I would hazard a guess that the high-tech industry has an impressive track-record of success, and failures, in about equal measures.
Looking at the IT and telecoms world, some very big names have disappeared--Compaq and Nortel Networks spring to mind (albeit they vanished for different reasons)--while others seem increasingly close to the edge.
Notably, Research In Motion and Nokia are under the spotlight at present as the financial community attempts to understand what strategy these firms might glue together to drag themselves away from sliding into obscurity.
However, they're not alone. Sony, that icon of home entertainment products, has plunged from being capitalised at a $100 billion in 200, at the height of the Internet bubble, to around $18 billion today, with some observers believing the company will slip further.
Following the success of Samsung and its Galaxy smartphones, even Apple's dominance--in terms of technology and marketing innovation--is starting to be questioned as to its long-term sustainability. While it is generally agreed that Apple is a fantastically well-run company, its dependency on providing consumers with something they didn't even know they wanted makes their future unpredictable. some have speculated that Apple's bubble will burst (without committing to a date) when youngsters see their parents or grandparents using an iPhone and realise the device has become distinctly unfashionable.
Nokia handsets were once a highly desired and fashionable accessory. Around 10 years ago everyone wanted a Nokia phone, and they seemed invincible as they carefully plotted worldwide domination. Today, Nokia is a shadow of its former self and its newly appointed chairman has been forced to defend the company's strategy to angry investors at its annual general meeting.
As one irate shareholder likened Nokia to the Titanic, the incoming chairman, Risto Siilasmaa, insisted that the company was on the right track, and that no new change of bearing was necessary.
I wonder if Captain Edward Smith, of the RMS Titanic, said something similar? --Paul