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Dearly Departed — Companies and Products That Didn't Make It

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the down-for-the-count dept.

Businesses 462

Esther Schindler writes "Some products just didn't deserve to die. But they did, because the companies made bad business decisions. Dearly Departed, revisits several favorites — from minicomputers to software utilities — and mourns the best and brightest that died an untimely death. What companies or products would you add? Which of them deserved to go?"

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462 comments

quick summary (5, Informative)

call -151 (230520) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988651)

Quick list for those who don't care to click through one per page for 19 pages:

DEC, Tandem, Apollo, Borland, Amiga, Commodore, Ashton-Tate, Fox, Central Point Software, Quarterdeck, Gould, Infocom, Sequent, Poquet,
Taligent, Word Perfect, Lotus, and Compuserve are the "dearly departed"

I can't comment much on the PC-heavy end of the list, but DEC stands out to me as the one
which least deserved to die. DEC Western Research Lab was a fantastic place with a great deal of innovation and freedom, and
watching it shrivel and die was painful.

Re:quick summary (4, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988725)

Since the story was submitted by Esther Schindler, can we call this Schindler's List?

Re:quick summary (4, Funny)

Timothy Chu (2263) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988955)

> Since the story was submitted by Esther Schindler, can we call this Schindler's List?

You mean that these companies are all still surviving in a bunker or warehouse somewhere? Send my love to WordPerfect 14, wherever she is!

Re:quick summary (0)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988879)

They made a horrible mistake though. They claimed that the death of the Amiga was caused by its "acquisition" by Commodore but unless I recently had a stroke, didn't Commodore *create* the Amiga?

Re:quick summary (1)

Bwana Geek (1033040) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989025)

No, Commodore did not create the Amiga. It was created by Amiga Corporation, but Commodore bought their company before they released a single machine.

Amiga [wikipedia.org]

Re:quick summary (4, Insightful)

rs79 (71822) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989291)

The Amiga was actually the direct descendent of the Atari 400/800 - it was a 16 bit Motorola 68000 system with graphics a lot of PCs still don't have today. Jay Miner was the genius behind the hardware, Dale Luck and Jim McRazz did the bulk of the OS. I can't remember why it didn't stay in Atari but it didn't. They trie to go it alone for a while then Commodore picked them up.

If you look at comp.sys.amiga in the day complaints about hos Commodore was screwing it up were commonplace.

In fact there was one version of the bootstrap code that is you held down certain keys while it was booting it said something like "We built it, they fucked it up"

The Amiga was so cool it hurt.

Re:quick summary (4, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988935)

I can't comment much on the PC-heavy end of the list, but DEC stands out to me as the one
which least deserved to die


Really? Have you actually programmed on a DEC system? That was the most abominable IO record access semantics I have ever met in my career. An average homework written in pascal for a CS course consisted of one page of open declaration followed by 5 lines of homework. Totally nuts. Add to that the joke known as the BSD Unix subsystem (your best friend if you want to hack a DEC). Add to that the totally insane file/node/resource naming convention. I had that sorry excuse of an OS pwn3d left right and center anytime I liked. It was done mostly to run rogue or nethack which were prohibited by the club of religious freaks in charge of the computer system (I understood that they constitute a happy sect much later). It ended with getting a pre-expulsion warning and the equivalent of a campus ASBO where I was not allowed to enter a terminal room. No thank you. It deserved to die. Even the really clumsy early PC Unixes were so much better, it was simply unreal.

Borland deserved to die as well. While it had a fantastic DOS/protected mode compiler and runtime it never understood the idea that future will be ruled by resource editors and visual controls. I have had to deal with their visual controls on Mac (yep, Turbo Pascal 1.x for Mac System 8), Windows (both TPW and Dephi) and I have even tried to implement a graphical extension of the Vision stuff. It deserved to die. Anything else aside a rapid application development environment that did not understand the value of ready controls and resources did not belong on the market. Microsoft came with their lame, buggy, but usefull foundation class libs and wiped the floor. No surprise there.

