They live fast and often die young, although the state of the corpse is often questionable. Technology is a cutthroat industry, with products "dying" all the time, through obsolescence, competition, or just plain incompetence.
With the Halloween season upon us, let's take a walk through 2016's tech graveyard, and pay tribute to those that have fallen.
To The Dead Of The Technology Wars, We Salute You
United States ICANN Control
For nearly fifty years, the United States were the defacto "owners" of the Internet, thanks to US governmental control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This group, which handles top-level web Domain and IP Address assignments, was officially re-organized into a multi-national, multi-shareholder governance model without any direct US oversight on October 1. Whether privatization will be good or bad for ICANN has yet to be seen, but it does represent another step towards the Internet becoming a truly global resource.
The Samsung Note Smartphone
It seems borderline distasteful to mention the Note, since it has caused a lot of real-world harm, but it's also impossible to overlook. The Note 7 is likely to be remembered alongside the 70s Ford Pinto as one the most infamously dangerous defective products ever made. (Even if, like the Pinto, its reputation is probably worse than the reality.) While Samsung has not officially announced the end of the Note line, it's nearly inconceivable that they'd try to resurrect the brand now that it's so synonymous with "explosion" that there are video game mods turning it into a bomb substitute.
And while we're on the topic of Samsung...
If you're saying "Samsung what?" well, there's the problem. Samsung Milk Music was their 2014 attempt to compete with other high-profile music streaming services such as Apple Music and Microsoft Groove, but it completely failed to catch on. Even dedicated Samsung device owners generally ignored it in favor of other alternatives, and may not have even realized it was an option. The servers officially shut down in September.
Is something dead when it cannot truly be said to have ever lived? Very very few people really expected glasses-based 3D televisions to take off, but none the less, there was a moderate fad for them between about 2012-2015. However, with Samsung's (yes, again) announcement that they were discontinuing all 3D TV sales early this year, the fate of the technology was basically sealed, considering that Samsung is the world's #1 TV brand. At this point, the only manufacturer still actively supporting 3D TV is LG. And with VR now on an upswing, there's even less reason than ever for a 3D TV.
The Polycom-Mitel Deal
The long-in-discussion Polycom and Mitel deal for two telephony giants to merge was called off in June of 2016, and clearly no one was shedding any tears - both companies' stock rose considerably following its termination. It's becoming all too common for mega-companies to consider even larger mega-mergers, even when the venture seems ill-advised. Score one for common sense.
The Nintendo WiiU
The WiiU was one of the most poorly-marketed and poorly-received consoles of Nintendo's long and storied history. It was their second worst-selling after the botched 1995 VirtualBoy and a devastating disappointment after the huge success of its predecessor, the Wii. Between the recent crowd-pleasing announcement of its successor, the Nintendo Switch, and upcoming ports of several of its best-selling titles to Nintendo's still-thriving handheld 3DS platform, the WiiU is now on death row and counting down the days with no chance of reprieve.
In retrospect, putting this article together, this really has been a pretty good year for technology overall. There have been relatively few high-profile "deaths," compared to the bloodbaths that were 2014 and 2015. It may have simply been that so many failed companies in the last couple years have eased the burden on borderline cases -such as Blackberry- and allowed them to live to fight another day.
Can you think of any major tech deaths we overlooked? Let us know!