Special Report

17 Terrible Investments by Amazon

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Years operating: 2006-2018
> Business: video screens

In 2013, Amazon bought LiquaVista, a liquid display company for devices with screens, from Samsung. Amazon acquired the company to help furnish its Kindle e-readers with displays that would preserve battery life. However, new screen tech developed in the following years rendered the Liquavista “electrowetting” tech obsolete. In 2018, Amazon shuttered the company.

Source: AdrianHancu / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Amazon Tickets
> Years operating: 2015-2018
> Business: event ticket sales

Amazon started Tickets in 2015, with its mission statement at the time being “disrupting the entire live entertainment experience.” The U.K.-based company was pegged to be a competitor to major players like Ticketmaster. The company gave up its attempt to unseat those established ticketing giants in 2018.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

TenMarks Education, Inc
> Years operating: 2009-2019
> Business: education

On October 10, 2013, Amazon bought educational software company TenMarks Education, Inc. Tenmarks had developed a system for K-12 teachers to teach the Common Core standardized curriculum. Amazon shut down TenMarks’ operations at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Source: Julie Clopper / Getty Images

Amazon Spark
> Years operating: 2017-2019
> Business: visual shopping platform

Amazon’s Spark service, started in 2017, was based on the idea that shoppers would be able to peruse a feed of images and be able to buy anything they see, directly competing with Instagram’s model. The platform never caught on and Spark shut down in 2019.

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

> Years operating: 2020-2020
> Business: gaming

Crucible, Amazon’s expensive first attempt to enter the increasingly lucrative online gaming market was a dud. The free to play online multiplayer shooter was launched in May 2020, but it was plagued with bugs. The game went back into closed beta the following month for further testing and development, but Amazon ended up pulling the plug in October.

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