Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Doug's Mailbag: Your Favorite Dead or Defunct Companies and Products

Here are some reader responses to your favorite companies and products that are no longer with us:

Favorite: RAE Assist.
Runner Up: ISSCO Tell-A-Graph (Later purchased and buried by Computer
- Anonymous

I miss WordPerfect. I'm still amazed that a product that had so many worldwide users and two magazines devoted just to the product was so totally overrun by Microsoft Office. WordPerfect was much easier to use than Word and more predictable.

Here's a few I worked with over the past 44 years (and counting) that are no longer with us:

The GE S-210 -- Bank of America used those systems for check processing back in the mid-60's.

Philco -- The California DMV was running a Philco 900 when I started working there. We replaced it with...

RCA Spectra 70 -- DMV's first on-line system (used mag cards for storage).
- Jim

You're missing out on the walking dead. SCO. They once owned a huge swath of small business, but now, after Darl McBride said "All your softwares are belong to us," everyone hates them and they probably haven't sold enough Unix in the past 5 years to cover their electric bills.

And the rapidly approaching dead. 3Com. Founded by Bob Metcalfe (my own personal industry hero!), able to piss off enterprise customers in a big way not once but twice, about to be consumed by HP.
- Karl

What do I miss the most? It’s not really technological, but I miss the Rubik’s cube. I could never figure them out and when I got frustrated I would throw it on the floor or out the window. Can’t really do that with expensive servers or routers now can we?

I do miss the Trash 80. I used to sit at the neighborhood Radio Shack and play with their Trs-80 and program basic programming on it and I’ll never forget the day the new Trash 90’s came out with color screens and speakers and I programmed it to play "Flight of the Bumble Bee" over a crappy little speaker. I had all 5 store clerks and about 20 kids standing around me going oooh and ahhh.
- Brad

Kaypro. I had a Kaypro 2x that I wrote my Masters thesis on. It was still running strong when I gave it to Goodwill twelve years later (as was the Juki printer that came bundled with it).
- Brian

I bet this will be a blast from the past. One of my favorites from the 1980s into the early 1990s is GeoWorks. At the time, GeoWorks put Windows 2.0 and DOS to shame. Unfortunately, GeoWorks went the way of other crusty dusty's from your list, particularly when Windows 95 hit the market.
- Charlie

We got a ton of letters on this topic, so look for even more responses in Doug's next Maibag.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 17, 2010