50 Worst Product Flops of All Time
31. HD DVD
> Company: Toshiba
> Year introduced: 2006
> What it was: Media storage/playback device
Blu-ray’s succession of the DVD was not preordained. Before Blu-ray was the dominant medium for video playback, it was competing with Toshiba’s HD DVD. Essentially the same product, HD DVD was effectively taken out to pasture when in January 2008, Warner Bros. announced it would only support Sony’s Blu-ray format. Toshiba was not the only loser in the battle against Blu-ray. Millions of Americans found themselves stuck with HD DVD players and laptops after the dust settled.
32. Microsoft Bob
> Company: Microsoft
> Year introduced: 1995
> What it was: User interface
Microsoft released Microsoft Bob in March 1995. Intended as a simple, easy-to-use OS interface at the time, Bob presented the desktop as a house, with familiar objects corresponding with different computer applications. Clicking on the stationary lying on a desk, for example, opened the word processor. Despite its simple appearance, Bob required more processing power than most home computers had in 1995. Bob was also considered too expensive and poorly designed, and was overshadowed by the release of Windows 95 later that year. Bob was discontinued roughly a year after its release.
33. 47 Ronin
> Company: Universal Pictures
> Year introduced: 2013
> What it was: Movie
The 2013 fantasy action film “47 Ronin”, starring Keanu Reeves, is now notorious as one of the biggest box office flops of all time. The movie lost nearly $150 million on a $225 million budget and left Universal Pictures in the red for the fiscal year. Insiders point to multiple rewrites of the screenplay as well as several post-production changes that were made as filmmakers and studio executives attempted to find creative balance while appeasing moviegoers. In the end, the film failed to strike a chord with audiences and critics alike.
> Company: Netflix
> Year introduced: 2011
> What it was: DVD rental service
Before Netflix became the media streaming giant we know today, it was exclusively a deliver-by-mail DVD rental service. In an ill conceived of strategy, CEO Reed Hastings announced in September 2011 the company’s plan to spin off its DVD rental service into a separate company, known as Qwikster. The move, which was meant to allow Netflix to focus more on its streaming services, would have cost consumers about 60% more if they wished to continue to have access to both services. Unpopular with customers and widely criticized, Hastings scrapped the plan less than a month after it was announced.
35. Virtual Boy
> Company: Nintendo
> Year introduced: 1995
> What it was: Portable game console
Virtual Boy was game console maker Nintendo’s early foray into virtual reality technology. However, the company discontinued the portable console less than a year after its 1995 release, selling just 770,000 units globally. It is known as one of the company’s worst failures. To cut costs and reduce battery drain, Nintendo used only black and red shades in Virtual Boy games, which bothered some users. Using the Virtual Boy also caused eye strain in some users, which led Nintendo to include an automatic shutoff mechanism.