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The Colorful History of 7 Companies That Failed

I am Muhammad Anjum — the writer, and the promoter. My words have touched millions over the past two decades through my diverse audience

Business Fail

Business Fail

1. Xerox

If you think Xerox is too big to fail, think again. Over a decade ago, the company virtually owned the plain-paper copier market. Now, they must share it with the Japanese. And they're struggling to expand into the office of the future. Even their biggest miscalculation, buying an insurance firm, proved costly. It is a tale that repeats itself repeatedly, and you should take a lesson from the company's mistakes.

One of Xerox's mistakes is its failure to adapt to technology. It was first to develop the PC, but Xerox management decided it would be too expensive to digital. They also failed to recognize that digital communication products would substitute for black marks on white paper. Ultimately, the company did not understand that it needed to adapt to technology changes. As a result, they failed to make the transition to digital communication.

While the company's misfortunes were partly the result of bad luck, they could not have foreseen the potential of localized document reproduction. The centralized reproduction machines remained a core part of the company's business, but Xerox chose to ignore those new capabilities. It thought that its customers would respond to more extensive and worse offerings. However, the failure of Xerox's strategy forced it to restructure to be more efficient.

2. Yahoo

Are Yahoo's Businesses Too Big to Fail? Some say yes, while others argue that it is unlikely. In their view, a big company isn't good for the Internet. Yet, even if the core business is healthy, there is no way to save it from the ravages of time. In the words of one Wall Street analyst, "Yahoo is too big to fail." But is it possible to turn Yahoo around?

It seems like the board of directors of Yahoo has run out of patience with Marissa Mayer and may sell off the company or at least consider a sale. In any case, if the company can survive, it will likely find it difficult to motivate staff members. If Yahoo can withstand the pressure, the future looks bright for the company. In the meantime, the question remains, are its businesses too big to fail?

There are plenty of reasons why a company is too big to fail. For one thing, it doesn't have the prestige of a New York Times or a CBS, and its business models and products have little to do with either of those industries, and it has no reputation to match those of those institutions. However, the media and technology industries have always been at odds, making a company incredibly vulnerable to bankruptcy.

yahoo fail

yahoo fail

3. Polaroid

A decade ago, Polaroid was considered too big to fail, but the company's management was unable to adapt to changing times. In addition to patent violations, the business failed to innovate and embrace the new technologies. Polaroid had to contend with patent infringements and poor company policy with a mediocre business model. Today, the business is still viable and remains one of the most popular and successful companies globally.

Despite its failure to adapt to a changing industry, Polaroid managed to stay on top for decades. The juggernaut of innovation, Polaroid was the Apple of its day. Founder and CEO Edwin Land led the company for over three decades and remained its CEO until it filed for bankruptcy in 2000. Nonetheless, the failure to keep up with technology meant that the company faced financial trouble.

Until the 1990s, Polaroid executives remained steadfast in their belief that paper prints were the best way to capture memories. Even after the digital age, Polaroid's executives believed that paper print would always remain the most desirable medium. In the face of this adage, it's time to adjust. It is why a company has to adapt to new circumstances.


At the end of 2011, MySpace had been valued at $2.5 billion, and many other media conglomerates were interested in purchasing the social network. One such potential buyer was Viacom, looking to revive its flagging MTV channel. However, the deal fell through, and News Corp decided to retain ownership of the company. The company didn't have experience running a social network despite the acquisition. Instead, it hired CEO Tom Anderson and president Mike DeWolfe, both experienced in software development and management, and tasked them with re-branding the site.

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News Corp decided to take over Myspace in January 2011. Van Natta cited frustrations with the company's slow pace of change and entrenched culture. It is important to remember that an ingrained culture is a recipe for disaster in any company. Myspace was owned by News Corp, which laid off 600 employees in January 2011. The broader outlook for Myspace is bleak. Despite the recent news, its continued existence is still progress.

While it's true that Myspace businesses are too big to fail, the founders have been careful not to get ahead of themselves. The founders are still actively involved in the company. The founders have been very busy with their startups, so their business model is so unique. However, this is not a guarantee of long-term success. As a result, it's essential to keep its mission in mind.

5. Sears

The failure of Sears is an example of a business model that is too big to fail. At one point, the company employed over 500,000 people and accounted for about 2% of the U.S. economy. Today, the company is worth just $25 billion, but the retail giant's collapse has left many wondering what happened. In part, the failure resulted from a series of missteps over a long period.

The fall of Sears follows the trajectory of other giant businesses. It innovated its way to colossal profitability in the early years, but once competition caught up, it tried to buy future revenues instead. In the end, it decided to sell off its pieces and reorganize. In the process, it failed to address the reasons for its failure and left itself with a smaller scale and almost no innovation. The results were disastrous for shareholders, customers, and employees.

In the late 1960s, the Sears business went bust. Despite its huge success, the company could not change with the times. By failing to keep up with changing trends and keeping up with the competition, it fell victim to the "death by a thousand cuts." By 1993, the catalog was no longer being printed. But its legacy lives on. Sears has proven that big companies don't need to evolve to stay relevant in many ways.

6. Borders

In September, the bookselling chain Borders will be liquidated and sold off in pieces, laying off nearly 11,000 employees. The company started 40 years ago in Ann Arbor, Mich., and has been one of the most successful book-megastore businesses. However, the company has made several critical mistakes and ultimately failed. Here are a few lessons from the Borders bankruptcy story.

While it was once the biggest bookstore chain globally, Borders has fallen on hard times. The recession has taken its toll on retail businesses, and it has been a long time since the company last enjoyed profits. The company invested heavily in CD sales, and as soon as the iPod rolled around, people stopped buying CDs. The company lost a significant portion of its customer base by reducing its music inventory, and the business model was under pressure.

Some people say that Borders' failure is inevitable, and it has not been and is unlikely to happen. The phrase "too big to fail" describes a type of business that has become too big to fail. The term was coined by Rep. Stewart McKinney in 1984, during a congressional hearing on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's intervention with Continental Illinois bank. The phrase had already been used in 1975 government rescued Lockheed Corp. and a large part of the financial system. But it became popular during the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 when additional government regulations were instituted to reduce the possibility of a too-large-to-fail company.

7. Toys R us

The collapse of Toys R Us demonstrates the difficulty of running a large retail chain in today's market. Despite massive debt, its business model is uncompetitive, and its retail space is overcrowded. With more brick-and-mortar companies shifting their bulk of sales online, the Toys R Us format was unattractive and failed to take advantage of this. The CEO of Toys-R-Us told employees to view the next 60 days as severance to save money. Toys-R-Us stores were drab and poorly organized, and their inventory was cleared through liquidation sales.

Despite the success of the Toys-R-Us model, the company has been facing a challenging time lately. In the middle of the recession, the company filed for bankruptcy at the worst time possible - when Christmas sales were already falling. The filing was a disaster, disrupting the retailer's supply chain and inventory-building process. It also spooked customers who bought fewer gifts at the retailer's closing time.

In the wake of the collapse, the company is considering closing its remaining stores. It is because Toys 'R' Us has failed to adapt to the growing popularity of omnichannel shopping. Many of its competitors closed stores; the loss of this brand could have been avoided with a proper plan. Several other businesses in the same sector have gone bankrupt, so the Toys 'R' Us business model may be the way to go.

Polaroid fail

Polaroid fail

© 2022 Muhammad Anjum

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