13 times companies killed products too soon and broke our hearts

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The Flip video camera.
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Wikimedia Commons

Tech will break your heart.

For every Microsoft Windows, Apple iPhone, Google search bar, or Amazon Kindle, there are so many apps, services, and games that get killed before we’re ready to let them go.

Sometimes, like the Flip video camera, these products die because of an acquisition gone awry. Sometimes, like Google Reader, they die simply because not enough people use them. Regardless, they’re gone.

Here are 13 times companies broke our hearts by destroying something that lots of people loved.


The Motorola Razr, first released in 2004, was one of the most popular early cell phones thanks to its slim, svelte form factor. They were discontinued in 2008, amid the rise of the smartphone.

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YouTube/PhoneDog

The “Razr” brand was revived in 2011 for a line of Android smartphones, but they never quite achieved the iconic status of the original.

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Pocket-Lint

Google Reader was one of the earliest and most popular news-reading services on the web. It died an undignified death in 2013, with Google saying that people weren’t using it as much. It’s still dearly missed.

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screenshot/Julie Zeveloff

The Flip video camcorders set the standard for elegant, simple video-taking on the go from 2006 to 2011. Pure Digital, the company that invented the Flip, was bought by Cisco in 2009. When Cisco exited consumer tech, Flip was a casualty.

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Wikimedia Commons

It may have been the right call: As smartphones like the iPhone get better cameras, the number of people who need a separate video device like the Flip is going down.

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Steve Kovach/Tech Insider

The Sega Dreamcast video game console launched in late 1999 to much fanfare, and became the home of classics like “Soul Calibur” and “Sonic Adventure.” But less than two years later, in March 2001, Sega discontinued the Dreamcast and got out of the console business altogether.

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Quagmire/Flickr

The Sunrise Calendar app for Android and iPhone was a veritable smash hit when it launched in 2013. In 2015, Microsoft bought it for $100 million, and now it’s on the chopping block — Sunrise will stop working entirely on August 31, 2016.

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Sunrise

(The good news is that a lot of Sunrise’s best stuff is coming to Outlook for Android and iPhone.)


In 2013, Facebook paid $85 million for a company called Parse, which helps developers build and manage their mobile apps. It became a popular option. But on January 28th, 2017, Parse will officially be no more, Facebook says.

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Kyle Russell/Business Insider

Orchestra Software’s Mailbox app was an iPhone phenomenon, with users literally queueing up to sort and sift their e-mail inboxes when it launched in 2013. A month later, Dropbox bought Orchestra. In 2016, Mailbox was discontinued, citing a failure to “fundamentally fix email.”

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YouTube/Screenshot

Google Glass, the search giant’s head-mounted computer, was more creepy than useful. But we’ll never know what could have been with a full consumer model — Google killed the first version of Glass in January 2015, citing a market that wasn’t quite ready yet. Maybe the promised successor will fix those problems.

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The Daily Show

In January 2014, at the height of the fiendishly difficult iPhone game Flappy Bird’s success, developer Dong Nguyen was claiming that he made $50,000 a day from in-app ads. In February 2014, Nugyen removed it from the App Store, claiming the pressure was too much.

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Flickr/Desiree Catani

Aereo, launched in 2012, was a startup that let you watch live TV, streamed over the internet. But the United States Supreme Court smacked it down with a ruling that Aereo constituted copyright infringement. The Aereo service suspended itself in late 2014, and Tivo bought the assets for $1 million in early 2015.


The Zune, Microsoft’s home-built mp3 player, lasted from 2006 to 2011. And while it was never nearly as popular as Apple’s iPod, it pioneered new features like the Zune Music Pass, a predecessor to Spotify and Apple Music.


Speaking of the iPod, Apple broke some hearts when it discontinued the iPod Classic in late 2014. It means that the original, iconic “clickwheel” design from the original 2001 iPod is no more.

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Flickr/Freimut

Finally, and most heartbreakingly for me personally, Disney just in May 2016 cancelled “Disney Infinity,” its video game where you buy real-life action figures and use them on the screen.

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

It’s a huge bummer: Reports indicate that the next version of “Disney Infinity” would have worked in stuff from the forthcoming “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and more upcoming Disney movies.

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Disney