Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nothing Lasts Forever: The 12 Most Tarnished Tech Brands

Harry McCracken published his list of the 12 most tarnished tech brands on his Technologizer blog. Some of them are near-forgotten, such as AltaVista, Commodore, CompuServe, Netscape (both of which were driven into the ground by AOL) and Packard Bell. A few are once-well-known brands that are now used by anyone with the money to license them, such as Polaroid and Westinghouse, and one, AT&T, is used mainly for convenience by its acquirer, SBC. One brand that I would have included is Compaq; once one of the most powerful companies in the computer industry, the Compaq trademark is now used to brand HP's cheapest and junkiest PCs.

The list reminds us that even the biggest and most powerful companies can eventually fall apart and become irrelevant. MySpace is heading down this path, and Yahoo! isn't too far behind. Motorola has to prove that the Droid isn't a one-shot wonder like the RAZR was in order to keep off the list. Nortel will certainly be on this list if its trademark continues to be used. Alcatel-Lucent fits the list as well, since it probably won't survive in its current form for much longer.

Who do you think is a candidate for ending up on the scrap heap in 2010?
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