By Chip R. Bell
orders outsourced its online book business to Amazon. Seen a Borders lately? Blockbuster
could have bought Net;ix for a mere $50 million but stuck with videotape rentals.
Encyclopaedia Britannica turned down an offer from Microsoft Corp. to put its encyclopedias online. And in 1998, Kodak sold 85 percent of all photo paper worldwide. Within a few
years, it went completely bankrupt.
The graveyard of companies that refused to adapt is large: AOL, Saturn, The Sharper Image,
Palm Inc., Atari, General Foods Corp., Compaq Computer Corp. and Digital Equipment
Corp. are but a smattering of the headstones. Their leaders’ words became part of the lexicon of
“Neither Redbox nor Net;ix are even on the radar screen in terms of competition,” said
Jim Keyes, CEO of Blockbuster, in a 2008 interview with The Motley Fool.
He wasn’t the most wrong.
Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corp., said in 1977, “There is no reason anyone
would want a computer in their home.”