5 big tech companies that no longer exist

They were once great manufacturers of technical devices for consumers. For various reasons, they no longer exist. atechbook shows five companies that you may remember from the past, but no longer exist.

The reasons for a company’s demise are often similar in the tech sector. Some react too late to technical innovations, others focus on the wrong products or are simply poorly managed. In the past, true giants of the tech industry also fell victim to these fates.

1.) Compaq

The name Compaq was also enthroned on many home computers in this country from the mid-1990s until a few years after the turn of the millennium. The US manufacturer started building desktop PCs for home use in the mid-1990s – before many others. Also my first computer incl. tube monitor from 1999 came from Compaq. Particularly popular, because also delivered with good equipment, was Compaq’s Presario series.

A Compaq Presario Photo: Ebay

Compaq’s disappearance had nothing to do with bankruptcy. Rather, tech giant Hewlett-Packard took over the company in the course of a merger in 2002. In some countries, including Germany since 2008, the brand was continued until 2013 at the latest. After that, the name finally came to an end.

2.) Siemens Mobile

Do you remember the last really big German cell phone manufacturer? In the 1990s, Siemens Mobile was one of the biggest brands in the cell phone sector and even pioneered the first devices for a larger audience at the beginning of the decade. In 2005, the Siemens subsidiary came to an end. The complete and exciting history of Siemens Mobile can be found in our article:

The rise and fall of the former cell phone giant Siemens Mobile

3.) Minolta

Nowadays, when buying a camera, many people ask themselves: Canon or Nikon? In the last third of the 20th century, however, it was still different. You were still allowed to ask the question: Canon, Nikon or Minolta. The traditional Japanese company was the third largest camera manufacturer in the world at that time.

Overall, Minolta looks back on a company history from 1928 to 2006. A year before the company withdrew from the camera business, it announced that it would develop new digital cameras in partnership with Sony. However, this did not happen and Sony took over some of Minolta’s systems and built them into their own cameras. The Japanese then shifted their business to other industries under the name “Konica Minolta”. Currently, for example, to cloud solutions.

4.) Netscape

“Netscape Communications” was one of the largest software companies in the Internet sector in the mid-1990s. Netscape achieved popularity with its Internet browser, the “Netscape Navigator”. By 1996, this was the most popular browser on Windows PCs and Macs worldwide. So for Internet users at that time it was usually the first contact with the World Wide Web. Today unimaginable, but for the use of the Internet browser you had to pay at that time. The first version cost 39 US dollars.

But the place at the top of the browsers – for lack of competition – did not last long. In the so-called browser war, the “Netscape Navigator” had to leave the field almost completely to Microsoft’s new “Internet Explorer” in only two years. This came free with every Windows PC and not only ended Netscape’s browser reign, but also heralded the demise of the entire company. The last version appeared in 2008, ten years after Netscape had virtually disappeared from the scene.

But the spirit lives on until today. Based on the code, “Mozilla” was founded and returned to the browser business.

5.) Palm

Even before Blackberrys were the non-plus-ultra for business people, it was often the organizers from manufacturer Palm. The so-called PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) look like Stone Age iPhones. Around the turn of the millennium, Palm was THE manufacturer for pen-controlled pocket computers and had the – albeit small – market largely to itself.

The Palm Zire M150
The Palm Zire M150 Photo: Ebay

Devices like the “Palm Zire” from 2002 couldn’t do much more than an appointment calendar, but they were very handy and, last but not least, kind of cool. Since the devices had no entertainment value and you couldn’t make calls with them, the masses naturally stayed with conventional cell phones.

With the emergence of competition, especially from Microsoft, and finally the invention of the smartphone, Palm’s relevance ended. In 2010, Hewlett-Packard bought the company and sold the rights to the name to China in 2015.


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