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8 tech companies that came back from the dead: Then and now

A look at big tech names that were miraculously rescued from the dustbin of history.
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1 of 16 DB Apple/dpa/Corbis

Apple: The IIGS era

Over the years, many large corporations have declined into irrelevancy. Few, though, have clawed their way back from the dead.

Take Apple, for example. An entire generation of adults learned how to use computers by playing Oregon Trail on Apple IIe and IIGS machines in public schools in the 1980s.

Once Microsoft launched Windows 95, however, the gap between PC and Mac sales widened dramatically.

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2 of 16 Kim Kulish/Corbis

Apple: Return of Jobs

Apple, again headed by Steve Jobs, began its turnaround with the success of the iPod in 2001 and the iPhone in 2007.

Even sales of Apple computers have improved in recent years thanks, in part, to a halo effect.

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3 of 16 Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis

Nintendo: The 'love hotel' years

Video game giant Nintendo got its start as a playing-card company in 1889, undergoing many transformations since.

In the 1960s, Nintendo unsuccessfully tried entering the instant rice, taxi cab, and "love hotel" businesses, nearly ruining the company financially.

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4 of 16 Erik Tham/Corbis

Nintendo: Post-Pokemon handheld greatness

Nintendo found its way back to profitability manufacturing electronic games and, ultimately, the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Today, the company dominates the handheld gaming market; more than 50 million Nintendo 3DS units have been sold through June 2015.

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5 of 16 Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Corbis

Polaroid: The Land camera days

The name Polaroid was synonymous with instant photography in the 1970s.

But the company failed to keep up with the digital camera and smartphone era, filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001 and 2008.

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6 of 16 Oliver Berg/epa/Corbis

Polaroid: Third time's the charm

Though the original Polaroid company is gone, its name is now being licensed to a new generation of cameras, including the Socialmatic, one of our CES 2014 Best in Show picks.

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7 of 16 Pete Vazquez/Science Faction/Corbis

IBM: Punchcard glory days

Since being founded in 1911, IBM has been the source of many inventions, including ATMs, floppy disks, hard drives, magnetic stripe cards, and more.

The company's early computing success was no help in the 1990s, however, when its OS/2 operating system proved to be a major flop. In 1993, the company posted an $8 billion loss.

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8 of 16 Brendan McDermid/Reuters/Corbis

IBM: A 'computer services' company

These days, IBM focuses more on profitable business services than hardware.

Its Watson supercomputer tech, for example, has found use in diagnosing cancer patients, managing financial risk, predicting the weather, and (famously) defeating 74-time Jeopardy! champions.

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9 of 16 Kim Kulish/Corbis

Amazon: The struggling online bookstore

Amazon.com was a popular e-commerce destination in the 1990s, but worries over its long-term profitability nearly sank the company during the dot-com crash.

The company fell from a valuation of $361.88 per share in December 1998 to a low of $5.51 in October 2001.

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10 of 16 Amazon/Corbis

Amazon: The drone-delivered future

Today, Amazon is absolutely dominant in the e-tail space, turning modest profits on $89 billion in revenue in 2014.

The company continues to innovate, leading the retail-industry charge for drone-powered delivery.

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11 of 16 Priceline

Priceline: The grocery and yard sale expansions

Priceline quickly rose to prominence in 1997 as a "name your own price" travel agency thanks to a partnership with spokesperson William Shatner.

But the dot-com crash and failed attempts to apply the name-your-own-price model to groceries, yard sales, and gasoline nearly sank its ship in the early 2000s.

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12 of 16 Priceline

Priceline: Back to basics

In recent years, Priceline has re-focused on its core business: travel.

The company has since risen from a $1.06 per share valuation in December 2000 to a value just shy of $1,500 per share in 2015.

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13 of 16 Shepard Sherbell/Corbis

Western Digital: The calculator's best friend

After making its fortune selling calculator chips in the 1970s, Western Digital was a top supplier of OEM hard drives in the early 1990s.

By the end of the decade, however, competitors such as Maxtor were creating superior products.

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14 of 16 Imaginechina/Corbis

Western Digital: Memory giant

Western Digital bounced back nicely from its 2001 low, developing new products such as the high-performance Raptor.

In October 2015, WD agreed to buy flash storage giant SanDisk for $19 billion.

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15 of 16 Olix Wirtinger/Corbis

Shutterfly: Big competition, small revenues

Early going was not easy for Shutterfly: The photo-printing service suffered through the dot-com crash, numerous quarterly losses, and tough competition from big-pocketed competitors such as Kodak and Yahoo.

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16 of 16 Shutterfly

Shutterfly: The post-smartphone era

As its competitors closed up shop, Shutterfly was quick to swoop in and capture their market share.

That, combined with an influx of new smartphone-owning customers, has revitalized the design-oriented, custom-printing company.

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