Survival, in the business field, depends to a large extent on the capacity to adapt to the constant cultural and technological transformations. This has caused that some of the most important companies have had to learn – the hard way – that it is not easy to adapt to the demands of the market for such extensive periods without making some changes. And unfortunately, many of these companies had to close operations.
These are classic examples of companies that disappeared for committing some unforgivable mistakes:
The company was born in 1972, but success came five years later with the Atari 2600 console. It sold more than 42-million units worldwide. However, by 1982, the company went through a crisis that could never be recovered: that Christmas, they launched “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial “, considered by many the worst video game in history.
What happened? In 1976, after being acquired by Warner, the company focused on the sale of consoles rather than the development of video games. After producing classics like “Space Invaders”, “Donkey Kong” and Pac-Man “, Atari was relegated with the appearance of Nintendo and Sega, who released Super Mario Bros (1985) and The Legend of Zelda (1986).
In 1881 Eastman Kodak Company was founded under an innovative concept: to simplify the process of printing plates to take photographs. For 1888 Kodak launched the Folding Pocket, the first pocket camera, with replaceable film cartridges, introducing since then the common man to the world of photography.
In the seventies, Kodak solidly dominated the film and camera market. But in 2012, the company declared bankruptcy. What happened? Kodak created the first digital camera in 1975, but as they had a monopoly on film rolls, they felt that it was not wise to commercially develop this product at that time. It was his worst decision. LG, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic finished their monopoly in less than two years.
Blockbuster was the largest video rental chain in the world, with thousands of stores and millions of customers. His business model consisted of charging for the rental of movies and a large percentage of his earnings came from a late fee policy for delays in the return of videos.
What happened? In the year 2000 Blockbuster received a proposal to buy Netflix, a small company that rented movies through postal mail. Netflix, for the modest sum of 50-million dollars, offered the company to join efforts to grow in the streaming format, but Blockbuster was not interested in the proposal, and we know what happened next: piracy and the advent of broadband internet quickly became a threat. Blockbuster closed its last stores in 2013.
For fourteen consecutive years Nokia was the leading brand in mobile telephony in the world. However, by 2011, it lost more than 40% of the global market. What happened? On January 9, 2007 Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, and, in 2008, the Android operating system was launched.
What happened? While Nokia focused on its E and N series to compete with Blackberry in the executives and businessmen market, smartphones monopolized the millennial and digital natives segment, generations that used cell phones to interact in social networks.
What’s the great moral of these stories? To always innovate and not close yourself just to one thing given that the world is constantly changing.