most of these things were very transient. They were unknown a month ago, on the rise a week ago, popular today, and by next month they probably wouldn't even be a memory.

I think these big companies learned their lessons. They tried over and over to pump money into these little concepts that never had longevity as a part of their plans. They bled red ink.

So if they don't see that initial wave, they're cutting the bleeding off now before they pump additional useless money into a concept that never will make it. It makes financial sense.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 years ago | (#37205504)

Either I don't understand you, or that doesn't make any sense.

Companies cut off product that don't have immediate success because products that have immediate success tend to have no longevity?

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

m50d (797211) | about 3 years ago | (#37205568)

Because products *in general* tend to have no longevity, as far as they're concerned.

dotcoms have taught us that however big a product is right now, it could be dead in two years. Companies deduce from this that future value is worth nothing.

Re:It's an investment strategy (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37205824)

Companies deduce from this that future value [of a product] is worth nothing.

So why do they keep pushing for ever-longer terms for the copyright in a product if the value of that copyright is nothing?

Re:It's an investment strategy (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 3 years ago | (#37206012)

That's easy - in case someone else actually does make it into something useful and long-lived. Nobody wanted that generic photo of Obama as candidate until some guy ran it through a photoshop filter, slathering it in red and blue colors... all the sudden it became a hot property. The original photographer, now seeing that there's a chance to make some dosh off of his work, immediately launched a lawsuit.

That said, I think you're conflating creative products (movies, songs, books, etc) with physical products, which generally do not have a copyright. OTOH, they have patents, which, as we've seen lately, can be damned profitable in themselves, even if the original product that used them never really went anywhere.

Re:It's an investment strategy (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37206118)

That's easy - in case someone else actually does make it into something useful and long-lived.

Except I've seen that some companies are often more willing to decline a given use entirely than to offer a licensing arrangement.

I think you're conflating creative products (movies, songs, books, etc) with physical products, which generally do not have a copyright.

Creative products are often sold fixed in a physical product (DVD, CD, printed book, etc).

Re:It's an investment strategy (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37206222)

"That's easy - I'm wrong"

there, fixed it for you.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

anyGould (1295481) | about 3 years ago | (#37206084)

Companies deduce from this that future value [of a product] is worth nothing.

So why do they keep pushing for ever-longer terms for the copyright in a product if the value of that copyright is nothing?

Because the copyright is more valuable than the product itself. No-one will buy the product, but the copyright prevents anyone else from doing it either.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

m50d (797211) | about 3 years ago | (#37206994)

It's mostly Disney doing that, and they know they can make money off their back catalogue (partly because they're selling to children and there's always a new generation of those). More generally, a lot more people are willing to buy content from e.g. the '80s, than want products from then.

Re:It's an investment strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37206976)

Companies deduce from this that future value is worth nothing

Companies don't need to deduce this -- it's built into the DNA of the corporate model.

Companies with shareholders are legally required to maximise short term shareholder value. This means that long term thinking is becoming less and less important to the decision makers, leading to the whole exonomy becoming very impatient with failure.

It's getting to the point where no-one is willing to spend money now unless they're virtually guaranteed to realise a return on the investment within a year or two. In the fast-moving tech industries it's even shorter. That's why these products are being pulled so quickly.

Re:It's an investment strategy (0)

Moryath (553296) | about 3 years ago | (#37207038)

No, dotcoms have taught us that products designed to be a fucking flash in the pan will - surprise surprise - be a goddamn flash in the pan.

PHBs and cro-magnon MBA types wrongly have decided that this applies to every product, whether designed well or not. You know the type I speak of: the ones who don't know what all this "fire" stuff is really good for and are busy focus-group testing the wheel to figure out how many corners it should have and whether it should come in black, brown, white or mauve.

The sort of morons who in the entertainment industry, destroy smart and intelligent shows like Futurama, Firefly, Dresden Files, and Eureka while simultaneously letting Tyler Perry make movie after movie and greenlighting the latest piece of shit "ow my balls" level reality show or sitcom about rednecks fucking their sisters while getting into a love triangle with the neighbor's dog. ... crap. I just gave the Fox producers another show idea didn't I?

Re:It's an investment strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37207342)

PHBs and cro-magnon MBA types wrongly have decided that this applies to every product, whether designed well or not. You know the type I speak of: the ones who don't know what all this "fire" stuff is really good for and are busy focus-group testing the wheel to figure out how many corners it should have and whether it should come in black, brown, white or mauve.

I think you'd get a kick out of this video for MC Frontalot: First World Problem [youtube.com] . Features cro-magnons, a dot-commer, and what should happen in pretty much the exact scenario you describe.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

Moryath (553296) | about 3 years ago | (#37207814)

Well I was somewhat referencing the Hitchhiker's Guide radioplays, but they are a tad obscure...

Re:It's an investment strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37207702)

You know the type I speak of: the ones who don't know what all this "fire" stuff is really good...

Of course. Everyone knows we need to determine if people want fire that can be nasally fitted before it's taken into production, and then it's marketing's juob to get it sold no matter how useless it is.

Re:It's an investment strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37205636)

No.

The post says that they won't invest in something without immediate success because of lessons learned that showed little or no ROI in longevity.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37206632)

Which is only the case if you've got incompetent MBAs running the place. But I repeat myself, only an MBA would think that way, which is why if I ever own a company I'm not going to be hiring any of those incompetent jack asses to help manage the place.

Tech products are a bit tricky because often times they're completely useless if they don't hit critical mass, cue cat anybody? However, those sorts of products are generally easily spotted, for things that don't depend upon having a large install base to function there's no particular reason to pull the plug so quickly.

That being said, for things like MS' Kin which only sold about 5k units, if that's all you're managing to sell in even a week end, especially following an ad blitz, it's probably best not to waste money on something that's failed. Best to just take the lessons learned and try again.

Re:It's an investment strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37205572)

Yeah, and there were guys who said that the Gasoline automobile would never catch on, too noisy, to gimicky and that gasoline stuff was down right explosive. They were just plain dangerous.

It took a few years and some smart investment but the dang thing finally caught on.

Re:It's an investment strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37205644)

Yes, because *one* example succeeded, automatically all idiotic schemes will. Got it!