I can continue with the list. Every single one of them had serious technical reasons to depart. While we may have some fond memories of them - good bye and good riddance. Unless you feel masochistic to write an RMS open statement and build a GUI with TPW (or god forbit TP for Mac).

Re:quick summary (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988995)

> Borland deserved to die as well.

I still use the Diff tools from some old version of Turbo C on my 2000/xp boxes!

Re:quick summary (2, Insightful)

call -151 (230520) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989015)

Really? Have you actually programmed on a DEC system? That was the most abominable IO record access semantics I have ever met in my career.
Indeed I did. Every system had/has its quirks, and it's not fair to compare the VMS environment to modern ones. DEC produced a great deal of interesting things, and if that is your biggest beef with them, that's pretty minor in the scheme of things.

Central Point Software (2, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989017)

printer-friendly link [cio.com]

Acquisition by Symantec killed Central Point Software. The DMCA buried it.

They made Copy ][ Plus for the Apple II series and other similarly named software for other platforms. C2+ was the essential piece of software at my high school, for students and teachers alike, back when copy protection itself was an art form (double spiral tracks on 5.25" floppies), not like the typical, "If this block on the disk is readable, refuse to run," protections of later years. (However, 8.2 was much better than 9.0. For some reason the UI became sluggish.)

Nowadays, such software is completely illegal under the DMCA.

Re:quick summary (1)

dmpyron (1069290) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989073)

I spent 15 years working on VAX/VMS. Apparently it was good enough for the NSA. One version got A1. Apollo was pretty good, too.

Re:quick summary (2, Interesting)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989141)

Commodore deserved bankruptcy, the Amiga didn't.

Commodore failed to develop the Amiga and didn't know what to do with it. Dithering between marketing it as a business computer or a games machine.

About 6 years after I got my A500 in 1987 they finally released a new chipset, it was a stop gap hack until the long awaited AAA chipset came out. It never did appear due to bankruptcy. Rumour has it that they were still flying the company jet around right to the end.

If AAA had been released when the A3000 came out then the Amiga would have blown the competition away. They intended on having DSPs and 16-bit sound in the A3000 which they removed.

Incompetent management milking the original genius of Jay Miner (RIP), Dale Luck, RJ Mical and others. A600 (A500 in a smaller case with ECS).

Re:quick summary (1)

Gregb05 (754217) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989173)

<rant>Can we stop posting lists?

I'm all for learning the history of technology, but this shit with "10 reasons linux fails" and "top 10 discoveries of the Mars Rovers" has got to go.

this [slashdot.org] was the peak of the lameness of the lists, If you don't want to bother reading the article, skip to the last page, it'll point out the utter crap that is the top 10 list.

Any jackass can write a top 10 list, let's get back to news please, If I want to be force fed top ((int) rand()*100)+1 lists, I'll read eBaum's World [ebaumsworld.com].</rant>

DEC did their best to fail (4, Informative)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989209)

When Ken Olsen made his famous comment in 1977, it set the tone for DEC to ensure it quickly lost relevance in the computer world. And when DEC did finally come out with PC's, they were proprietary at a time when the proprietary designs were slowly losing out to the IBM PC.

By the time the Alpha chip was released, the company was already doing very poorly. By the time Robert Palmer took over, it was not clear to anyone at the time that DEC would ever again be relevant. I don't know if he was the right man for the job or not, but he basically started parceling out bits of DEC to whoever would buy it. My experience is you can't cut your way to profitability, and when Compaq bought DEC, it was never clear to anyone why they would be interested. I believe DEC took out Compaq on it's way to the bottom.

I find it amusing now that Ken Olsen tries to claim that he was not anti-PC. My personal opinion was the Ken Olsen was anti-PC because it was pretty clear that cheap boxes would soon be as powerful as the "minis" that DEC had for sale. He knew he'd eventually be squeezed from the bottom end by PC's and there was no place to grow on the top end.

