Motorola fails to lead the mobile revolution with its Iridium satellite phone

Motorola fails to lead the mobile revolution with its Iridium satellite phone

Barry Bertiger was one of Motorola’s brightest engineers who first concocted the idea for the Iridium project in 1985 when his wife complained that she was unable to reach clients via her cell phone from the Bahamas.   As a result, Bertiger envisioned a communication framework that would allow effortless communication between every corner of…

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Wow! Chips cause abdominal cramps and anal leakage in unsuspecting customers

Wow! Chips cause abdominal cramps and anal leakage in unsuspecting customers

  WOW! Chips were fat free potato chips produced by Frito-Lay that contained Olestra. They were first brought to the marketplace in 1998, and were initially marketed under the Lay’s, Ruffles and Doritos brand umbrellas. Despite initially proving popular and clocking up sales of $400 million in the first year, they subsequently dropped to sales…

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Netflix almost destroys itself by creating Quikster

Netflix almost destroys itself by creating Quikster

  Netflix’s streaming business had grown so quickly by 2010 that the company had shifted its focus from being the fastest-growing customer of the United States Postal Service’s first-class mail service, to the largest evening traffic source for Internet streaming in North America. The company subsequently introduced a standalone streaming service that was separate to…

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Quaker oats acquires Snapple and ends up losing $1.6 million per day

Quaker oats acquires Snapple and ends up losing $1.6 million per day

  Quaker Oats was founded in 1901 when four oat mills merged to form a larger entity. Over the subsequent years the company expanded into numerous other areas of business such as acquiring other breakfast cereals, food and drink products and even into completely unrelated fields such as children’s toys. The company bought Stokely-Van Camp,…

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News Corps oversees the demise of Myspace

News Corps oversees the demise of Myspace

  Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation acquired Myspace in July 2005 for $580 million. Myspace was the largest social networking site in the world at the time and by June 2006 it had overtaken Google as the most visited website in the United States. At its peak in 2007, Myspace was valued at $12 billion but…

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Daimler Chrysler merger fails due to cultural differences

Daimler Chrysler merger fails due to cultural differences

  Back in May 1998, the top brass at car giants Daimler-Benz and Chrysler announced the biggest cross-border merger in industrial history. The rationale at the time was quite clear. Chrysler languishing in third place in the Detroit Big Three, was struggling to maintain its productivity and world standing.  The more prestigious Daimler Benz on…

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Kodak invents the digital camera but doesn’t recognise its true potential

Kodak invents the digital camera but doesn’t recognise its true potential

On September 4, 1888 George Eastman and Henry A. Strong founded Eastman Kodak. The company held a dominant position in the photographic film industry throughout most of the 20th century and their ubiquity was such that their “Kodak moment” tagline became a popular figure of speech to describe a personal event that demanded to be…

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Napoleon Bonaparte sells half the US for $15 million in the Louisiana Purchase

Napoleon Bonaparte sells half the US for $15 million in the Louisiana Purchase

  U.S. representatives agreed to pay $15 million to the French government for 828,000 square miles of land that stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada on April 30th, 1803. The deal, which has come to be known as the Louisiana Purchase, almost doubled the…

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Blockbuster passes on the chance to buy Netflix and ends up going bankrupt

Blockbuster passes on the chance to buy Netflix and ends up going bankrupt

  Blockbuster was a retailer of home movie and video game rental services. At its peak back in 2004, the company consisted of approximately 60,000 employees and 9,000 stores that generated revenues of $5.9 billion.   Back in the year 2000 Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix, approached former Blockbuster CEO John Antioco and asked…

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Xerox invents personal computer technology and gives it away for nothing

Xerox invents personal computer technology and gives it away for nothing

  Back in 1979, a twenty-four-year-old Steve Jobs paid a visit to a research facility in Silicon Valley known as Xerox parc. He was the co-founder of a small computer start up down the road in Cupertino named Apple Computers.   Xerox Parc was the research and development arm of the Xerox Corporation. It was,…

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