Not all tech products succeed once on the market, and some are killed off with little warning. Flashback looks back at failed tech products to see what we can learn by studying their demises.



Latest Episodes

#23: IBM's Search for an Operating System

November 23rd, 2021 · 26 minutes

With its PC built, IBM needed to find an operating system that would run on it. Its choice would change the computer industry forever.

#22: Building the Personal Computer

November 4th, 2021 · 28 minutes

The IBM Personal Computer was developed in a shockingly short period of time. This time, Quinn and Stephen discuss the machine's hardware as well as some of the company's earlier attempts at personal computers.

#21: The International Business Machines Corporation

October 21st, 2021 · 45 minutes

This season on Flashback, Quinn and Stephen are covering the rise — and fall — of IBM's PC business, but first: some background on the enormous company that Apple and so many others lived in the shadow of back in the 80s.

#20: Windows Vista

June 3rd, 2021 · 48 minutes

The story of Windows Vista is a complicated one. Born from a long and troubled development cycle, it wasn't free of problems at launch, but hardware OEMs and others didn't do much to help its reputation.

#19: The Apple Lisa

May 21st, 2021 · 38 minutes

In the early 1980s, Apple launched a computer with a GUI and mouse ... that wasn't the Macintosh.

#18: The Google Graveyard Draft

May 6th, 2021 · 69 minutes

Google has a knack for shutting down products. This episode, Stephen and Quinn talk about a handful of them.

#17: The Palm Foleo

April 22nd, 2021 · 46 minutes

A phone. An email terminal. A web-browsing portable companion. A phone. An email terminal. A web-browsing portable companion. A phone. An email terminal. A web-browsing portable companion. A phone. An email terminal. A web-browsing portable companion.

Are you getting it? These are not three devices.

It's two devices, and we're calling them …

#16: ROKR: The iTunes Phone

April 8th, 2021 · 52 minutes

A year and a half before the iPhone was introduced, Apple took the stage to announce a very, very different product: the iTunes phone, built in partnership with Motorola and Cingular.

#15: The Motorola RAZR

March 25th, 2021 · 47 minutes

This week, Quinn and Stephen talk about one of the world's first cool phones, and how its parent company was bent on destroying its good name.

#14: OS/2

February 19th, 2021 · 41 minutes

In an effort to keep Microsoft from controlling the PC software industry, in the 1980s, IBM created OS/2, an operating system meant to give its computers a competitive advantage. Unable to do this alone, Big Blue turned to an unlikely company to help build it.