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Lessons from 5 Fallen Tech Empires over Last Decade

Source | LinkedIn | Amit Somani | Managing Partner, Prime Ventures (Venture Capitalist) | LinkedIn TopVoices 2019 & 2018 | Ex-Google, Makemytrip, IBM

Life, companies and products each have their ebbs and flows. Some products that were popular towards the end of 2010 have either greatly diminished in impact or have become obsolete . I was reminded that while technology product consumption spreads faster today, like a gust of wind, it can go away just as quickly. 

Here are some of the products which reflect the tech zeitgeist of the last decade but didn’t quite stand the test of time and ended up being a footnote in the tech history

Firefox and Internet Explorer: The browsers have defined the internet for decades since the creation of the Mozilla in 1994. As a graduate student in the US, I remember being one of the earliest users of the Mosaic browser. Mosaic morphed into Netscape and dominated the 1990s, followed by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox in the 2000s. In 2008, IE had almost 60% of the world’s browser market share. Incredibly, despite not having the financial clout of a Microsoft or Google, Mozilla’s Firefox was trailing in a distant second place with roughly one-third of the market. 

Then, Chrome happened.

How did Firefox and IE lose the plot? Firefox tried to be like Chrome and lost its identity and its technology edge. It had better privacy features and was open source. However, Chrome was faster, slicker, more mobile friendly and modern. IE didn’t make the shift from the static web to more richer, web applications. They also allegedly disbanded the original IE team early so the innovations stopped. Of course, I would be remiss in stating that Chrome had Google’s distribution might behind it. Today, Chrome is the defacto browser. As a side note, I believe Sundar Pichai’s meteoric rise in Google to CEO and now to Alphabet CEO started with his bet on Chrome.

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