The most famous mistakes in the IT industry


Often questions arise - why in the world of information technology, some of the largest deals remain unfulfilled, and the most promising products do not develop beyond plans? There is only one reason for this - the respective companies, like their leaders, simply did not understand what they were missing out of their hands. They could not predict the future course of events.

As a result, only a minor change in circumstance at one time could have led to the emergence of neither Microsoft nor Apple. In an alternate world, the main search engine would not be Google, but Yahoo. Our computer would be Xerox, we would use the CompuServe service, and listen to music through RealPod. Of course, it's easy in hindsight to remain smart.

But let's take our advantage and take a look at past events in information technology. Here are 10 of the most annoying high-tech missed opportunities and how they could change our world.

Microsoft rescue Apple. In the late 1990s, Apple faced great difficulties. Mac computer sales have dropped markedly. Their cheaper clones from Power Computing and Radius entered the scene. Apple began to experience financial difficulties, and the share price was about $ 5. The company's management was looking for a new head, CEO, to replace Gil Amelio. At this difficult moment, an unexpected friend - Microsoft - lent a helping hand to the company. She made a financial injection of $ 150 million. In addition, Microsoft has promised to continue developing its office suite for MacOS. The negotiations were led by the famous Steve Jobs, the future head of Apple. Curiously, this news from his lips was greeted with a whistle at the Macworld Expo conference. But that didn't stop Jobs from soon becoming Apple's interim CEO. The further course of events is known to everyone. Apple has risen to life as one of the world's leading IT leaders. What would have happened if Microsoft hadn't taken such a step? It is quite possible that WinPhone would reign on the market today, we would download music on them through WinTunes. The film and online music market would be stagnant, or worse, under the full control of the Hollywood dealers. And all users would look forward to the release of a better alternative to Windows.

Underestimating Google. In the mid-1990s, nobody knew about Google. At that time, the most advanced search engine was not even Yahoo, AltaVista, Lycos or Hot Wired. Leadership belonged to the Open Text search engine. It was she, like Google today, who did the search most quickly, accurately, covering the entire amount of information. In 1995, the managers of the Open Text company reasonably argued that their system was able to index every word of the 5 million documents that at that time made up the World Wide Web. In the same year, Yahoo was able to integrate the Open Text search technology into its services. But after two years of collaboration, Open Text decided not to further develop its search technologies, moving on to work on enterprise data management systems. Just a year later, a new player appeared on the scene - Google. Such a step by the leading company can be considered a real mistake and a missed opportunity. At the time, Open Text felt that Internet search engines had low business potential. Now experts note that at the time of its heyday, Open Text stood out from among its kind with a unique search technology, which is quite similar to what Google is currently using. A new player entered the market, lagging behind the entire industry for three years. At that time, it was necessary to assess whether the company will develop rapidly and invest, whether it will be able to bypass the leaders? The situation could have turned out quite differently, and Google itself could have been in a different place. It is safe to say that services for working with information on the Internet would be different, and Android would hardly appear.

Craigslist vs. Newspapers. At one time, newspapers failed to consider the formidable omen. It is no secret that newspapers are "dying", but newspaper ads are probably already irrelevant. Many believe that Craigslist has become the main weapon against them. The free ad resource has been accused of knocking the ground out of the traditional print media. But this is what brought them significant income over the years. So, in 2005, the sagging classified ads market brought owners of magazines and newspapers "only" 17.3 billion dollars. But since then, resources like Craigslist, eBay, Amazon and Google have at least doubled their presence in the market. The share of thematic advertisements in print has halved. But in 2005, when newspapers were still dominating, a consortium of printers could buy Graigslist. Then the situation on the market would have been completely different. At that time, it was only necessary to persuade the creator of Craigslist Craig Newmark to make a deal. He himself said in January 2008 that one should not exaggerate the role of his company in reducing the income of the newspaper industry. This myth was beneficial to the newspapermen themselves. The same Newmark notes that the biggest problem of newspapers today is the facts and their relevance.

CompuServe and Leadership Lost. If you look at the current Internet, you can find a network filled with social networks, interactive resources, user information. However, in fact, this is just a more adapted to the current realities version of the CompuServe resource, which was launched in 1994. But at one time, this company was never able to become a leader in innovative computer technologies, losing its battle to AOL and its 50 billion "free" CDs. In his book How to Find Customers on the Internet, Gregory Kip recalls that in the early 1990s, the CompuServe information service was a compelling set of features that others had to go and go. The company had a loyal customer base, an abundance of information about their tastes, a useful knowledge base, and almost no competitors in this niche. The service turned out to be unclaimed for a banal reason - the company did not want to invest money in its advantages in order to monetize the results later. Soon the giant AOL appeared on the horizon, offering uniform unlimited rates. This is a powerful alternative to CompuServe's hourly pricing. The user interface was simple, and aggressive CD marketing was added. Those customers who used CompuServe services switched to the Internet, the company supported its technologies poorly. In 1997, AOL acquired CompuServe completely, and as a result, it completely dissolved in the IT market within a decade. Gregory Kip believes that the reason for failure lies not even in one missed opportunity, but in a whole series of mistakes. The fate of CompuServe can be a lesson in how a good idea can go missing.

