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25 computer products that refuse to die

Apr 04, 2009, 10:01 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Harry McCracken)

"Packard Bell
What it was: A PC manufacturer (named after a venerable but defunct radio company) that dominated the retail home PC market in the early 1990s. What happened: Numerous products in this article fell on hard times in part because of crummy business decisions by their owners, but no other one did itself in so quickly and so self-destructively as Packard Bell. Its computers were cheap in part because they were terrible and were backed by subpar customer support...

"Zip Disks
What they were: Iomega Corp.'s extremely useful, cleverly marketed high-capacity removable disks, introduced back in 1994, when 100MB qualified as high capacity. They were never as pervasive as floppies, but they must be the most popular, most-loved proprietary disk format of all time.

"What happened: The same things that happened to floppy disks, only more slowly -- and complicated by the malfunction ominously known as the click of death. When cheap CD burners made it easy to store 650MB on a low-cost disc that worked in nearly any computer, Zip started to look less capacious and cost-efficient. And then USB drives -- which offered more storage than Zip and required no drive at all -- came out. Along the way, Iomega launched new disk formats such as Jaz, PocketZip and Rev, but they failed to recapture the Zip magic."

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