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

TWX (665546) | about 3 years ago | (#37205954)

Yes, because *one* example succeeded, automatically all idiotic schemes will. Got it!

No, but some "idiotic schemes" will succeed, even if the vast majority don't. Look at the personal computer itself. In the first hobbyist, non-kit computers came out in the mid seventies, and various other hobbyists worked on their own over the years. Xerox got interested but not enough to release a finished product, and Apple, IBM, and Microsoft all got involved. IBM bowed out, Apple almost died several times, and Microsoft became the Evil Empire, but the PC ultimately took off despite all of the suits who claimed no one would ever want one and there would be no use for them.

Now, it'll be up to history to decide how much we've wasted versus gained by the widespread adoption of the PC, but sometimes cockamamie ideas will take off and will cause revolution.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 3 years ago | (#37207210)

But the article is not about concepts or classes of products, it is about individual products. The people who said those things about the early automobiles were correct - no matter how many years those particular cars stayed on the market, no-one was going to buy them. People came out with DIFFERENT products that addressed those issues, then the idea caught on.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#37205754)

Ha, I remember back in 2000, before the first internet bubble burst, Leo Laporte was talking about Dialpad [wikipedia.org] on Screensavers. When he explained how it gave long distance calling away for free, Patrick Norton asked him how they make money. Laporte laughed and said "Oh, nothing on the internet actually makes *real* money." That pretty much sums up the first internet bubble in my memory. You make your millions from investors and your IPO, then worry about the actual business model later.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | about 3 years ago | (#37205848)

It's also the second one except that investors know how to cash in (advertising). Still, the creators aren't thinking in terms of real money though, just cool ideas that attract a userbase. The money should sort itself out if there is a userbase that is significant.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37206670)

And at some point it's going to hurt folks with a real idea. I remember being burned by iwantsandy, I can understand needing to find revenue sources to pay for the cost of providing the service, but not giving the community a chance to pay or even giving any indication that he was about to fold operations was damaging to future attempts at doing that sort of thing. What's worse is that at the time of notice there wasn't an export utility nor were there any promises of one until folks raised a stink about it.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 3 years ago | (#37207196)

Not to mention at some point there will be so many large sites out there that it will be hard to get enough of an audience to use a advertising revenue model. There is only so much marketing money out there and it is by definition a faction of companies budget.In my mind if your product provides real value than people should be spending real money on it even if it is larger than their marketing budget.

Back to physical products: quick death not so sure. Processes to build them could be used elsewhere and companies need to be able to keep things around long enough to find a product that can use the components profitably without giving up on each innovation as soon as it isn't an immediate success. Hence the need for patients.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#37206960)

it's throwing 1 billllliiiiiooon dollars into something that was done with couple of million a decade ago. you start going through the numbers in excel and realize you've been had and you paid many billions for linux with sdl.

add to that a pre-built support organization, that you built needed you it or not because it was in the manual, also having acquired a very, very expensive organization to go with that linux with sdl and couple of default apps. that's what makes sleeper hits impossible, hard to justify the on-going expenses and scaling down something that's "absolutely necessary" is pretty hard.

Re:It's an investment strategy (1)

Kashgarinn (1036758) | about 3 years ago | (#37207256)

Investment strategy?

Sounds to me more of an investment trap. i.e. you try and blow things out of proportion to try and gain more money until it's time to run off with the cash.

Good things start from evolving from small beginnings as a good basic idea, that's the true start of great things.

Fishing. (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#37205532)

When you go fishing, you don't expect to catch 'em all. So what, and what is this silly article doing on Slashdot?

The more options proffered, the more choice consumers can select from, and the more failed products those who like pottering with such things can exploit.

No problem.

Re:Fishing. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37205926)

Did you read the article? You're responding to things that weren't said and not responding to the things that were. The problem isn't that some things fail (and frankly, it's asinine to even pretend you thought someone would say that). The problem is that anything that doesn't succeed both hugely AND IMMEDIATELY gets thrown away, which prevents useful and valuable things that don't catch fire immediately from building an audience.

Seriously Slashdotters, it's okay if you don't want to read every article, but don't post if you can't be bothered to read.

Re:Fishing. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37206690)

Sounds like the same geniuses that run Fox.

Interoperability effects (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37206014)

There are cases where choice isn't the best, such as where the value of a good or service lies in its interoperability. Some products are platforms that are valuable for the variety of complementary goods that can be used with them, such as personal computer operating systems and video game consoles. Other products are valuable for network effects that depend on the number of people whom you can reach using them, such as telephony, e-mail, and Internet social networking sites. A failed product will lack those valuable qualities. For example, when both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc were available, some end users waited until all six MPAA studios supported one format before adopting it themselves.

Pokemon (2)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 3 years ago | (#37206046)

As someone from the pokemon generation, I actually do expect to catch 'em all.

Re:Fishing. (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 3 years ago | (#37206074)

Well, since you seem to want a fishing analogy, not many anglers just drop the lure into the water and reel in if there's no immediate hit. (Discounting working a lure that needs to be reeled in just to play it. I'm thinking like fly fishers or maybe good ol' fashion bobber and sinker fishing.)

Anyway, some of these product introductions is like making one cast and then giving up on the entire pond after 15 seconds.

Re:Fishing. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37206978)

Well, since you seem to want a fishing analogy, not many anglers just drop the lure into the water and reel in if there's no immediate hit.

They would if it cost them $1.5m a minute. (Microsoft, HP etc.) Of course if it's only costing you $10 an hour, then you can afford to relax. (Small startups.)

Re:Fishing. (1)

c (8461) | about 3 years ago | (#37206996)

> Anyway, some of these product introductions is like making one cast
> and then giving up on the entire pond after 15 seconds.

If the guy in the boat next to you is using what looks like the same line, lure, bait, and boat and is pulling in 309 fish per second, it not actually be the dumbest strategy.

Re:Fishing. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#37207080)

you got it wrong - this leads to _LESS_ consumer choice. the products are on the market for a short while and if you're not buying in that while then you can't buy it ever. want a nice clamshell linux pda? should have bought when sharp was selling them.

wanted a newton style pda in 2003? sorry no go.
want a really good force feedback joystick? well fuck, ms made them in late '90s - now they'll sell you a xbox pad.

want a pepperpad? better be ready to hunt ebay or some such and have lot's of luck. and still, the cpu will be outdated. that's what you get with these short product runs, if you want a split keyboard(on sides of screen) tablet now YOU CAN'T GET IT.

