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4 mega brands that faded into oblivion

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These brands once had a cult following across the globe. But they failed to adapt to the changing times and today, they are all but forgotten….

New Delhi: Over the decades, brands like Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Facebook became household names. In the meanwhile, many such yesteryears’ brands failed to keep pace with the fast-changing world and disappeared from the limelight.

IndiaRetailing looks at some of the past famous brands that faded into oblivion.

  1. Kodak

Kodak was started by George Eastman in America in 1888. He introduced the Kodak camera with the slogan, “You push, we do the rest.” Priced at $25, the camera came with 100 clicks of film, and after that, you had to send the camera back to the Eastman company. They reloaded the camera, printed the film, and sent everything back to you.

Kodak’s downfall started with the instigation of digital cameras. Despite being the pioneer in the field of digital cameras, Kodak was hesitant about ushering in a business that would kill its existing business of camera films.

The other contributor to Kodak’s downfall were the camera phones, which made people more comfortable with digital pictures, and the market for film cameras declined. As a result of this digital revolution, Kodak had to shutter multiple camera film factories, incurring huge losses while new players like Nikon and Fuji rose to fame. After failed attempts at revival in 2012, Kodak declared itself bankrupt. In an attempt to revive its legacy the government of America in 2020 gave the company a loan of $765 million to manufacture drugs, for America and reduce its dependency from other countries according to a news published by CNN .

  1. Blockbuster

Founded by David Cook in 1985 as a home video rental store in America. Blockbuster grew into a big video rental company renting out VHS tapes and DVDs to watch at home. At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster had 9,094 stores and employed approximately 84,300 people to now only a single store left in Bend Oregon in the United States of America.

In 2010, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy after being unable to repay its billion-dollar debt. The very next year, 1700 stores of blockbuster were bought by satellite television provider Dish Network and the last 300 company owned stores were closed in 2014.

  1. Nokia

A 150-year old company that held half of the cell phone market share in its heydays, Nokia went bankrupt in six years after achieving its peak sales due to lack of innovation.

Nokia was founded in 1865 as a paper mill in Tampere, a city located in south-western Finland. The brand is named after a town in Finland.

In early 1990s Nokia entered the telecommunication sector and became the best-selling mobile phone brand in 1998. Nokia launched its first camera phone in 2003—the Nokia 7650. In this very year, the Nokia 1100 was crowned as the best-selling phone ever.

In 2007, half of all the devices sold in the world were Nokia’s, but as the new and innovative smartphones were introduced by companies like Apple and Samsung the sales of Nokia took a big hit, and it partnered with Microsoft to compete with the rising competition in 2011.

Nokia launched the Nokia Lumia with the Windows operating system to compete with Apple’s IOS and Google’s Android, to regain its lost monopoly in the market. Nokia Lumia was a failure due to outdated software and lack of features. In 2012, Nokia faced the likelihood of bankruptcy due to dwindling sales, compelling it to sell its business to Microsoft in 2013.

While Nokia is still in the market with its smartphones, it is nowhere compared to where it once was and is struggling to stand up to the intense competition from other players.

  1. Radio shack

Founded in 1921, in Massachusetts, Boston, America, electronic retail chain Radio Shack started by two London immigrant brothers Therdore and Milton Deutschmann as a mail order business and a single store.

Radio Shack gained popularity by selling army radio equipment. Its walkie talkies and pocket arcades were popular among the youngsters back in ’80s and ’90s.

At one time, there were around 4,300 Radio Shack stores in North America. It lost its monopoly to Best Buy and Walmart and as the prices got competitive, its margins suffered. The rise of e-commerce proved to be the fatal blow that led Radio Shack to file for bankruptcy once in 2015 and again in 2017. Radio Shack stores started shutting at a high pace from 4000 plus stores in 2014 to just 1500 stores in 2017 to just around 400 today.


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