My only reminder of DEC is a copy of Digital Unix with all the manuals in the original box that I keep on a top shelf to remind me of what DEC used to be. Personally, I'm not surprised that DEC failed, I'm more surprised how little time it took they basically went from being the #2 computer maker to irrelevance in 5 years and then they were gone 5 years later.

The NextStation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19989263)

Great piece of hardware with a very interesting operating system and application software. Largely missed, but you can still see its effect on Apple.

Netscape? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988661)

Seems to be primarily concerned wtih acquisitions that caused the death of companies. What about the acquisition and death [slashdot.org] of Netscape [wikipedia.org]? I don't think it deserved to die and it was pretty much decided in multiple settlements that Microsoft's bundling of IE with Windows destroyed any chance Netscape had.

I've personally never used their old products but, you know, I do use Mozilla and it's derivatives and it's a fine browser. Unfortunate they didn't have a snowflake's chance in hell with Microsoft's actions.

Re:Netscape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19988745)

Peter Norton used to make excellent software. Then Norton got bought out by Symantec...

Re:Netscape? (0)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988759)

Netscape simply stopped releasing products for a few years and their most recent products were trash. They attempted to open source it as a last resort, but even that flopped. They most certainly did deserve to die. They killed themselves through bad management.

Re:Netscape? (3, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988893)

Netscape killed themselves with uncanny precision long before Microsoft started bundling IE with Windows, never mind actually shipping a viable version of IE. Navigator 4 was, much like the first WordPerfect for Windows, the worst possible product at the worst possible time. Netscape's reaction to their inability to ship working software and Microsoft's ability to do so was to go whine about it to the DoJ, which promptly nailed Microsoft to the wall.

The "Microsoft killed Nescape" meme is completely wrong, but most people who are predisposed toward MS to begin with don't realize that or simply don't care because it's inconvenient.

Not to say Microsoft is some sort of angelical organization, but they are certainly not guilty of "killing" Netscape. Marc Andreessen and Co. are solely responsible for that. Just go read Jamie Zawinski's diary and do the math.

Re:Netscape? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989081)

The article concerned good products with bad decisions. Netscape was in the end a bad product with bad decisions. It deserved to die.

Now, what came out of it, is a different story. But Firefox isn't dead anyway.

Re:Netscape? (1)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989159)

Netscape is still around, admittedly under different names.

The browser is now Firefox.
The server is now Sun ONE.

Netscape deserved to die - bad management (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19989265)

Netscape absolutely deserved to die. It is the ABSOLUTE postchild for how not to manage a software group.

The basic management philosophy was that anyone could modify anything at any time for any reason. Nobody owned anything. Did you ever wonder why the actual source code release was over 70MB(!) back in the mid-90's, and wouldn't compile?

While that approach might work when you have a very small crew (under 10), it just doesn't scale. I know one guy who went in as a contractor and he couldn't get his work done because everybody was changing things to meet their own personal project needs, without thinking about a clean way of doing it. He finally had to get his manager to agree to announce that anyone who touched a certain section would be fired if they modified that code until he got his stuff done.

What's sad is that I ran into one of their top managers later on at Agami. Within a year, that guy had destroyed what had been a top engineering group of very talented people, and within 18 months he was canned. Agami has never recovered. A pity, as they used to be Kliener-Perkins' hottest startup (according to KP).

So I would agree that Netscape deserved better. Far, far, better. They didn't deserve their bad management. But with it, they did indeed deserve to die.

Thank $DIETY that they open-sourced it. In many ways, Netscape is a classic example of the extremes of both good and bad.

Webvan (5, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988663)

What companies or products would you add?

That's easy: Webvan [wikipedia.org].

I loved Webvan. My friends loved Webvan. To this day, I think it was one of the best ideas to come out of the dot-com era, even though it was one of the first companies to go under when the bubble burst.

It is such a shame that they're gone, and the day I heard they were closing up shop (or technically, warehouse, I suppose) was a sad day indeed. Going to the grocery store is such a hassle, and I gladly paid the premium for the convenience.

I still think that the idea is valid, and if it were done right, would be a multibillion-dollar industry. Whoever takes up the cause now, though, would have to fight not only the trials and tribulations of starting a new business, but the legacy of the spectacular failure of Webvan before it.