Discount bin (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37205592)

It would be good to be able to get those products even after they are pulled off the shelves so to speak, get them at a discount if possible. Yes, it is better to have quick turn over because this means more products are created and more things are tried. If something is not selling well, then maybe it's not exactly the product that people are looking for and maybe another product is needed that is similar and yet different, better in some way.

Rick Perry Is An Idiot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37205668)

What would I do without Rick Perry to provide me with a nonstop source of featherbrained manuscripts to complain about? In the text that follows, when I quote from Perry, I will use the word "excrement" in place of another word which is now apparently permitted in general circulation publications and which I have edited out. He will probably throw another hissy fit if we don't let him treat people's bona fide personal devastation as bathos. At least putting up with another Rick Perry hissy fit is easier than convincing Perry's intimates that what Perry is doing is not an innocent, recreational sort of thing. It is a criminal activity, it is an immoral activity, it is a socially destructive activity, and it is a profoundly incorrigible activity. He wants to remake the world to suit his own hectoring needs. But what if the tables were turned? How would Perry like that?

We must examine the social and cultural conditions that lead Perry to bombard us with an endless array of hate literature if we are ever to tell you a little bit about Perry and his bitter snow jobs. Yes, this is a bold, audacious, even unprecedented undertaking. Yes, it lacks any realistic guarantee of success. However, it is an undertaking that we must sincerely pursue because I like to say that facts and their accuracy make a story, not the overdramatization of whatever Perry dreams up. He never directly acknowledges such truisms but instead tries to turn them around to make it sound like I'm saying that the Universe belongs to him by right. I guess that version better fits his style—or should I say, "agenda"?

Perry is a crafty sectarian. I'm being super-extra nice when I say that. If I weren't so polite I instead would have stated that Perry wants to lower this country's moral tone and depreciate its commercial integrity. Faugh.

The first casualty of Perry's precepts is justice. As long as I live, I will be shouting this truth from rooftops and doing everything I can to strip the unjust power from those who seek power over others and over nature. I wonder if Perry really believes the things he says. He knows they're not true, doesn't he? In other words, is it really Perry's impression that the sky is falling? A complete answer to that question would take more space than I can afford, so I'll have to give you a simplified answer. For starters, my general thesis is that he accuses me of being dictatorial whenever I state that there is blood on his hands. All right, I'll admit that I have a sharp tongue and sometimes write with a bit of a poison pen, but the fact remains that not only does Perry create a desolation and call it peace, but he then commands his bootlickers, "Go, and do thou likewise." I'll talk a lot more about that later, but first let me finish my general thesis: He maintains that undiscoverable, unmeasurable, magical forces from another plane of existence have given him superhuman wisdom. This is complete—or at least, incomplete—baloney. For instance, Perry fails to mention that his prevarications are like an enormous demagogism-spewing machine. We must begin dismantling that structure. We must put a monkey wrench in its gears. And we must fight on the battleground of ideas for our inalienable individual rights because I have reason to believe that Perry is about to eviscerate every bit of social progress of the past century. I pray that I'm wrong, of course, because the outcome could be devastating. Nevertheless, the indications are there that it may seem at first that this is yet to be comprehended by most judgmental underachievers. When we descend to details, however, we see that he should think about how his ballyhoos lead duplicitous, surly nonentities to stir up class hatred. If Perry doesn't want to think that hard, perhaps he should just keep quiet.

Perry pretends to have the solution for everything. In reality, he creates more problems for the rest of us to solve. Consider, for example, how someone has been giving Perry's brain a very thorough washing, and now Perry is trying to do the same to us. There's something I've observed about him. Namely, he may not know how to spell "deintellectualization", but he truly knows how to sell us fibs and fear mixed with a generous dollop of nepotism. I've further observed that if Perry's thinking were cerebral rather than glandular, he wouldn't consider it such a good idea to pass off all sorts of purblind and obviously insensate stuff on others as a so-called "inner experience".

Unless we break the neck of Perry's policy of authoritarianism once and for all, our whole social structure will gradually disintegrate and crumble into ruins. Although this letter provides irrefutable proof that Perry's actions are so exact in their scheme, so comprehensive in their scope, that grotty, delusional bludgers have adopted and embraced them verbatim ac litteratim, I know that he will still accuse me of lying. I suppose that's okay as long as I can convince you, the reader, that it is mathematically provable that in order to maintain harmony with my conscience I must take steps toward creating an inclusive society free of attitudinal barriers. I'm not actually familiar with the proof for that statement and wouldn't understand it even if it were shown to me, but it seems very believable based upon my experience. What's also quite believable is that teenagers who want to shock their parents sometimes maintain—with a straight face—that we'll be moved by some heartfelt words on the glories of alcoholism. Fortunately, most parents don't fall for this fraud because they know that Perry claims that space gods arriving in flying saucers will save humanity from self-destruction. Well, I beg to differ.

Perry divides the organization of his grotesque words into two halves that, apparently separate from one another, in truth, form an inseparable whole. The first half seeks to cause the destruction of human ambition and joy, while the second half is yet another flagitious blend of stupid favoritism and acrimonious serfism. He can blame me for the influx of unregenerate paper-pushers if it makes him feel better but it won't help his cause any. He should practice what he preaches. History offers innumerable examples for the truth of this assertion.

I am not fooled by Perry's egocentric and eristic rhetoric. I therefore gladly accept the responsibility of notifying others that some of us have an opportunity to come in contact with self-righteous moochers on a regular basis at work or in school. We, therefore, may be able to gain some insight into the way they think, into their values; we may be able to understand why they want to declare a national emergency, round up everyone who disagrees with Perry, and put them in concentration camps. I'm no expert but it seems to me that he is not interested in what is true and what is false or in what is good and what is evil. In fact, those distinctions have no meaning to him whatsoever. The only thing that has any meaning to Perry is frotteurism. Why? Let me answer from my own personal perspective: As many of you know, I realized a long time ago that Perry is guilty of at least one criminal offense. In addition, he frequently exhibits less formal criminal behavior such as deliberate and even gleeful cruelty, explosive behavior, and a burning desire to eliminate the plebiscitary mechanisms that ensure a free and democratic society.

