Google+ finally ceased operations in April after eight years of efforts to boost interest in the struggling social network. The long-anticipated shutdown represents just the latest major Google product to fail to live up to its promise.
Google has gained notoriety for scuttling dozens of projects, but just like success, failure is part of doing business. Entrepreneurs and large companies often take on big risks, hoping for success but not always finding it.
These failures can take many different forms. Often, a product simply does not connect with consumers and does not sell. In other cases, it may not come close to meeting a company’s expectations or plans, or it is recalled or discontinued for some flaws. These can all be marked as failures. 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 that Sony introduced with the expectation it would 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, of dollars. In tech, film, the internet, the pharmaceutical industry, and more, these are the biggest product flops of all time.