What a shame. I can't believe that it's been six years since their demise.

Re:Webvan (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988733)

In my area, Peapod [peapod.com] still does this.

I, personally, really enjoy grocery shopping (believe it or not) so I haven't used them, but I've heard it's pretty good and not too expensive.

Re:Webvan (2, Interesting)

call -151 (230520) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988749)

The online grocery market is going strong in NYC with Fresh Direct (among others, but the market leader), which is a great implementation of the concept and has widespread use, to the point that some buildings now have cooled areas in their lobbies for Fresh Direct deliveries.

Re:Webvan (2, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988831)

Webvan had a good idea. But they mismanaged their expansion. They got something like 3% market share in 30 cities; when what they needed was 30% market share in 3 cities. The delivery costs of low-density deliveries were killing them.

Safeway offers something that seems similar now, but they do it by having people pick from the shelves of their retail stores. Because the stock on hand there is thin, the online system can't reserve or even see the shelf stock, and they don't do back-orders, they tend to deliver orders with missing items.

Re:Webvan (1)

jtwronski (465067) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989251)

In my area Safeway pulls from the warehouse, not a store. I've had pretty good luck with them overall, but they do have a tendency to replace brands from time to time. Potato chips come to mind. Meat and produce were the two things that I was worried about them getting right, but they've done a good job picking the good stuff so far.

Re:Webvan (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988867)

still think that the idea is valid, and if it were done right, would be a multibillion-dollar industry. Whoever takes up the cause now, though, would have to fight [...] the trials and tribulations of starting a new business...

There are still several options available for online grocery shopping. Many existing physical stores, such as Safeway [safeway.com], have online shopping/delivery available. These stores, of course, have the advantage over WebVan that they already have a widely distributed presence so can serve a much larger area from the start.

I liked the idea of WebVan, too, but never lived in a neighborhood they delivered to.

Re:Webvan (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988895)

Multibillion? Please. It was hugely unprofitable then, and it's not as if it's gotten any cheaper now. Delivery in general is a low-margin business, unless you're a courier. Webvan couldn't fill in the '???' in their business plan.

I order from Safeway, and get free delivery coupons so often it hardly ever costs me. I still get produce from Whole Foods or pretty much anywhere but Safeway, but they're still very handy for delivering 30-lb boxes of kitty litter and a dozen five-gallon water jugs to car-free me.

Re:Webvan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19989185)

I still think that the idea is valid, and if it were done right, would be a multibillion-dollar industry. Whoever takes up the cause now, though, would have to fight not only the trials and tribulations of starting a new business, but the legacy of the spectacular failure of Webvan before it.


FreshDirect in NYC is quite successful. High customer density, of course, makes things easier.

Re:Webvan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19989293)

AaAaAaAaAaAaAaAarrrrrrrgh!!!!!

I hate(d) Webvan. They swallowed up HomeGrocer.com just in time to take them down with them. Rot in hell Webvan.

Link to single page (2, Informative)

jpetts (208163) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988673)

Avoids the 19-page ad-laden version:

http://www.cio.com/article/print/125263 [cio.com]

Re:Link to single page (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988771)

Thanks. I started to read the article but then saw that it was 19-pages long.

19 pages. What the hell are they thinking?

--Richard

Re:Link to single page (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989225)

They were thinking, "lets force our readers to look at as many ads as we can get away with."

Re:Link to single page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19989287)

1. Start website that reminisces about old tech.
2. Put one object on each page with ads.
3. ???
4. Profit?

Compaq = Evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19988675)

It is only a coincidence that the first two of them are gone because they were bought by Compaq?

after seven pages (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988679)

I gave up trying to read what promised (I'd thought) to be an interesting article. Guess I fell for the hook. Guess I haven't been to the CIO web site for a while. Guess I didn't remember the signal to noise ration for their pages (about 10dB). Guess I'll not finish their article. Guess which web site I'm never going back to.