If Perry believes that he is the way, the truth, and the light, then it's obvious why he thinks that we should cast our lots with the most self-satisfied whiners you'll ever see. Chthonic imperialism and Perry's maneuvers are one and the same. Or, to express that sentiment without all of the emotionally charged lingo, I want to make this clear so that those who do not understand deeper messages embedded within sarcastic irony—and you know who I'm referring to—can process my point. Perry's statements such as "Perry's mistakes are always someone else's fault" indicate that we're not all looking at the same set of facts. Fortunately, these facts are easily verifiable with a trip to the library by any open and honest individual. Perry has a staggering number of jackbooted cat's-paws. One way to lower their numbers, if not eradicate them entirely, is simple. We just inform them that Perry is the picture of the insane person on the street, babbling to a tree, a wall, or a cloud, which cannot and does not respond to his casus belli.

Perry craves more power. I say we should give him more power—preferably, 10,000 volts of it. Let's play a little game. Deduct one point from your I.Q. if you fell for his ridiculous claim that he can ignore rules, laws, and protocol without repercussion. Deduct another point if you failed to notice that if Perry's attempts to tear down everything that can possibly be regarded as a support of cultural elevation have spurred us to give him condign punishment, then Perry may have accomplished a useful thing. There is one final irony to my story. The extent of collaboration between Rick Perry and covinous sluggards is currently unknown but presumably significant.

Re:Rick Perry Is An Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37206224)

At No point in that rambling incohernet response, did you approach anything nearing a rational thought. Everyone here is now dumber for having read it. Therefore, I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

Re:Rick Perry Is An Idiot (1)

desdinova 216 (2000908) | about 3 years ago | (#37206856)

Billy Madison FTW!

a good thing for, banks... (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 3 years ago | (#37205680)

The blockbuster-or-bust model is a good thing for banks, but a catastrophy for the producing tech industry in general.

Product cycles have become too short for companies to financial absorb the eventual yet short-lived dips in sales.

Companies should only be required to report per 12 months.

Wall Street should not be allowed to do more than 6 transactions per company and 24h.

Re:a good thing for, banks... (1)

jonhorvath (934037) | about 3 years ago | (#37207786)

Reducing the number of time a company report their finances would only hurt the individual investor. Without insider information, how would I know if a company was in dire straights? Regular public updates on a company's performance helps to level the investment playing field.

There were wide swings in the stock market before computer based trading algorithms (ex. Crash of 1929). Reducing transactions probably would not make any changes to our current stock market volatility.

There can be several reasons why a product doesn't (1)

vkt-tje (259058) | about 3 years ago | (#37205740)

There can be several reasons why a product doesn't sell.
One of the possible reasons is that the product in question is crap.
In that case the manufacturer will have learned all there is to learn from their screw-up in a very short time. It is then no problem that the product gets pulled rather soon.

A second possibility is that the competition is better and/or cheaper. Also in that case the manufacturer can take their expensive/under-performing product rapidly off the market.

But in many cases the reason that a product doesn't not sell immediately is simply that the consumers don't know it exists. Established names like Apple, and Microsoft can bring out a product and even get coverage on the evening news. Others simply don't get that exposure to the masses. Then it is normal that a product doesn't take of immediately.
The problem is that while a product is on the shelf, competing products are coming out. Since they are newer, there is a large possibility that they will be better or cheaper, pushing the "old" product towards one of the categories described above...

Re:There can be several reasons why a product does (1)

shugah (881805) | about 3 years ago | (#37206398)

In two of the cases cited: HP Touchpad and Microsoft Kin, they were "me too" products that offered nothing new, compelling or innovative and were entered into markets that had dominant players with better products. It is also important to note that all three of these products relied on network externalities - a certain critical mass of users (in the case of Google Wave and Kin phones) or developers in the case of the HP Touchpad. All three were late entries into the market - MS Kin phone started life as Danger Inc's "Sidekick" phone, but had to be converted from a Java based software stack to Windows CE / .Net which significantly delayed its entry to the market.

Google Wave - I'm just not sure where it fit in the Google universe. Cloud based groupware / team collaboration? CMS portal? Social networking?

Well, then... (1)

vlpronj (1345627) | about 3 years ago | (#37205758)

"What if the TouchPad, the Microsoft Kin, or even Google Wave had had more time on the market" Then maybe they would have been as successful as the Zune?

Re:Well, then... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 3 years ago | (#37206364)

Seriously. Crap is crap.

Sometimes it takes the product being on the market, and getting real feedback, before the CEO/company says whoops, and pulls it. The salesguys always lie.

And it feels like companies release a lot more crap these days than they used to. Hence more failures.

the good of the few (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 3 years ago | (#37205794)

The only people this is good for are the folks who swept into Best Buy and bought up a bunch of $99 Touchpads to sell for $250 on eBay.

Depends (2)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about 3 years ago | (#37205802)

If there was a multi-multi-million dollar ad campaign and there's no interest, you at least need to regroup.

Winners never quit and quitters never win, but if you neither quit nor win you are just a fool.

It works because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37205852)

This model is so popular because of the money gain that happens in such a short amount of time, investors love it. Should you actually run a proper company, creating software, tech, blah blah blah and you actually kept giving out updates, providing support and such that you make a constant profit of let say 4 mill a year.

You may be doing good, but investors don't like this at all. The stock price stays the same, where do they make there money?

Re:It works because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37206658)

Dividends are the best friend of a wise investor.

What about your reputation thereafter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37205860)

The problem with pulling the plug quickly on a newly released device, is that you're turning off all those who bought your product, and now have a 1 month old device that is no longer supported. You can garantee these people will never return to you as customers, as it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. This is what happened to Sega - after releasing and shutting down the Sega Saturn, almost nobody of those Sega loyals were interested in buying the Dreamcast. They had gotten screwed once already. Turns out, Sega pulled the plug early on the Dreamcast too, guaranteeing that not a single person would buy another console from them, had they tried to release something else.

