The world of IT and office computing is one that is exceptionally fast-moving, with the standards and expectations of users evolving in ways that are not always expected.
As a result, some software companies try to get ahead of the curve and develop what they think the market wants. However, as with any gamble, sometimes it does not pay off and can lead to a catastrophic bust. In some cases, it can take out an industry giant.
Here are some of the biggest busts in office software.
The tragic tale of Netscape Navigator, a web browser that made the early internet what it was is often interpreted as the story of how a promising business was struck down by Microsoft around a time when its business practices were part of an antitrust lawsuit.
However, Netscape could have potentially weathered this, particularly since its purchase by AOL meant that it could afford to release its browser for free and serve as an effective alternative.
Unfortunately, Netscape 6 took so long that they skipped a version number, and in the end was a bloated mess that barely worked on any computer that wasn’t at the time seen as high end.
Netscape would decline shortly after, although its legacy persists through The Mozilla Foundation, which it founded and which develops the Firefox web browser.
Intuitive design is a very important part of any computer system, and the intentions of Bob were noble and positive. It was intended to provide an easy, comfortable interface for people not used to computers to be able to do whatever they liked.
Unfortunately, it was rubbish, with a combination of a slow interface, fewer options, the introduction of Clippy the assistant and the development of Comic Sans MS, one of the most maligned system fonts ever made.
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