A number of incredible new products were launched this year. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) introduced the iPhone 4S — a phone with voice command — and Boeing’s (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner — a fuel efficient jet built of carbon composite — finally had its first commercial flight.
Click here to read the seven worst product flops of 2011 >
Products generally fail because they are either inferior versions of already successful products or they have little to no demand. Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ: RIMM) PlayBook is the greatest example of the former. There was no room for a poorly designed tablet in a market dominated by the upmarket iPad and its inexpensive cousin Kindle Fire. The Playbook was widely panned. RIM publicly blamed its weak sales on competitive shifts in the tablet market, referring to the release of Kindle Fire.
Many companies also often fail to understand consumer sentiment and, as a result, do not accurately estimate demand for the product. When Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) announced it would spin off its DVD-by-mail service in the form of a new service called Qwikster, customers were outraged. Nobody wanted the new site and nobody wanted to pay extra money for it. As a result, it failed before it even got off the ground. The Qwikster blunder ended up costing Netflix many customers.
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