Lack of Innovation: Downfall of the Market Giants

In the constantly changing world, change seems to be the only constant. With each passing day, records are broken, new technologies are introduced, and new products are rolled out in the market. With that being said, we all need to keep ourselves updated in order to move hand-in-hand with the new technology-driven world. The same applies to all the products and services. Lack of innovation can really lead to catastrophic results.

Evolution is a continuous process. Likewise, with the emerging wave of technology, the existing companies have to keep their products and services at par with the latest technological advances. This is important in order to sustain in the market and to satisfy the changing customer needs. Some of the companies which did not realize the importance of innovation witnessed a fall from the heights of success to the rock bottom. 

Below are some of the famous examples of companies that saw devastating results due to lack of innovation.

1. Nokia

Nokia is a company founded in Finland. Undoubtedly, it laid the foundation of the cellular network in the entire world.  During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Nokia was the global leader in mobile phones. 

But with the birth of the internet, many other cell phone companies realized that in the upcoming years, data rather than voice will be the anchor to the ship of communication. Hence, they started working on the software aspect rather than laying more stress on the hardware part. Nokia, however, failed to grasp this concept. They focused on hardware instead of software. 

Due to the mere ignorance, the top brand is not very popular these days among the majority of the world population. Nokia phones are still preferred by some people but it is not as popular as it used to be back in the 1990s and early 2000s.

2. IBM

International Business Machines or IMB is an American MNC. It entered the market in the 1960s with the IBM System/360– a family of computers designed to cover the complete range of applications. In the 1990s, IBM failed to acknowledge the Personal Computer revolution. Their downfall began because they focused on the hardware rather than the software. 

But IBM showed us the perfect example of “revamping at it’s best”. Therefore,  at present, after going through several rough patches, IBM is one of the most powerful brands in enterprise software. 

3. Blockbuster

Blockbuster, a video rental company, was at the peak of success in 2004. This company beautifully survived the transition from VHS to DVD. But then, Netflix came into the picture with its innovative idea of delivering the DVDs to customers’ homes. Meanwhile, Blockbuster figured out that their physical stores would be able to keep their customers happy. But looks like it didn’t turn out well because, in 2010, Blockbuster was filed for bankruptcy while Netflix a company with a net worth of $211.98 billion. 

4. Yahoo

During 2005, Yahoo was the king of the online advertisement market. The company had a very huge amount of viewers. Despite having viewers, Yahoo failed to generate profit which could help them in scaling up.  The company focused on being a media giant instead of realizing the importance of “search”. 

Yahoo also missed out on a lot of opportunities that could have saved their drowning boat. In 1998, Yahoo had a chance to license an innovative search technology for $1 billion but instead, they introduced it to one of Google's earliest investors. The CEO of Google offered $3 billion for this company but the deal was never closed. But the biggest opportunity they missed out was in 2006. It was when they failed to buy Facebook because of the drop in Yahoo's share price. They also missed out on the chance to acquire eBay and YouTube. They even entertained offers from Apple, 2 years before the iPhone was launched.

None of the above ideas pleased Yahoo back then. And now we clearly know how Facebook, Google, Apple, and YouTube are doing in the market. Yahoo refused to realize the importance of innovation and it's clear where it led them.

5. Kodak

Kodak was a company which dominated the photographic film during most of the 20th century. They could have been the leading name in digital photography today but they lost their chance because they were in denial for too long. 

Steve Sasson, the Kodak engineer, actually invented the first digital camera back in 1975. But they never launched and sold it because of the fear of its effect on the film market. And this was the mistake that led to their downfall. Kodak was filed for bankruptcy in 2012. 

For more such examples, read this article about companies that failed due to lack of innovation


The aforementioned examples show that if companies today, refuse to realize the importance of the current and emerging technologies and market trends, they too will face their downfall someday. Lack of innovation, as reflected by the above examples, can swallow even the world leaders and market giants. Realizing the correct time for change and innovation is what will help today’s giants to sustain tomorrow. 

Startups are great when it comes to innovation and revolution in the currently available products and services. The ecosystem is now expanding with more and people choosing entrepreneurship.

Read More: Startup Ecosystem in India and Singapore 

Written By -  Neha Kundu

Edited By - Kashish Chadha

Post a comment