13 Technologies That Died on Arrival

4. Betamax

The Betamax is another piece of technology that was successful in comparison to some others (ie. the LaserDisc), but failed to have the critical success necessary to ultimately triumph in the videotape format war. The Betamax first appeared in stores in 1975. Initially developed by Sony, many different companies like Toshiba, Pioneer, and AIWA signed contracts with Sony to produce Betamax players. Although it did have a run of about 40 years on the market, Betamax is now a popular example of a technology that ultimately failed.

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5. Apple Newton

The Apple Newton was one of the first personal digital assistants (PDAs) on the market when it was released in 1993. At the time, it was revolutionary. It came loaded with tools like a calculator, notes function, time-zone map, and unlike any other products on the market, it had a function that could recognize handwriting and convert it to a typed note. It was taken off the market by Steve Jobs himself after only 5 years as the high price and the fact that the handwriting feature (which was one of its selling points) often didn’t work made it a critical failure.


Introduced in 1980, dBase was the one of the very first database management systems for the new microcomputer. The company that produced it was Ashton-Tate, and they were initially successful because their product was one of the most used pieces of software for the PC platform. However, with the introduction of the dBase IV update, Ashton-Tate found themselves floundering. The design of the update was so poor that most people switched to an alternate system of database management rather than stick with the dBase product.

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