This web innovator was too smart for its own good when it decided to spin off the DVD-delivery service as Qwikster. The move showed the worst possible timing, as the company had just doubled rates on its combo DVD+streaming plan. Netflix had a one-stop shop to order DVD deliveries or stream movies to any web-connected device – HDTV, MacBook Pro, smart phone – but users would now be forced to go to a different website for each service. Netflix reversed its decision within a month, but took a big hit to its reputation.
The high-flying Google axed a lot of products in 2011, often without warning, and suffered some backlash for it. With a presence on every platform from Android tablets to Apple’s iMac, Google has always provided great tools, but when they disappear people are often left with broken workflows. In 2011, Google dumped the following apps and services:
Android App Inventor, a favorite of computer science teachers;
Labs, the near-legendary collection of cool, useful, experimental apps;
Code Search, a developer tool;
Timeline, a date-range filter for search results;
Wave, a poorly defined collaborative real-time something-or-other; and
various other apps and services.
If you depended on the trashed tools, you are out of luck. Fortunately, some of them – App Inventor and Code Search, to name two – went “open source” and are still available.
HP bought Palm in 2010 and got webOS with it. Tech observers were hoping for a “third way” for tablets, an alternative to iOS and Android, but got the notoriously kludgey HP TouchPad. We see the popularity of our iPad rental and understand why companies want to emulate its success, but HP’s idea of beating the Apple tablet on price ensured the TouchPad’s demise. Soon enough, retailers were sitting on several hundred thousand of them.
In a move that precipitated his replacement by Meg Whitman, then-CEO Leo Apotheker axed the product and blew them out the door starting at $99, a move repeated in mid-December. Although HP appeared to be leaving the consumer PC market altogether, that didn’t quite happen, but after Whitman replaced Apotheker the company released webOS as open-source code. Perhaps “the crowd in the cloud” can finish what HP started.
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