The meat of their article is spread across at least 19 pages, each page of which contains probably less than 100 words text. WTH? Each page of which contains 2K lines, and about 100K of text (this obviously doesn't incorporate the image load and javascript execution tax you pay for each newly loaded page). I gave up even trying to finish the article after seven pages of waiting on a semi-slow connection.

Guess I'll wait for the readers' reviews.

Each day the internet gets a little less interesting, a little less fun. I fully anticipate the day web pages are 100% ads, nothing else (we're close!).

several paragraphs of content (5, Funny)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988701)

spread across 19 pages DESERVES TO DIE!!!

Re:several paragraphs of content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19989151)

People who can't find the 'print' button DESERVES TO DIE!!!

They ALL deserved to die! (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988711)

The first one:Digital Equipment Corp.

They died because they knew what the customer needed. NOT what the customer actually wanted, but what they thought the customer should have. DEC was a bunch of business dumb asses run by arrogant engineers who thought that they knew better. Period.

The rest died because their business was not viable - for what ever reason. Period.

Sorry, but Microsoft and Apple are still here because they have viable businesses.

'NUFF said.

Re:They ALL deserved to die! (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988795)

Now I agree Digital really lacked in business sense, but what did they lack that their customers wanted?

Re:They ALL deserved to die! (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989139)

PCs, for sure. Wasn't it their Rainbow that required you to buy pre-formatted DEC floppies? And cost considerably more than a comparable Compaq? At least they finally got one out, at first they tried pushing the DECmate-II (a PDP-8 in a PC case), talk about bonehead moves...

I'm drowning in page hits! (1)

kidcharles (908072) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988713)

TFA is organized into 19 pages that have a small summary on each page. Let me reach into my wordbag and pull out something to describe that. Let's see..."annoying," yeah that works.

Re:I'm drowning in page hits! (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988763)

TFA is organized into 19 pages that have a small summary on each page. Let me reach into my wordbag and pull out something to describe that. Let's see..."annoying," yeah that works.

A-fucking-men!

Their format was fucking retarded! I should know.

Re:I'm drowning in page hits! (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988815)

There is nothing

Re:I'm drowning in page hits! (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988851)

wrong with the format

Re:I'm drowning in page hits! (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988871)

if you get paid.

Re:I'm drowning in page hits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19988887)

Aggravating your readers doesn't get you paid.

Re:I'm drowning in page hits! (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989257)

reach into your wordbag? how quaint...

Didn't you see the article on 'containerization'??

Nowadays we just make up new words rather than look to see if an existing one might already be a pefect fit.

"annoying"? bah... I'd suggest this scrabble crowd pleaser: 'vexizing' -- you just need a free G to latch onto!

Dearly Aggravated- The Readers That Didn't Make It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19988715)

I'll tell you one technology I wish died out- whichever one is responsible for this trend of spreading a 500-word story across 19 pages.

WE all deserve to die for what we have done to our (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19988781)

Mother Earth (tm).

We share the blame equally as a species.

Borland, DEC and Amiga (4, Insightful)

RancidPickle (160946) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988801)

Borland, DEC and Amiga are the ones that really stand out for me.

I remember opening up the giant box of Borland C++ v3 floppy disks and wondering what the hell I got myself into. I still have the box, except the floppies were imaged onto CDs. A well-done, not-perfect product. Borland was very helpful whenever I had questions.

The DEC Alpha was a great CPU. I remembering running across one at an auction, and picking it up, running home and dropping NT 3.51 on it. Solid design, built like a tank. DEC made some interesting innovative products (and yes, they did make the DEC Rainbow, which my college standardized on for, oh, about six months before it died a quick death).

The best on the list is the Amiga. One exceptional system, designed from the ground up as a top-notch computing, video and music machine. I still have a 2000HD with a Toaster, a couple of 500s, a 1000 and a 3000. There are some tasks that PCs can't touch the Amiga, even years later. Several Spanish TV stations in South America use Amigas as their main titling platform. An Amiga with Lightwave and a toaster is a formidable video production studio, even to this day. Too bad Commodore was such a poorly-run company, they did all they could to kill the Ami. At least some Euro folks have kept up with the platform, porting Linux and developing new stuff.

