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5 of the Biggest Startup App Failures

5 of the Biggest Startup App Failures

Technology is largely responsible for a lot of the highest revenue earning businesses in the country today. The next big application that could make a huge difference for your company may be in design right now.

But more than a few apps barely get off the drawing board. There are plenty of epic failures from places that you don’t expect. We’ve run down five of them for you, starting with:

1.) Google Wave
You don’t expect Google projects to fail. Google Wave intended to bring together communications features such as email, social networks, and instant messages. But Google made the product more difficult than necessary.

Place It Blog explains that hopes were high for the new app because of the difficulty of existing group emails, but Google Wave became way too complex for people to use. Google didn’t explain how to use it very well, and too few users decided to try. Businesses didn’t understand the app, and concluded that it couldn’t help them. Google Wave lasted roughly six months. 

2.) Pay By Touch
Pay By Touch was a privately held company that let users buy goods and services by swiping their finger on a biometric sensor. Investors reportedly pumped $340 million dollars into the company founded by CEO John P. Rogers. Rogers attracted contributions from billionaires like Gordon Getty and Ron Burkle, but misused the funding.

According to Let’s Talk Payments, Rogers was accused of drug possession, domestic abuse, and extravagant use of company money. Pay By Touch filed for bankruptcy in 2007 and closed its doors a year later. The company only lasted about six years.

3.) Color
Color was a photo-sharing app so highly thought of that it raised $41 million in funding before launch. The company created social networks for members based on their proximity, but never really executed their plan well. Their initial photo-sharing app was not user-friendly, and did not connect with consumers. Six months after they launched in March 2011, they tried again, integrating with Facebook and adding video sharing.

The company lost its two co-founders for different reasons, and even tried an agreement with Verizon to make things work. They didn’t. According to, shut down at the end of 2012 and was sold to Apple for just $7 million.

4.) Microsoft Vista
Vista is the operating system released worldwide by Microsoft in January 2007 that never met the company’s expectations. Most reviews were negative; based on cost, hardware requirements, and upgrade licensing problems. Some reports called it no better than predecessor Windows XP, and said there were too many Vista editions. Mainstream support for Vista ended in 2012. Vista SP2 has no longer been supported as of April 2017.

According to 24/7 Wall St., Vista was not compatible with a lot of older PCs, and some people said it ran slower than Windows XP. Vista’s sales and user satisfaction were underwhelming, and Microsoft went right to work on its next edition: Windows 7.

5.) Friendster
This social network wanted to be Facebook, but never was. Friendster still gets credit for starting social networking because it was a year ahead of myspace. It never had the strong network connection of friends that it wanted. Friendster had nearly $50 million in funding at the beginning and received a $30 million offer for its services in 2003, according to Wired. It also ran into its own technical problems, along with the rise of Facebook.

The company redesigned itself into a gaming and entertainment site in 2011. Friendster developed a following, but finally suspended its services in 2015.

But the best way for an application to succeed is to do your research, know what you want to accomplish with the app, and market it accordingly. Emphasize your strong points, but don’t overshoot your budget. Technology is constantly changing, and your company just may be the next one with a big game-changing idea.