Sunday, January 2, 2011

In 2010 We Said Goodbye To...

We lost many celebrities in 2010—some expected, others not really a surprise, and some a true shock. A couple of my personal favorites whose talent is no longer with us are Peter Graves and Leslie Nielsen.

But in addition to people, many companies and products bit the dust this past year. Here's a list of twelve that departed from our daily life during 2010. I came across this list, certainly not a complete list of products and companies that we waved goodbye to this past year, but an interesting cross-section of those who called it quits.

AIR AMERICA: Talk radio with a decidedly progressive, liberal agenda in a forum usually associated with and dominated by conservatives. It went dark in January 2010.

PONTIAC, MERCURY, AND HUMMER: With the downward spiral of American auto manufacturers, several car brands were laid to rest. General Motors' Pontiac line began in 1926 with its most famous car being the GTO. Mercury was made by Ford and was basically the same as several of Ford's models with some added extras and was priced between the most affordable Ford and the Ford's luxury Lincoln line. Hummer was originally a military vehicle. GM bought the rights to the name and produced a street legal vehicle which they retired in 2010 as part of their reorganization.

U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: When started in 1933, the news magazine came out weekly. It eventually became a monthly publication. And now they have ceased publication of a paper edition and have become an online publication with the occasional special edition in print.

MR. GOODWRENCH: Starting in 1974, Mr. Goodwrench became the representation of quality service for all brands manufactured by General Motors. This year GM retired Mr. Goodwrench in order to concentrate on service tied to each specific brand.

THE SONY WALKMAN: Back in the dark ages before there were iPods, smartphones, and MP3 players, Sony provided music lovers with a means of listing to their favorite music wherever they wanted by means of the Walkman cassette portable player which also started the headphone revolution. In 2010, Sony made its last Walkman.

McRIB SANDWICH: As it has done on previous occasions, most recently in October 2010, McDonald's gives the public a taste of the menu item just long enough for it to become popular, then pulls it off the menu. How much longer is this yo-yo act going to last?

BUELL MOTORCYCLES: This small company made motorcycles that appealed to the sport-racing crown. They were purchased by Harley-Davidson in 2003 to fill a niche that their road cruisers over-looked. In 2010, Harley-Davidson was forced to shelve the line.

MICROSOFT KIN: In spite of its computer industry dominance, Microsoft hasn't had much success in selling its own manufactured hardware. It designed its own phone, sold through Verizon and oddly not using their own new Windows Phone 7 software. With poor reviews and sales lagging far behind Apple's iPhone and phones using Google's Android program, the company withdrew the Kin from the market after only a few weeks.

WINDOWS XP: When Microsoft launched the Vista operating system, most companies decided to stick with Windows XP. Microsoft provided support for the Windows XP system and continued to sell it for use in low price computers until late 2010. Even though they will continue to support XP, it's no longer available for sale.

B. DALTON BOOKSTORES: At one time B. Dalton had 798 stores in shopping malls and other locations across the country. The chain was owned by Barnes & Noble at the time it was shut down.

MOVIE GALLERY: Renting a movie, taking it home to watch, and returning it to the store…a competitor of Blockbuster Video in the days before Netflix and streaming video. Movie Gallery, at one time having more than 4,500 outlets, also owned Hollywood Video. In 2010 the company filed for bankruptcy for the second time and closed all of its locations.

GOOGLE NEXUS ONE: Google has been successful with many bold new ideas. However, their venture into the smartphone arena with their Nexus One was a major flop. The phone itself simply mimicked other smartphones. Google's innovation was the marketing. They attempted to sell the phones directly to consumers at full cost rather than going through a cell phone provider. The full price of the phone all at once rather than over a two year contract period put off many customers and direct sale was discontinued after a few months.

Any particular favorite of yours that's no longer available?


Ilona Fridl said...

Hi, Samantha!

It's interesting how many things go dark and we don't even think about their loss until we start getting nostalgic. Soon, I predict most of the movie rental places will be out of business, because it will be easier to call them up on the computer.

Samantha Gentry said...

Ilona: I think Blockbuster is on the verge of bankruptcy. They've already closed several of their outlets. Being able to procure movies via computer will put a sincere dent in Netflix, too. Part of the many shutdowns is due to the current economic situation, but some of it is due to technology simply moving on to the next level which leaves something behind as it happens.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Thanks for the interesting list, Samantha. My two younger kids each got radio/boomboxes w/cd players for Christmas. I'm sure it won't be long before we say good bye to those, too. :)

Happy 2011!

Samantha Gentry said...

Stacey: I think you're right. The music CD will probbly go the way of vinyl records and be replaced with the MP3 type of format ... everything keeps getting smaller is physical size while giving more of what it does. It doesn't seem like that long ago that the 40GB hard drive for the home computer was the big new thing. And now that's not even a blink of an eye. Hmmm ... that mkes me sound very old. :)

lizarnoldbooks said...

In the world of creativity, things sometimes have to be let go to make room for the new. It's not a bad sign for things and people to retire. In my opinion, it's a sign of growth and change which I see as positive. Change can hurt sometimes, but "the only thing constant is change." (Anybody know who said that?)

Samantha Gentry said...

Liza: The 'change as a constant' saying goes back to the ancient Greek philosophers, in this case it was Heraclitus.

You are so right about needing to move forward with new technology. If we didn't embrace the new, we'd still be back in the dark ages.