Re:What about your reputation thereafter? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#37206212)

No loss unless you cling to your company name. For each new product, creating a new shell company is trivial.

All is branding.

Re:What about your reputation thereafter? (1)

hjf (703092) | about 3 years ago | (#37207298)

No loss unless you cling to your company name. For each new product, creating a new shell company is trivial.

All is branding.

Sony and all its line of failures would like to disagree with you.

DAT, MiniDisc and Betamax come to mind. While they never really caught in the mainstream market, some gained some sort of popularity in "niche" markets. DAT is the interesting example: it was developed to replace the Cassette but was never popular in home environments, but it found a loyal user base in the semi-pro (and pro) community, since it let you have a (rather) portable unit with CD-quality digital audio.

MD is weird too. I only knew 1 person who used MD, and this was in the pre-MP3 times (I was the only freak in town with a Diamond Rio), about 2000-2001 when Sony started bundling the MD deck with the GRX line of audio systems. This guy liked it so he got the MD walkman. In Japan, the MD seemed to be very popular. Japan is weird... CD-R wasn't as big there as MO is. Sony still made TAPE Walkmans (!) until last year, long, long after the rest of the world gave up on tapes.

Japanese companies seem to support their products in japan for much longer. Maybe the japanese law requires it? As soon as the xbox 360 came out, Microsoft slashed the xbox AND new game licenses. They moved everything to the 360. Sony still makes the PS2 and licenses new games, years after the PS3 came into the market. Maybe Sega or some subsidiary is still supporting the Dreamcast over there?. They released the SNES in '90 in japan and discontinued it on '03 (91 to 99 for USA). They also have very obscure, rare, japan-only stuff (Nintendo-licensed FLASH cartridges you can download games to, https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Nintendo_Power_(cartridge) [wikimedia.org] )

Mitsubishi is the example of one of those japanese "conglomerates" that use the same brand for everything from pencils to cars. They don't create shell companies.

Re:What about your reputation thereafter? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37206570)

and yet apple does that with every single product and people still line up before they can buy

Re:What about your reputation thereafter? (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 3 years ago | (#37207454)

You sure about that? Which Apple product was discontinued without support after only one month?

Depends on the brand... (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 3 years ago | (#37205878)

This is really a marketing decision based on the strength of the brand of the company offering the product.

A small company without a well-known brand may be more likely to keep a losing product alive (assuming it has other revenue streams) because there is no master brand to damage.

However, a "big name" company like Apple, HP or Microsoft can't afford to have losers in their portfolio because those technologies hurt the master brand. So...they yank badly received tech quickly. This happens in plenty of other consumer-facing industries too: think of "New Coke", the "Azteca" car, Zest trying to sell bath poufs to men, etc.

(Things sometimes work a little differently in business-to-business tech markets, BTW. I've seen tech products languish there for years before getting the ax due to long sales cycles or a cross-selling strategy that takes a while to test out.)

Re:Depends on the brand... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37206288)

It sounds like the companies need to have "Farm brands" in the same way that sports teams have "Farm Teams" where potential talent can practice and be evaluated.

Either by creating one de novo, or by using an aquisition's brand(the way HP uses 'Compaq' as a codeword for 'cheap consumer shit', while the decent stuff is "HP" or "HP-Compaq", depending on the product's history), products could be tried and eventually absorbed into the mothership if sufficiently successful, kept under the "farm brand" if unexciting but not money-losing, and cut loose to die if they can't hack it.

This is what the music industry has become... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37205890)

I've heard more than one major artist from times past remark that they would have never made it in today's climate because no one will invest in "unrealized potential". Some of the best selling albums of all time came after a few modest selling ones.

Re:This is what the music industry has become... (1)

cashman73 (855518) | about 3 years ago | (#37206940)

Which brings us to the next part of the model. After you do develop an artist's material and it becomes popular, sue all the consumers who download said music over the Internet to make a profit. Companies do this, too. Their called "patent trolls".

Products need more time.... (2)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | about 3 years ago | (#37205894)

48-49 days does NOT make a developer community. The Kin was an exception as there was no development community but HP did WebOS no favors. People aren't going to buy the damn thing if they can't get or program apps. This all started when Palm was REALLY LATE with the SDK. HP did it no favors, but it was right on the cusp of something that could have been cool.

Leo Apotheker was and IS the WRONG person to lead HP. HP hasn't ever been about the high end servers for years. Sure, people bough Superdomes but IBM had far eclipsed HP in the amount of servers it sold. Sun did too (but still failed). Leo is going down the wrong path. HP made great calculators, printers and computers and was KNOWN for them. They made servers too but when was the last time you heard them talk about that? They had HPUX and Tru64. Did nothing with either.

This is a sad sad road that HP went down and it might ultimately kill HP.

Re:Products need more time.... (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about 3 years ago | (#37206692)

The only time I hear about HP servers is when our corporate bookkeeping system is "experiencing technical difficulties" and "we are working with the HP technicians to resolve the issue".

An excellent way to ensure poor sales (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 3 years ago | (#37205920)

New products are being pulled from shelves only weeks after a lackluster release

So now people will think: I'm not going to buy this new product in case they pull it, and I can't get support any more - or a software update - or a bug-fix.

Once this becomes the established pattern, everyone will defer their purchases until at least version 2 (as most wise buyers do these days, anyway) just to see if the product has got a future. If products get pulled because nobody buys them - because they're all waiting to see if anyone *else* buys it, then the whole industry is in a downward spiral. The only way out would be to start applying serious bribes to reviewrs, if that doesn't already happen.

Re:An excellent way to ensure poor sales (1)

seifried (12921) | about 3 years ago | (#37206346)

This is one of the reasons I go with Apple for my phone/tablet, on the phone side they have consistently supported phones for 3 or more years and on the tablet side it looks like it will be similar.

Re:An excellent way to ensure poor sales (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 3 years ago | (#37206804)

on the phone side they have consistently supported phones for 3 or more years

Though they were still selling the iphone 3g well into 2010 - only to "desupport" it when ios 4.3 came out less than a year later. So the trick seems to be: choose products that look like success and THEN buy them ASAP, as they can have a very, very short supported life if you leave it too long.

