These 14 companies were once the giants of the IT world. Many have long been history; some still hold up, but are far from their former glory.
The rise and fall of former industry leaders – we show well-known examples of IT companies that have either disappeared into insignificance or are trying again to catch up with bygone times. And IT companies that are still important, but have long since ceased to play the dominant role they once had.
1) Research in Motion (now Blackberry)
RIM virtually invented the smartphone with its Blackberry range. But with the triumphant advance of the iPhone and Android, the decline of this Canadian company began, as its devices were increasingly displaced by androids and the iPhone. Revenue and market share collapsed rapidly. The restart with the new operating system (Blackberry 10) and new smartphones (the Z10 and the Q10) did not work. Since 2014, Blackberry has mainly focused on security technologies.
In April 2019, Emtek announced that it was discontinuing Blackberry Messenger for private users. Emtek bought the Messenger Blackberry.
AOL has a history as the first Internet service and instant messaging software provider. In 2000 the future looked bright, but things went downhill after the company merged with Time Warner. Year after year, AOL continued to lose ground. In 2009 Time Warner separated from the ailing Internet company. In between, AOL had taken the websites Techcrunch, Huffington Post and Engadget under its wing and was currently reinventing itself as a digital media company. But none of that helped.
AOL is now just a web portal that belongs to Verizon. Verizon has combined AOL’s business with Yahoo, Engadget, The Huffington Post, Mapquest, Techcrunch and Tumblr in the new subsidiary Oath.
AIM; The AOL Instant Messenger was already discontinued on December 15, 2017.
By the turn of the century, Yahoo was a veritable Internet greenhouse for news, search, email, and advertisements. But then the company burst together with the Internet bubble and in the following years was always at least two steps behind competitor Google. The mismanagement of the websites and the constant change of company bosses have only accelerated Yahoo’s case. The former Google wife Marissa Mayer as Yahoo boss sold the core business of Yahoo to Verizon after several confusions and errors and a disastrous hacker attack and earned a lot in the process.
Yahoo is now part of Oath. The Yahoo Instant Messenger YIM has also been discontinued.
4) Sun Microsystems
Sun was once a legendary technological pioneer with roots dating back to the 1980s. Sun invented the Java programming language! Until 2000, Sun was one of the most powerful draft animals in the IT business. When the Internet bubble burst, the company stumbled heavily and never really got back on its feet. Firms stopped buying Sun’s high-performance servers, and between 2001 and Oracle’s takeover in 2009, Sun was threatened by declines in revenue, waves of layoffs, and stock slumps.
In 2010, Sun ceased to exist. Its products such as Java, Open Office, Netbeans and My SQL continue to form an important part of the backbone of the modern IT landscape.
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The peer-to-peer file exchange service sparked a veritable revolution in 1999: it enabled users to download music from the Internet. For free! But like most revolutions, this one was fleeting. Napster died a young death in 2001 after a court ordered the closure of copyright infringement. The Napster brand was bought shortly afterwards and reopened as a legally harmless online music shop.
Today Napster competes with many other music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music or Google Play Music, against which it was never able to prevail. Napster provides, among other things, the basis for Aldi Life music. Even if it never regained the revolutionary status of 2000, Napster was something that very few companies can claim: a real pioneer.
6 + 7) Altavista and Geocities
Altavista and Geocities were the same in AOL’s heyday as Google and Wordpress are today – at least before the two companies were bought by Yahoo for a lot of money. However, all the money didn’t help save the two websites. Yahoo shut down Geocities in 2009, while Altavista lasted until July 2013.
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