Re:Borland, DEC and Amiga (1)

bob_herrick (784633) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988917)

My fond Borland memories are of Sprint and Quattro Pro. With the Sprint wordprocessor, toggle an option and the command strucutre switched to WordPerfect, WordStar, and two or three other popular packages. Personally the native command structure worked best for me. Their spreadsheet Quattro Pro, in my opinion, was the model for the graphics found in Excel to this day. If you wanted font control, 3-D, you name it, Quattro had it long before MS. We ran a depart of fifty folks using those to on another dead platfrom, too obscure to make the list: Banyan VINES. Oh, the pain of early adoption...

Re:Borland, DEC and Amiga (2, Informative)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989065)

Interestingly enough, some of the nifty features of the Alpha (primarily the bus) were inherited by the Athlon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athlon [wikipedia.org] Apparently one of the engineers from the Alpha project joined AMD just as Alpha was shutting down.

Anti-MS zealots (2, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988813)

I'd like to point out that in this list, there was exactly one company "killed" by Microsoft. Foxpro was acquired by them. More importantly MS is still keeping the project alive after all of this time. Microsoft most certainly is not the company killer that the Slashdot Groupthink make it out to be.

Re:Anti-MS zealots (3, Interesting)

hurfy (735314) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989031)

Worst company killer is Symantec without a doubt. Everything goes in but nothing comes back out :( At least MS usually buys someone out cause they want something instead of simply to keep you from getting something from the other guys :/

I think they scored 2 on this list alone. Including my beloved Central Point tools (which i still use on my 386) altho i could use an update to the antivirus ...

My addition: Wang (I have our old 2200 and a PC)
wonderful stuff but late to upgrade and when the PC came out they tried to keep it propriatary like all the heavy iron. Their PC was actually quite good but only ran their own programs :(

hehe, i still have working versions of: Central point tools, wordperfect, the deskview stuff, and something else on list i think :)

Re:Anti-MS zealots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19989053)

"Killed" is unclear.

There was only one word processor available that made Wordperfect unsuitable for survival.

You don't have to be bought out to get killed. In fact, getting bought out is better than getting shut out.

Re:Anti-MS zealots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19989079)

Microsoft killed Foxpro.

They changed the language bit by bit after they aquired it, and made it crap, and then quit supporting it , and demanded that everyone switch to VB.

If you take the last pre-Microsoft Foxpro, and dosemu running on linux, it is still viable if non-graphic business platform. It is still in use in many places. The last non-Microsoft Foxpro will still be running an inventory system in the corner of some dusty warehouse years after the last Microsoft Foxpro has finally sucummbed to viruses and Microsoft's next big idea.

Re:Anti-MS zealots (1)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989169)

you honestly believe microsoft had anything to do with only one of the (these) nineteen? directly, perhaps.. but indirectly or when teamed with another large and/or monopolistic company microsoft had a hand in at least half of them...

and perhaps microsoft's victims were downplayed by the editors of CIO; considering microsoft is one of IDG's (CIO's parent, also owns ComputerWorld, PCWorld, among others) largest advertisers.. ad dollars is what greases the wheel of commercial rags...

Nice, but just one thing... (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988837)

Wasn't WordPerfect bought straight-out by Corel? (Not from WordPerfect to Novell to Corel.)

Sadly, WordPerfect was purchased by Corel right after it went bust thanks to Office...

Re:Nice, but just one thing... (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988981)

WordPerfect Corp made a few errors:
  • they did not think that Windows 2.0 was a big deal. WordPerfect DOS 6.0 was still DOS but with a WYSIWYG editor. Nice. But it was NOT Windows. So when Windows 3.x came out, they were caught off-guard
  • they thought that just because they had an excellent word processor, they could also produce an excellent
    • database - DataPerfect
    • spreadsheet - PlanPerfect
    • presentations - can't remember the name
    • form filler - FormPerfect?

