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Reason for Failure: Competition

Some of the key signs that competition is the cause of failure includes:  trying to disrupt competitors who are well-entrenched, entering a crowded market space with an undifferentiated product, and/or a new competitor offers a better or cheaper way to solve the same problem.

Alta Vista - Failure Museum

AltaVista

AltaVista launched in 1995, which was two years before Google.  Google focused solely on search, while AltaVista built a graphic-rich portal with live news & sports, shopping, and search. AltaVista’s search results pages were filled with irrelevant display ads as they were focused too

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Anchor Steam - Failure Museum

Anchor Brewing Company

In 2023, San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing, who was the oldest craft brewery in the U.S., ceased operations after 127 years. Revenue declined by two-thirds since 2016 due to changing consumer habits and a rebrand that pivoted too far away from it’s classic look.

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AOL

AOL peaked at a $200B market cap; they didn’t want to cannibalize their dial-up business leading to their demise in 2009.

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Ask Jeeves

In 2005, IAC acquired the company for $1.85B; pivoted to be a real-person Q&A site just before Google crushed them

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AWS DeepLens - Failure Museum

AWS DeepLens

Launched in 2018, AWS discontinued DeepLens in 2024. It was the world’s first deep-learning enabled video camera for developers. It was designed to help users grow their machine learning skills through hands-on computer vision tutorials, example code, and pre-built models. TensorFlow, PyTorch, scikit-learn, Keras,

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BetaMax - Failure Museum

Betamax

Introduced in 1975, Sony hoped that the video cassette tape industry and all other manufacturers would adopt the Beta Tape as the standard industry format. Unfortunately JVC, a Japanese-owned rival brand, decided to create their own format, VHS, in 1977. Betamax had a marginally

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Bird - Failure Museum

Bird

In September 2023, Bird was delisted from the NYSE after being valued at $12M. After a 1-for-25 reverse stock split, Bird wasn’t able to achieve a $15M market cap for 30 consecutive days. Bird peaked at a $3B market cap in the public market

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BlackBerry

Excessive focus on enterprise over consumer tastes and preferences led to it’s downfall in 2016. At its height, BlackBerry controlled 45% of the cellphone market.

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Blackberry Storm - Failure Museum

Blackberry Storm

In 2008, Blackberry Storm was RIM’s first attempt at an iPhone rival. Here’s where they went wrong: virtually every single one of the 1 million phones shipped were faulty and needed to be replaced. Blackberry knew the device had major issues, but felt it

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