Author Topic: Technica....  (Read 82 times)


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« on: January 06, 2019, 04:54:41 AM »

imminenti morte —
They’re dead to us: The Ars Technica 2019 Deathwatch
Companies, tech, and trends least likely to succeed in 2019, as chosen by Ars editors.

Sean Gallagher, Ron Amadeo, Beth Mole, and Jon Brodkin - 1/5/2019, 8:00 AM

It’s come to this again: 2018 has passed, making the dumpster fire that was 2017 look a bit more like the glory days. Last year ended with the government partially shut down and the market in a deep slide. Tech companies seemed out to outdo each other as cautionary tales, with some of 2017’s biggest losers extending their death rolls and some of the biggest players in the industry seeming to deliberately set themselves on fire.

So, once again it’s time to call out the Deathwatch. If you’re stumbling across Ars’ Deathwatch for the first time, this is not a prediction of the actual demise of companies or technologies. It takes a lot to actually erase a company or a technology from the face of the Earth these days. Even the worst ideas and businesses often linger on through inertia or get absorbed by some other company and metastasize in new and horrific ways—for example, Yahoo. (We’ll get to them soon enough.)
Further Reading
License expired: The Ars Technica 2018 Deathwatch

Instead, Deathwatch is our annual way of identifying those entities facing a different sort of danger: economic, cultural, or legal peril that could render a company irrelevant, inconsequential, or (in some cases) chum for legal and market sharks. Some organizations that have been put on Deathwatch have died a thousand deaths—take RadioShack, for example (a 2014 Deathwatch alumnus... which died a second time after a 2017 reboot). Others, such as BlackBerry, have persisted but have changed so much that they are no longer recognizable as the entities they once were. And then there are others that have so much runway in their death spiral that they could persist as a cautionary tale for decades to come.

To be a candidate for the Deathwatch, a company or product division of a company should have experienced at least one of the following:

    An extended period of lost market share in their particular category
    An extended period of financial losses or a pattern of annual losses
    Serious management, legal, or regulatory problems that raise questions about the business model or long-term strategy of the company or product line

Last year’s class has a high survival rate (for now). Faraday Future was looking like a dead car company walking before reaching a new investor agreement. Management changes at Uber have kept the company driving despite leaping into other markets—but it now faces a whole host of new competition in every segment, on top of its problems with its driverless car business. Twitter became profitable somehow (at least on paper) in 2018, despite the bad press the company garnered over Twitter being the favorite platform of government-sponsored information operations worldwide.

A few honorees remain on life support, however. SoundCloud has been treading water since it nearly ran out of cash in 2017, and it’s not clear what the survival strategy is for the company. HTC somehow also managed to eke out a profitable quarter in 2018—just one, mostly thanks to a cash infusion from a partial acquisition by Google. But that acquisition basically handed Google most of HTC's cell phone operations, so we’re counting HTC out for this year. LeEco, the company previously managed by Faraday Futures’ CEO, is also looking like roadkill in the US. Much of its operations have shut down as the company explores ways to recover.


?Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ?Wow! What a Ride!? ~ Hunter S. Thompson