  • GroupWise - I think they bought this somewhere. A great email program

They also spent a lot of money/time porting WordPerfecct to OS/2, using a Windows extension library (can't remember the name), and all they got was a buggy slow implementation. Then MS killed off OS/2 through Windows/hardware licencing.

So basically WordPerfect Corp pissed away a lot of money when they left their core business.

Then Novell bought them out. Novell stripped out GroupWise, dropped the rest of the junk, and sold WordPerfect to Corel.

IMHO WordPerfect is STILL the best word processor available. And I have used Word, WordPro, OpenOffice, PeachTree, WordStar, and a few others. Not just try them out. I actually produced large documents with them.

Re:Nice, but just one thing... (1)

RGRistroph (86936) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989135)

Who now owns WordPerfect 5.1 ?

I believe that was the best Word Perfect. Rumours have it that it was the last WP written in all assembly.

It was made to run on Unix, SCO specifically. With the SCO emulation kernel modules, you can make it run on linux, if you can find a copy.

I believe that if WordPerfect 5.1 for Linux were to be made available for something less than $20, perhapes download only or a mail-order CD, it would sell well enough to justify the trouble.

Re:Nice, but just one thing... (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989267)

If it was assembler, they must have had a hell of a make file.

The DOS version (well the early ones) ran on almost ANY DOS implementation. I had a copy which ran on Z-DOS (Zenith DOS for the H-100).

i got one (5, Insightful)

Paktu (1103861) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988855)

Sega Dreamcast, anyone?

Thank the Sony PR machine for that one, folks.

Re:i got one (2, Informative)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988903)

Try the spectacular failures of the SegaCD, 32X, and Saturn that preceded it. They dug themselves into a giant hole - both financially and in the minds of gamers - that was damn near impossible to dig out of.

Re:i got one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19989197)

Quite. Whereas during that generation of consoles, you couldn't go a single commercial break without a Playstation commercial, Sega decided that marketing was for chumps.

So, how's that working out for you, Sega? Selling a lot of systems by word of mouth? Oh, wait...

but i thought that all non-tech staff were useless (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19988863)

as i have learned from reading slashdot, dilbert, and hanging out in the 'linux community', all non-tech staff at a corporation are useless dead weight, hangers on with dragging knuckles and pea sized brains. if only they could be eliminated, society would become a technological utopia. marketing, sales, management, HR, and so forth, are all worthless wastes of time.

and yet, here you come, now telling me that marketing, sales, and management are somehow 'important' and should be payed 'attention to'?

hogwash. we all know that the perfect corporation would make products that we give away for free, have no management, HR, marketing, sales, or customer service staff, and uhm. yeah. we could all live off our wives or in our parents basement.

i for one, will never abandon the True Software view of reality.

Fie on Symantec! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19988877)

Central Point's Copy II PC was the shit back in the day. I used that to pirate sooooo much copy-protected software when I was a kid.

Man, you really forget how many great products those Symantec bastards have acquired and ruined/killed over the years.

PROTIP: How to avoid 20 pages of click-through ads (5, Informative)

brouski (827510) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988891)

Find the "Printable Version" button on the first page. Condenses everything into one page.

Most of these "news" sites have one.

19 different pages?! Forget it. Here's mine (3, Funny)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988905)

Amiga
Philadelphia Phillies
Curling in the US
Proper grammar any more
Frosty Paws for dogs
Fried food as a food group
Dvorak as a writer
the Pet Rock
any Stehpen King movie adaption
Babylon 5's 5th season

Re:19 different pages?! Forget it. Here's mine (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989279)

When was Dvorak an actual writer? I first noticed him 25 years ago, and he was a nonsequitarian flamebaiter even then.

BeOS (1)

MechaBlue (1068636) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988925)

Fast, light-weight, and a deliciously easy-to-program API. It would boot on a K6 II in less time that common OSes boot on modern hardware and remained incredibly responsive, even when the processors were maxed. File system with integrated metadata allowing searching. Devices were also managed in a nifty way. It also had support for 8 processors in a day when multi-processor machines were a rarity. The little tabs that could be moved across the top of the window.

