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Everyone knows the Osborne story: In 1983 Adam Osborne pre-announces the replacement models (which have yet to be built) for the venerable Osborne 1. Sales of the Osborne 1 tanked, and the company goes out of business shortly thereafter.
Affadavits from former Osborne employees given a number of years later cast some doubts on the mythology, although they do not fully discount the company's rapid demise due to the product pre-announcements.They allege that competing products such as the Kaypro shipping at the time had a larger screen and were less expensive than Osborne's next-generation replacement for the Osborne 1 and included bundled software, making them a superior value. Kaypro had already begun to cut into Osborne's sales, and other mismanagement at Osborne may have contributed to the company's downfall.
Sega, like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, was once a powerhouse in set-top video game consoles. Two years into the release of their Saturn console, the company started to publicly discuss their next-generation system, the Dreamcast.
The company had already created a history of distrust with their short-lived Mega CD and 32X, which were considered ill-conceived stopgap systems. Saturn sales crawled to a halt and many planned games for the console were cancelled.
While the Dreamcast eventually was released, customer loyalty was compromised and the system suffered poor sales, and Sega eventually exited the console business as a result.
In May of 2011, Research in Motion announced the availability of their first Blackberry Bold handsets based on OS 7, which included a number of multimedia and social networking improvements.
All of this was good on paper, except that the company's Co-Chief Executive, Mike Lazaridis was busy telling crowds that the new phones would not be upgradeable to their next-generation QNX OS due the following year, which is now known as BlackBerry 10.
As a result, this has put an effective freeze on traditional BlackBerry 7 handset sales and market share of RIM products has dropped into single digit percentage levels.
A major management restructuring of the company has occurred, including the ouster of both Co-Founders and Chief Executives.
BlackBerry 10 handsets are unlikely to ship until at least October of 2012, and the company has retained JP Morgan and the Royal Bank of Canada to determine go-forward options for the Waterloo, Ontario smartphone vendor, presumably including asset divestiture, severe austerity measures (large rounds of layoffs) and the sale of the entire company.