For years, video rental stores were the only way to get the latest new releases. Then came Netflix, making that short trip even shorter by putting DVDs in our mailbox. The advent of streaming and on demand services were the final nail in the coffin.
Remember when AOL was the Internet? No longer. Its fall from grace is now a classic tale of how quickly things change in tech. The company, however, isn't ready to go away yet. Now, pivoting towards content generation, the firm has picked up a slew of new media outfits including TechCrunch, Engadget and the Huffington Post.
Motorola created not only the first cellphone in the Dynatac (pictured), but also the first mainstream "thin" cellphone in the Razr (also pictured). Now Google looks to be stripping the company for parts (and patents).
So untouchable was Microsoft in the 90s that the U.S. government had to get involved, their dominance so suffocating, it pushed Apple to the brink of oblivion. A decade later, having been trounced in mobile and web by Apple and Google, Microsoft is desperate, all-in and floundering on its Windows 8 platform.
Kodak became synonymous with film photography in the 70s when the company owned 90 percent of the market. They even developed a digital camera in 1975, but fearing that it would cannibalize it's golden goose, film, shelved the project. Today, the company continues its slow, drawn out death as a result of that fateful decision.
Research in Motion
As recently as August 18, 2009, Fortune named RIM the fastest growing company in the world with a growth of 84% in profits over three years despite the recession. The BlackBerry was the corporate standard. Today, it's a relic, it's physical keyboard an ode to the past. Even with BlackBerry 10 due out soon, most are skeptical given the iron grip iOS and Android hold.
Sony pioneered the portable music player space with their iconic Walkman. Has the same company made anything even remotely as notable in the last decade?
Everyone was on Myspace. Until they were all on Facebook. Newscorp bought the most popular social network at the time for a whopping $580 million. It was eventually sold to Specific Media Group and Justin Timberlake for $35 million. A supposed comeback is currently underway, but no one's holding their breath.
Netflix put the video-rental business on its head by offering to mail DVDs directly to your house in their trademark red envelopes. The transition to streaming hasn't been as smooth. Not only is it difficult to differentiate itself on the platform -- Amazon, Hulu and even Walmart have crowded into the space -- negotiations for content were never going to be easy.
Bringing back founder Jerry Yang couldn't re-energize the company after the web started Googling. But selling the company to Microsoft might have saved shareholders. Yang, however, refused. Now, the fate of the firm rests on ex-Googler Marissa Mayer.
For the first time in 14 years, Nokia will no longer be number one in the world for mobile handsets as Samsung is set to become the new king of the hill. But the rot at Nokia began much earlier, having messed up its transition to smartphones with a misplaced bet on the Symbian operating system. While Lumia sales were better than expected last quarter, the poor decision making looks to have continued as Windows 8 Phone continues to lag.
Unable to deal with the growing Amazon threat and the practice of "showrooming," where customers scope out products at brick and mortar stores only to purchase them more cheaply online, Best Buy could soon become ancient history.
How quickly things can change, especially in the world of technology. Giants rise and quickly fall. Those who can't adapt are left in the dust. These 12 companies innovated their way to the top but failed to reinvent themselves once they got there.