Cause of Death: Could be blamed on Microsoft and their secret OEM bootloader licence and the DoJ not wanting to include that part in the anti-trust case. (If an OEM shipped a computer with a Microsoft OS, they had to use a Microsoft bootloader. In those days, MS didn't play well with other OSes.) Eventually ran out of money and sold to Palm for a few cents a share.

Rebirth: Haiku-OS is a binary compatible open source version. Rumors of Apple replacing the Mach kernel with a lighter-weight kernel could see the same performance again in 10.6 or 10.7.

Ford... (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | more than 6 years ago | (#19988939)

I have two car related additions that relate to the same nameplate.

First, the MN12 based 1989-1997 Ford Thunderbird. GM managed to keep the larger two door coupe alive, and I see no reason why Ford couldn't have waited a few years on limited production with some minor refreshes to see if sales picked up. I think the real reason was that Ford management hated the car from the beginning, because even though it won Motortrend's car of the year when it was introduced, the team was heavily criticized internally, and I think the program director was fired, because the car was somewhat over-cost and over-weight. Personally, with some refreshes, particularly the upgrades to the Essex engine that came with the 1999 Mustang, or a Duratec 3.0, the car could have been a salvaged, if Ford had just waited a year or two extra.

Second, the 2002-2005 Thunderbird. With a better engine, a lower price, and maybe a V6 version, it could have been a hit. But it was a project of a previous version of Ford management, and it might compete with the Mustang in a V6, so when Ford's own mistake led to higher prices (due to initial demand) which then destroyed sales, Ford just killed it.

Re:Ford... (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989119)

I liked the 1998-1997 Thunderbird. Yes, it was a larger car, but it was perfect for people who wanted a two-door coupe that had decent performance, but could do the daily stuff too, like sticking the kid in the back, groceries, and other everyday stuff. The redesigned 2002-2005 was pretty nice, but it seemed to me more of a toy car than anything else, trying to appeal to a market segment that other companies like BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Acura, and even Lincoln have locked down.

I think Ford would be well served with a larger two door coupe, because it does fill in a niche -- cool car, but yet able to do the needs of a family.

Be (2, Interesting)

DuckWizard (744428) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989057)

Be, Inc. really epitomizes this for me. They had great ideas and great products, but their dull business moves caused them to die an ugly death.

They did have an uphill struggle - nobody's going to port their major software to a platform without a userbase, but a platform isn't going to get a userbase until it has major software ported to it. Being a late entry to the PC game put them in that chicken/egg scenario and really hurt them.

But surely they could have somehow convinced SOMEONE to port an application to BeOS. They should have poured everything they had into this. Offer Adobe a small percentage of hardware sales if they port Photoshop, for example. Get Corel to bring WordPerfect into the mix so you have a big-name competitor offering a word processor.

Instead they killed the BeBox and from there it was a downward spiral.

Sigh.

My vote is for... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19989091)

Windows Vista. We hardly knew ye, and for that, we are thankful.

Add Another One (5, Funny)

NotFamous (827147) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989101)

Company: Slashdot

Born: 1841

Died: 2007 (purchased by Microsoft)

Cause of Death: After Taco's death, his 6 year-old nephew took over the site. Most of the articles were about farts and dodgeball. Popularity went through the roof, but the kid forgot to renew the domain. Microsoft bought it and turned it into a site where people could post tributes to Windows Genuine Advantage.

Founder: Taco Bell

Most well-known product(s): Ascii art

Why we miss them: Because Digg was just bought by the Microsofties

Lasting image/quote: "Repost"

BeOS (2, Insightful)

jbwolfe (241413) | more than 6 years ago | (#19989149)

Their demise remains a sore spot for me. What would Macs be running now if Apple had acquired Be? (Not that OSX is so bad.) On a more financially painful note, I lost what should have been a small fortune when they folded. Palm further squandered the technology after buying the IP at, I believe, about $90M. If only someone had opened the source...
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