Top flops in IT: the 13 most short-lived products

We are showing 13 IT products that failed in no time at all. You probably know the Note 7 from Samsung. But do you still remember the WeTab that was supposed to compete with the iPad? And did you know that Wikipedia once existed on paper? As a paperback series!

Wikipress: online encyclopedia Wikipedia as a paperback series

It sounded like a contradiction from the start: The online encyclopedia Wikipedia appears as a printed book on paper. To be more precise: a responsible author summarizes thematically appropriate articles in a paperback. For example, about seals. Or about our solar system and about computer security. The paperback Wikipedia. The book again provided detailed information about the free online encyclopedia. If you didn’t know Wikipedia before, you could create your own articles or improve existing ones after reading the paperback. All of these books were published by Zenodot Verlag, which was part of Directmedia. In 2008, the Wikipedia encyclopedia followed in one volume with the 50,000 Wikipedia articles most frequently accessed in 2007/2008. This thick book, however, was published by Wissen Media Verlag, which belonged to Bertelsmann.

This paperback project started in 2005. Right from the start we had our doubts, which aroused displeasure among those responsible for the project. But we were proved right: after around a year and a few issues, the responsible publisher, Zenodot, buried the project.

Incidentally, the paperback series was already the second attempt for a printed Wikipedia. Because before that, the Zendot-Verlag had already planned a 100-volume encyclopedia edition of the complete Wikipedia. However, that also failed, as was actually to be expected.

If you want to deal more intensively with the printed Wikipedia, you will find reading material here:

Wikipedia appears as a printed dictionary appears as a 100-volume print edition

For the time being, Wikipedia does not come as a 100-volume dictionary

Wikipedia goes offline – and on the shelf

Wikipedia Lexicon in one volume

Again the book project with Wikipedia fails

New Wikipress Volume: Computer Security

Wikipedia starts in book format

Spectacular failure

The 5.7-inch smartphone / phablet Galaxy Note 7 was Samsung’s great hope. The South Koreans wanted to put a high-priced, high-performance smartphone on the market from August 2016, which would not only stand up to the competition from Apple – the iPhone 7 Plus – but also promise a really good profit margin, which is otherwise only achieved by Apple. But the Note 7 failed miserably: The batteries from the first batch could catch fire, as did the replacement devices from the second batch. On October 11, 2016, Samsung officially stopped production. Samsung will take back all first and second batch smartphones that have already been shipped. The Note 7 disaster occurred at the same time as the iPhone 7 (Plus) was presented – the Californians couldn’t have asked for better advertising. But Samsung has long since recovered from this setback and is selling its smartphones again with great success. For the Galaxy Note, however, the end will come at the end of 2021.

In the gallery we show you 13 products whose lifespan has never cracked the 1-year limit on the market, or which have never even been brought to market. Most of these products were made by big companies who should have known better.

Silicon Valley corporations like to say of themselves: “We’d rather lose quickly”. What they mean is: They love to try out new ideas and technologies; but when something doesn’t work in the market, they give it up relatively quickly. Companies invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a new product and make a big wind about it – and only months later it has disappeared from the scene again. If it ever sniffed market air at all.

Hewlett-Packard’s TouchPad was such a questionable poster child for incredibly short-lived tech products. The touchpad is in well-known company: Famous and notorious flops such as Audrey, the G4 Cube and Foleo, for example.

Broken products from Germany

But there are also examples from Germany of particularly spectacularly failed IT products. The notorious WeTab (original name: Wepad) from the Berlin company Neofonie was supposed to compete with the iPad in 2010. But the first presentation of the WeTab was completely unsuccessful because a Windows error message appeared on the tablet supposedly running on Linux during the press conference. Product reviews on Amazon turned out to be bogus. The WeTab also failed in our test. In November 2010, Neofonie finally gave up.

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