Re:An excellent way to ensure poor sales (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 3 years ago | (#37206980)

There's a similar pattern that plays out in the comics industry. Readers are reluctant to try a new series (meaning genuinely new series, not just another new title starring the X-Men or Batman) because they aren't sure whether it'll last long enough to tell the story the writer is setting out to tell. So they wait, perhaps for a collected edition of the first several monthlies into a paperback, which indicates that the publisher is committed to it. But because they're not buying the monthlies, the sales on them suck, so the publisher gets cold feet and the series gets cancelled. The readers don't trust the publishers and the publishers don't trust the readers, and the result is a lot of unfinished - or at least unnecessarily discontinued - stories.

Bad products (2)

nine-times (778537) | about 3 years ago | (#37205950)

The problem with the examples given (TouchPad, the Microsoft Kin, and Google Wave) is that they were ultimately not great products. Not only should they have been yanked, but they really shouldn't have been offered in the first place. I say that not having actually used the TouchPad, but having had experience with WebOS and being generally unimpressed.

And... well... it's not necessarily so much that they're bad products, but that they're marketed poorly. Most of you will misunderstand and think that I mean that they weren't advertised well, but marketing is a different thing. A large part of marketing is determining that there is a market, determining what that market wants/needs, and then building/adjusting a product to meet those wants/needs. None of that was done very well with any of these products.

The Kin, for example, was a semi-smart phone released into a world where people generally either want smartphones or they want dumb-phones, and even the people who want dumb-phones are dying out. Since the smart phones have been so successful, there is a big demand and development community for smartphone apps, and there's a limit to how many incompatible platforms are going to be supported. As a result, the whole world is being divided into iOS and Android, and if you want to compete, you have to offer something compelling enough to displace one of the two big guys. The TouchPad suffered from the same thing: it was developed for a market that didn't exist. The world is all Android and iOS, and there isn't really a market for a 3rd platform at the same price point with no compelling advantages.

Google Wave had a different problem: it never defined what problem it was trying to solve. Was it a collaborative document editor, a replacement for email, or a weird IM client? I used Google Wave for several months, and I still don't know. They also launched a communications platform on an invite-only basis, which meant that you didn't have anyone to communicate with. By the time they had a wide release, everyone had already given up.

In each case, I wouldn't say it's an issue of the developer/manufacturer giving up too soon. The problem is that they didn't give up soon enough.

These are bad examples (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 3 years ago | (#37205952)

The trouble here is that some of these are bad examples. The Kin wasn't a bad idea, when it was first ready for release. It's the 18 month delay to retool it to run on Windows that actually killed the product. Released on time with what they had initially? Who knows.

The TouchPad was released at the same price as the iPad but isn't as good. Who thought that would work?

Pleanty of products still get time to mature. Android itself wasn't a massive success day 1, but has gained traction steadily and is huge now. There's a difference between something that is promising and just needs more development and a "me too!" inferior clone product that the market really doesn't care about.

Hell, some ideas don't get killed off fast enough. Fully electric cars have been worked on for how long now? They still suck.

And while we're on the subject, Hollywood is a bad example. Movies are one shot deals in terms of being profitable. A better analogy is TV, where a show that's a mediocre hit can get retooled to try and improve it but a lot of networks instead drop it after 6 episodes to throw something else at the wall.

Re:These are bad examples (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37206302)

The Kin was not a good idea. It was what a sales guy thought people wanted to do with the net. As opposed to a device that lets people do what they want to do. It was like watching your parents try to be cool and modern. Just...painful.

However the Kin was cute.

Re:These are bad examples (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 3 years ago | (#37207164)

Electric cars were very popular in the 1920s when diesel cars had only recently been invented, were very noisy, smelly and difficult to start, and their main competitor the steam car took about 20 minutes for the boiler to heat up and had a similar range to electric. A lot of people don't realise that electric cars were invented about 50 years before internal combustion engine cars.

Elecrtric trains are pretty popular and generally outperform diesel models because they can get their electricity directly from the mains and don't have to worry about battery life. That means their range is effectively unlimited. The only downside is the additional capital cost of setting up the power supply, so they are not used on lines that only see a few trains per day. High speed rail manages about 300-350 km/h. You would struggle to find a car that can do that consistently on the motorways.

fu^cker (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37205978)

BSD machi3nes, is wiped of7 and Person. Ask your go find something You are a screaming and I probably LUBRICATION. YOU The latest Netcraft

Publicly-trade companies do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37206000)

Shareholders and board members only care about quarterly profits and growth year-on-year. Who cares if your business is actually making money if it isn't making MORE money than it was last quarter?

I miss Cmdrtaco (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37206020)

This is a recent story from yesterday and I haven't seen it before. How I long for those days when stories were week old duplicates filled with misspellings. Why CmdrTaco WHY?!

Depends... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37206132)

Arguably, the degree of goodness or badness really depends on how 'tightly-coupled' a product is:

By 'tightly-coupled' I mean an(admittedly rough) measure of how tightly integrated the product is to ancillary products, services, drivers, support, etc.

Something like, say, the Dell "Inspiron 15 (N5040)" would be 'loosely-coupled'. Other than BIOS updates, which can only be Dell-provided, virtually all related software and likely services would be unaffected by its discontinuation: You can still trivially buy/download an OS to run on it, if you decide to upgrade, drivers are available for the various parts from their respective OEMs/in kernel, all the software you are likely to use is still available from 3rd parties, it isn't tied to a specific ISP, there is no "Dell App Store" that you lose access to, and so forth. A 'loosely-coupled' product can die without a ripple(for anybody except the company who failed to produce a product that made them the money they wanted it to.) Even current owners are only slightly harmed(incrementally harder to get parts for devices with shorter production runs).

A "tightly-coupled" device would be something like an iPhone. Not that Apple would cancel it; but you would be pretty much SOL if they were to: It is cryptographically locked to a specific software source, the system is designed to defeat 3rd-party OS modifications(and no 3rd party OSes exist in any but the most vestigal state for the embedded platform...). Were Apple to pull the plug on the ecosystem, only the most enthusiastic jailbreaker crews would be able to continue.

