by C.G. Lynch

Dearly Departed 2: Readers’ Most Mourned Dead Products

Nov 20, 20074 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsOperating Systems

Products that just didn't deserve to die, as chosen by readers. We revisit a handful of your favorites--from gaming products to operating systems--and mourn the best and brightest that died an untimely death.

In the first “Dearly Departed,” we showed you a list of companies we didn’t think deserved to die but died anyway—either through incompetent leadership, poor finances or buyouts from competitors. We also asked you, our readers, to provide us with suggestions for companies you wish hadn’t perished. In response, we received a laundry list of suggestions and came up with these five companies to add to our library of the Dearly Departed. Just coming into the thread now? Well, as always, we’re always willing to add more. Feel free to comment below with a beloved company we might have missed.


Dearly Departed: Companies and Products That Didn’t Deserve to Die

Technologies We’re Glad Are Dead

  • Be Inc. logo

    Company: Be Inc.

    Born: 1990
    Died: 2001 (sold to Palm)
  • Cause of Death: Financial trouble and lost out to NeXT to become Apple’s new OS
  • Founders: Former Apple guys Jean-Louis Gassee and Steve Sakoman
  • Most well-known product(s): BeOS and BeBox
  • Why we miss them: An anonymous reader writes: “Be had arguably the best programming API for its OS and was way ahead of its time.”
  • Lasting image/quote: According to an article by MacWorld UK, Gassee wanted to name the company United Technoids Inc. Sakoman, unimpressed with the name, said he would look through a dictionary for a better one. When Gassee asked for an update a few days later, Sakoman said he got tired and stopped at “B”. Gassee said: “Be is nice. End of story.”
  • 3dfx logo
  • Company: 3dfx
  • Born: 1994
  • Died: 2002
  • Cause of Death: Filed for Bankruptcy; sold major assets to competitor, NVIDIA
  • Founders: Ross Smith, Gary Tarolli and Scott Sellers
  • Most well-known product(s): Voodoo Graphics Cards
  • Why we miss them: A reader with the handle Bman wrote: “[Voodoo 2] helped create the world of gaming we have today.”
  • Lasting image/quote: In an interview with Beyond3D in late October 2000, 3dfx Chief Technical Officer and cofounder Gary Tarolli was asked about the company’s unhealthy stock price and what the company planned to do about it. On paper, it appears he bristled at the question, replying, “Release exciting new products in a timely manner, that’s the goal in engineering. Beyond that answer, you should talk to our CEO and/or CFO.” Sure enough, two months later, cofounder Scott Sellers announced the company’s demise in a letter to shareholders.
  • NeXT logo
  • Company: NeXT
  • Born: 1985
  • Died: 1996 (When Apple announced plans to buy it)
  • Cause of Death: Apple bought it to adopt NeXT into its new OS
  • Founders: Steve Jobs (after resigning from Apple)
  • Most well-known product(s): NeXTSTEP OS and NeXTCube
  • Why we miss them: dgeyer wrote: “Even though NeXT still lives on in legacy through OSX, the NeXT cubes and OS were so ahead of their time. Still my favorite computing experience.”
  • Lasting image/quote: The first Web browser, World Wide Web, was developed on a NeXTSTEP platform and NeXT computer by Tim Berners-Lee.
  • Acorn Computers logo
  • Company: Acorn Computers
  • Born: 1978
  • Died: 1999
  • Cause of Death: Financial problems (and subsequently bought by Morgan Stanley)
  • Founders: Hermann Hauser, Chris Curry and Andy Hopper
  • Most well-known product(s): Acorn Electron, the BBC Micro and Acorn RISC PC
  • Why we miss them: Major innovator in microcomputers and RISC PCs
  • Lasting image/quote: Some believe the name Acorn was chosen to come before “Apple” in a directory.
  • Datapoint 2200
  • Company: Datapoint
  • Born: 1967 (started with name Computer Terminal Corp.)
  • Died: 2000
  • Cause of Death: Bankruptcy
  • Founders: Phil Ray and Gus Roche
  • Most well-known product(s): Datapoint 2200, ARCnet
  • Why we miss them: Joseph H. Hoag wrote: “They effectively introduced the LAN to the world and made distributed computing a reality. They also manufactured and sold top quality desktop computer, terminal, storage and printer hardware.”
  • Lasting image/quote: In responding to how, despite inventing one of the first PCs, Datapoint was eventually killed by competitors replicating its invention in the 1980s, patent holder Jack Frassanito told one reporter, “Pioneers get arrows.”