The 7 Worst New Product Flops of 2011
byDec 29th 2011 1:15PM
By Charles B. Stockdale, 24/7 Wall St.
A number of incredible new products were launched this year. Apple (AAPL) introduced the iPhone 4S -- a phone with voice command and the much ballyhooed Siri personal assistant software. Boeing's (BA) 787 Dreamliner -- a fuel efficient jet built using carbon composite -- finally had its first commercial flight.
But of course, not all products and services launched this year flew quite so high -- indeed, some crashed and burned spectacularly. 24/7 Wall St. looked at the major product launches of 2011 to identify the biggest duds of the bunch.
New products generally fail either because they're inferior versions of already successful offerings, or because it turns out there was little demand for them in the marketplace. Research In Motion's (RIMM) PlayBook was a fine example of the former. In a market dominated by the iPad at the high end and the Kindle Fire at the low end, there was just no room for a poorly designed tablet. RIM publicly blamed its weak sales on competitive shifts in the market, referring to the release of Kindle Fire.
Many companies also often fail to understand consumer sentiment and, as a result, do not accurately estimate demand for the product. When Netflix (NFLX) announced it would spin off its DVD-by-mail service in the form of a new service called Qwikster, customers were outraged. Nobody wanted to use the new site, and they definitely didn't want to pay extra money for it. Even though Qwikster perished before it was even launched, the blunder cost Netflix many customers.