Something like an xbox or PS3 is mostly tightly-coupled: it is locked to a specific online service, cryptographically dependent on a single vendor for updates and downloadable games; but its use of physical media for most major commercial titles means that it would be degraded but not rendered useless by a vendor pulling the plug.

In general, I'd argue that the churn among 'loosely-coupled' products, while it may be wasteful, shortsighted, MBA/shareholder-whining driven bullshit, is mostly harmful to the companies that engage in it. It means that SKUs change a lot; but it doesn't really do too much harm to product-holders. Churn among 'tightly-coupled' products, though, particularly ones that involve esoteric and/or cryptographically locked embedded systems, or systems that are wholly dependent on some online component, produces a lot of bricks, and directly harms consumers(it also, most likely, has the perverse effect of harming the companies that do it: If consumers know that many new products get shitcanned and bricked, why would they take a risk on your bold new innovation? You are probably just going to kill it...)

While this is less of an issue at the consumer level, more of an enterprise/SMB problem, tight-coupling among software products can cause similar issues: if interfaces between the various horrid bug-nests that keep your company running are relatively sane and clean, getting EOLed by the vendor merely sucks. If they aren't...

Fail Fast (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | about 3 years ago | (#37206252)

A Silicon Valley saying. We deal with failure better than success because we see more of it. The trick has always been to move on quickly and try again. Michael

Huh? (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 3 years ago | (#37206258)

Example of products that where not smash hits and are still moving forward.
1. Bing. It is still has a small market share but Microsoft keeps putting resources into it and it is growing.
2. XBox. The first XBox didn't make a profit but the 360 looks like it finally has.
3. Windows Phone 7 "I don't think this is ever going to be more than a poor 3rd place myself but they are till pushing it".
4. Android. Remember the G1. It didn't sell that well and was only on TMobile in the US.
5. PS3 After the mad launch rush it sales just slowed. The Wii was the big hit and the 360 was out first and sold well. Sales of the PS3 are still improving even now.

Of the other products mentioned well let's take a look at them
The Kin. It wasn't WP7 it had no real apps, it was tied to an expensive data plan. Yes it stank out of the box. Microsoft really did a good job killing Danger after they spend a pile of money to buy them.
Google Wave. I tried to find a use for the tech but I just couldn't It was kind of neat but didn't have a good use case for a lot of people.
Touchpad. This one was murdered in it's crib. HP bought Palm and then the CEO was kicked out in a scandal. His replacement had no interest in the consumer market. Palm had three products in the works and those where the Pre III, the TouchPad, and the Veer. HP dragged their feet on those and took a year to get them out the door! What??? WebOS is actually are really good OS but HP again shipped it on old hardware! Of course the new CEO is also going to spin of the PC division as well. Of course you have to love HP not wanting to risk the long term investment in Palm so instead they took a 12 billon dollar stock hit.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37207328)

I think this is one of the more insightful posts. I feel the author is subject to some sampling bias. They are only looking at the "failed" products. As you suggest, it would be nice to include some "successful" products, and see how the fared early on in their life cycle. Then again, "Sell Big or Die Fast" is a much catchier title than, "Some Products Fail to Gain Market Share Fast Enough for Investors".

Re:Huh? (1)

azadrozny (576352) | about 3 years ago | (#37207378)

Remember the Apple Newton. A good product, but was before its time. I wonder how many of these failed products will inspire technology that has yet to be developed.

Different market means different expectations (1)

redelm (54142) | about 3 years ago | (#37206414)

Movie blockbusters are a human stampede, and occur for ephemeral reasons -- people are going to see a movie, the question is which one, and the answer is mostly the one they can talk about with others.

Choosing assets such as communicating and computing machinery is a much larger investment with much longer usage/payoff period. There is going to be more research, and a longerinitial adoption period. The Wii and especially Android are examples.

Demanding instant success (Wall$t HF junkies) is the same as demanding a never-ending stream of sequels.

would would end up right back in the 80's (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37206528)

100,000 different models of computer goods, ranging 3 generations of machines, totally incompatible and the 3rd party market booms as you now need 45 different types of sd card readers to fit each of the 100,000 different plugs

fuckit, die quick get out fast

Marketing Rules at All Levels ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | about 3 years ago | (#37206724)

Just recently talked to a person who is related to the consumer electronics business (website java) who confirmed that for instance TV-sets have to be updated each half year (in Europe), otherwise 'shareholder-value' would be in danger because negative ratings ('not able to innovate') were the consequence of a more sensible product cycling.

CC.

Re:Marketing Rules at All Levels ... (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37207310)

It's almost like cars in America having to change the grille and cupholders every year so they can claim it's a new model.

ADHD (1)

cgfsd (1238866) | about 3 years ago | (#37206774)

When the target audience suffers from ADHD, get the failures out of the market as quick as possible and hope your next product will be a success.

The one advantage to ADHD, is people forget failures a lot faster than they forget successes.

"The 5 d's of blogs, Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and um Dodge"

pay attention MBAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37206854)

corporations should start to pay attention to the hype they're creating, how successful it is, and then react to public opinion. public opinion is much more educated these days or rather the tools to verify statements/"facts" are more readily available leading to more educated response/backlash.

use the comments of the educated geeks to give you REAL forecast information.

people don't have any patience for crap any more.

Not Just Hardware, Software Too (1)

DERoss (1919496) | about 3 years ago | (#37206882)

It appears that Google and Mozilla are attempting to follow this same pattern with their frequent, rapid-release versions of browsers and related applications. Firefox 4.0 was released by Mozilla on 22 March of this year. Approximately 14 weeks later (on 21 June), Firefox 5.0 was released; and all support -- even fixes for security vulnerabilities -- ceased for Firefox 4.0. Then, 8 weeks later (on 16 August), Firefox 6.0 was released; and all support ceased for Firefox 5.0.

All this seems to be wreaking havoc with businesses and organizations that deployed Firefox as their internal standard browser. System administrators are having difficulty keeping up with the changes.

Yes, this was all reported earlier in Slashdot. Now we have a name for it: Quick Death. And the products do not even have to fail.

It depends on why they failed. (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 3 years ago | (#37207014)

If it's unique and new and people aren't quite capable of justifying it yet, it'll take off slowly. Just look at the early days of DVR.