Changing the course of the recording industry. The music industry, more than anything, can reproach itself for missed opportunities. In 1999, Sean Fenning's "Naspter" file-sharing network was born. People were able to easily share music right in real time. This could not please the record companies, which immediately sued Napster, accusing it of helping copyright infringement. Napster CEO Hank Bury offered a compromise to the music industry. Music could be distributed on the network like radio, and performers would be paid royalties. But this call was ignored. Soon, Napster users migrated to other P2P networks such as Gnutella and Grokster. The American Recording Association has gotten a powerful enemy - the music pirates. The year 2000 became a landmark when the mp3.com website launched a special service that allows users to upload tracks from their personal music collections there and provide them to other people. The record companies again sued for complicity in piracy, winning it. The mp3.com service was sold and the business model was simply changed. This was followed by a series of lawsuits from record companies against Grokster, Morpheus, Kazaa and thousands of other musical resources of this kind. As a result, subscription sales and streaming services like Pandora are dominating the digital music world today. At one time, the leaders of the recording market ignored the call to team up with Napster, mp3.com and other companies providing similar services. Today, instead of courts, it would be possible to control the sale of digitized music, and the problem of piracy would not be so acute.

Xerox the other way. This story is considered a classic. More than 10 years before the advent of personal computers running Windows and Mac, long before the MITS Altair microcomputers, there was Alto. It was the world's first computer with a windowed user interface. It was developed by Xerox, the product had a mouse, the ability to connect to a local network and a text document editor "visivig", arranged on the principle of "what you see". However, back in 1973, the personal computer market simply did not exist, so Xerox simply did not know what to do with its revolutionary creation. The company created several thousand of these computers, which were housed in universities in the country. According to legend, Steve Jobs visited the Xerox Research Center in Palo Alto in 1979. Soon, many of the Alto's features appeared in the first Apple computers - the Lisa and Mac. Xerox eventually realized its mistake, starting work to promote the Xerox Star graphic workstation. It is based on technologies previously developed for Alto. But it was already quite late. Windows and Mac personal computers dominate the market today, and it could have been different.

Digital Research and Microsoft. This story is also considered a classic. In 1980, IBM was looking for a disk operating system developer for its new personal computer. At that time, Microsoft's choice in this capacity was extremely dubious. Even Bill Gates himself suggested to the giant company to try Gary Kildall from Digital Research as a developer. At that time, he was already the author of the CP / M operating system for microcomputers. According to legend, Kildall decided not to consider the offer from IBM, at that moment he was in a hurry for the plane. In fact, everything was not so - Gary flew to a meeting with another customer, and he entrusted negotiations with IBM to his wife. For some reason, she decided that the proposal of the "blue giant" was not profitable enough, so we will send representatives of the company home. Then IBM was forced to turn to Bill Gates. He and his partner Paul Allen quickly created MS-DOS, which was based on the development of Tim Paterson's QDOS (from the English Quick and Dirty Operating System), which itself was based on CP / M. As a result, IBM provided users with the first personal computer, both MS-DOS for $ 60, and one of the CP / M variants for $ 240. It is probably not surprising that the less expensive product survived in the end. But before the creation of MS-DOS, the largest development of Microsoft was various versions of programming tools in BASIC. DOS was the first stepping stone to the company's success, who knows if Microsoft could have become what it is today without a contract with IBM?

Disc format war. At one time, Sony and Toshiba decided not to seek a compromise on a single format for laser discs. As a result, the high-definition disc format war has cost both sides dearly. On the one hand, Sony came up with its Blu-ray, and on the other - Toshiba with its HD DVD. Disputes between powerful opponents have been going on since 2002, each in turn attracted allies to its side, who promised to support this particular format. 2008 was a turning point in the war, Sony literally stabbed the enemy in the back - for 400 million dollars, one of the main supporters of HD DVD, Warner Brothers Studios, began to support Blu-ray. It is curious that such a war was not a novelty for companies; in the mid-nineties, they also fought for various high-definition video formats. Then the disagreements were brought to a common denominator, efforts were combined. As a result, a universal digital disc appeared - DVD. This time, both companies missed the opportunity to create a single high-definition disc format, which resulted in significant losses for both Sony and Toshiba. If both companies joined forces in 2002, then today we would enjoy the dominance of high definition discs in the video content media market. Today, there are as many as 10 DVDs per Blu-ray disc sold. The future belongs to streaming video and systems that provide video on demand.

An underrated iPod. Many people believe that Steve Jobs invented the iPod. In fact, this is not the case. At one time, he simply agreed to cooperate with Tony Fadell, who in the fall of 2000 was unable to convince the management of Real Networks of the attractiveness of his invention. They didn't appreciate the idea of ​​creating an entirely new type of music player. And Fadell's former employer, Philips, was skeptical of such thoughts. By that time, the market was saturated with MP-3 players. But Tony's concept model was fundamentally different from generally accepted standards. Its player was thinner, smaller, and its content delivery system provided music lovers with easy ways to fill their player with new music. But Steve Jobs became famous for his active work in promoting the design of iPods. Apple has refined its content delivery system, giving it the name iTunes. As a result, about 80% of the digital music market today belongs to Apple. Tony Fadell himself worked in the iTunes department until November 2008. And real Networks still makes regular players, but its revenues can hardly be compared to what Apple gets from iTunes alone.

Escaped Facebook. In 2006, Facebook was only two years old. At that time, many believed that this social network was intended only for students from prestigious universities. Even though Facebook has already registered 8 million people, how could that compare to MySpace's 100 million? When Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, was offered a tidy sum of a billion dollars by Yahoo (and in 2005, the amount Rupert Murdoch paid for MySpace was half), everyone advised him to take the money without hesitation. Mark, who at that time was not yet 23 years old, agreed. The parties signed a contract in June 2006. But then Yahoo published disappointing data on its financial condition, and its shares in one day fell by almost a quarter. To cut costs, the CEO of the company, Terry Samel, decided to cut the deal and offered Zuckerberg $ 800 million. This time the young man refused. Yahoo returned to its original terms after two months, but it was too late. Today Facebook has over 600 million users, and the company is worth at least $ 35 billion. Only a few years have passed, and Yahoo, having replaced several directors, is still struggling to survive.


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