Some product launches can be spectacular failures, and Google Glass, an eyeglasses shaped head-mounted device with smartphone capabilities, failed in such a manner several years ago. It was meant to be the first piece of technology to connect the typical consumer to augmented reality.
Google continues to attempt to find a place for the product, but its original launch was a definitive failure. In 2017, the internet giant announced the relaunch of the device to target to businesses rather than the general public, but whatever happens, it will be adopted by a meaningfully narrower audience.
Just like success, failure is part of doing business. Entrepreneurs and large companies often take big risks, hoping for success but not always achieving it.
These failures take many different forms. When a product doesn’t sell, when it is recalled or discontinued, or when it otherwise does not come close to meeting a company’s expectations or plans, it can be marked as a failure. While failures are expected, some can be so catastrophic they can lead to permanent damage to a company’s reputation, layoffs, and even complete financial ruin.
Sometimes, it can take years, or even decades for a product flop to disappear from the market. This was the case with Betamax a video format which Sony introduced, expecting it to replace VHS. Despite being technologically superior to VHS, Betamax lost market share until it eventually vanished.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed some of the greatest product launch blunders throughout history. Today, these product flops exist as case studies companies use to avoid future failure. They range from Ford’s Edsel in 1958 to 2016’s Galaxy Note 7. Many of these products led to losses in the hundreds of millions, and sometimes billions. In tech, film, the internet, the pharmaceutical industry, and more, these are the biggest product flops of all time.