If it's a "me too attempt" at competing with something out there using a similar product - it becomes quickly apparent whether you've got what it takes to "stay in the game" (Android) or you don't (WebOS, Blackberry PlayBook). If upon release your product simply sucks and gets killed by reviewers for being incomplete - then it deserves to die. This was the case for the TouchPad and PlayBook.

When you're up against Android and the iPad in the tablet market - if you release a halfassed incomplete product, you die and you deserve it.

touchpad firesale hopefully good for webos (3, Interesting)

SCHecklerX (229973) | about 3 years ago | (#37207096)

The touchpad was simply overpriced. If HP had sold it for, say $150 for 16GB, and $200 for 32GB, it may have sold better to begin with. The crazy rate that everyone sold out of all stock means that there are now a whole lot of WebOS tablets in people's hands now. App developers saw a huge spike in downloads after the sale. Getting WebOS out there, people will see what it is like and perhaps not settle for the inferior interfaces of Android and iOS.

HP's own tablet making may be dead. WebOS isn't quite done yet. Wouldn't it be cool if Dell got into the tablet business and licensed WebOS for them...

Re:touchpad firesale hopefully good for webos (4, Interesting)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | about 3 years ago | (#37207222)

No it was priced right according to iSuppli who did the teardown. If HP sold it at $150 there would have been a loss on each device sold.

http://www.isuppli.com/Teardowns/News/Pages/HP-TouchPad-Carries-$318-Bill-of-Materials.aspx [isuppli.com]

They probably COULD have saved money somewhere, but they already chintzed on the plastic in the back.

The real problem is there were no apps. There was no real push by Palm OR HP on gaining developers. At least not one like there should have been. Plus the SDK was REALLY late. By that time, Palm was already dead in the water, HP picked them up and did NOTHING with them.

Re:touchpad firesale hopefully good for webos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37207830)

Although HP took a $100,000,000 charge on an estimated 250,000 units, selling at a loss would probably have been cheaper. http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/08/18/hp_eats_100_million_charge_to_cover_unsold_stockpile_of_touchpads.html [appleinsider.com]

The loss leader approach could have been very successful and market disrupting.

TFA also doesn't touch on the other side of the coin. The tech consumer is a fickle consumer. If a product isn't available when the consumer wants it, they wander off to the next shiny thing - very few product segments have people willing to wait in lines for extended periods of time. This means that the company has to either not have a large amount of inventory at launch and let customers walk away or they need to have a large amount of and hope they get the customer counts they need.

If they get it wrong (either too little interest or too much interest), then the company has problems and the product is still-born. Of course this is what the "Marketing" team needs to get right (Marketing != Sales, Marketing = Market segmentation, analysis and demand generation). And in tech it's _really_ hard to get this right.

Re:touchpad firesale hopefully good for webos (1)

fluffernutter (1411889) | about 3 years ago | (#37207844)

The thing that got me was the ABSOLUTE SILENCE after the sale of Palm to HP. If this were Apple, they would have kept the hype building from that point forward until product release. Ads would have been taken out, prototypes shown, and bloggers paid to rave about the new thing. It would have reached a fever pitch before release, and then the quality of the product versus the price would not have mattered so much.

HP did not really fail so much as the heart of the company was not invested in it. They have much more return for their dollar in the business world as opposed to promoting consumer toys.

And the underappreciated 3DS (2)

BigCatRik (1209068) | about 3 years ago | (#37207100)

The 3DS is a great gaming device (I've played at least 5 games for over 20 hours each) and will get better as more games are released. The previous generation of consoles took up to a year or longer to establish themselves but the doomsayers came out in droves when the 3DS *only* sold 3.6 million within its first few months (and in a non-holiday time frame) instead of the 4 million that Nintendo was hoping for. Luckily, instead of pulling it off the shelves, Nintendo has cut the price (leading to a massive sales surge) and pumped up the publicity for the new games with their major names that are due shortly.

block buster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37207112)

You cant have a middle because then there would be a middle class everything has to go to the top one percent they cant control middle so instead kill it.
My riches cant wait.

It's not the time on market that's the problem (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 3 years ago | (#37207314)

The problem is they're trying to imitate an already established or hot product. Imitating is fine if you can keep the price well below the 'original' product or you make massive innovations to it. Microsoft Kin and HP TouchPad were not only knockoffs, they were bad knockoffs with inferior UI, software and performance and cost as much as the original.

The Android model has fared better because it's going on much cheaper phones and a lot larger choice of phones (sometimes even better phones) than the iPhone and it has as a result flourished among developers. Symbian was a decent smartphone system predating the iPhone but it died because they actively excluded most of the home-brew developers and only targeted their own phones which were decent but because they didn't foresee any competition stagnated in features and performance.

How much shelf space does a product take up? (1)

jfengel (409917) | about 3 years ago | (#37207436)

A movie is taking up very expensive real estate. It requires a large screening room, with several employees to manage it. Further, the movie is selling not just itself, but the snacks that go along with it. (And that's actually most of where the theater makes its profit; it's showing the movie nearly at cost.)

A tech product can moulder on the shelf, waiting to be discovered. A movie really can't. Netflix has shifted that pattern a bit, but only a bit.

In other words... these are apples and oranges.

This market ruins it for me (1)

fluffernutter (1411889) | about 3 years ago | (#37207692)

Some years ago (three? Four?) I bought a 1st gen iPod touch. I enjoyed it in the beginning. Just a year later I wanted a new skin for it and found all the skins fit Gen 2 and not Gen 1. A year and a half later Apple was releasing a version of iOS that wouldn't work with my 1st gen and three months after that I found that many of the apps I wanted to use were incompatible.

This keeps me in Windows 7 laptops and netbooks because a 1.5 year lifespan on a $600 product is nuts, in my opinion. With windows I could run an MS-DOS application if I wanted to.

Re:This market ruins it for me (1)

fluffernutter (1411889) | about 3 years ago | (#37207744)

Before someone replies to this, I realize I was comparing forward compatibility to backward compatibility there. My point should have been that the PC I bought with windows XP five years ago has Windows 7 now and still runs any application I would like to put on it. Likewise, I am running three year old laptops with Windows 7. That is a much better use of my money.
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