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Microsoft, Google, Intel, BlackBerry and others bid farewell to brands, projects and more.
The Technology Industry Graveyard for 2014 is filling up with buried brands, past-its-prime software and start-ups that were ahead of their time or too hard for established companies to resist. Pay your respects here….
McAfee brand name
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, in between introducing a bunch of wearable devices at the International CES event in Las Vegas in January, snuck in that the company is killing off the McAfee brand name for its consumer security products. They will now be sold under the Intel Security name. Not that the name McAfee has been associated with anything bad in recent years… (Intel bought McAfee back in 2011.)
BlackBerry CEO John Chen, working the crowd at the big International CES show in January, revealed that the annual BlackBerry Live (previously BlackBerry World) conference would not be happening this year. The company is refocusing squarely on the enterprise and plans to make its presence felt at existing CIO/IT prop events.
The simple and addictive mobile game out of Vietnam had a meteoric rise in January, but developer Nguyen Ha Dong pulled it from the Apple App Store and Google Play after he said he felt guilty about how consuming the game was. There were also lots of questions about how similar the game’s graphics were to previous games like Super Mario Bros. Rumors persist that the game could be revived.
LogMeIn free edition
LogMeIn pulled the plug on the free edition of its remote access technology in January with very short notice, leading to much outrage among users and much marketing by vendors offering alternatives. LogMeIn hopes to steer users to its assorted offerings, such as LogMeIn Pro.
Windows XP support
Microsoft Windows XP (take the quiz!) debuted in October 2001, and regardless of newer releases like Vista, remains on millions of desktops. But those using it do so at their own peril, as Microsoft has stopped supporting it and is no longer issuing security fixes.
Facebook email service
Facebook's email service, introduced in 2010, is being retired and messages sent to users’ @Facebook.com addresses will be forwarded to their chosen email address. Facebook acknowledged most people weren’t using its email service, and would be better off consolidating their messaging around a platform of their choice.
Once known as Smooth-Stone, Calxeda was a well-heeled start-up looking to make a name for itself by producing much more energy efficient server processors than established players like AMD and Intel. Its processors were used by Boston, Ltd., and were due to be used in HP’s Moonshot servers. But funding dried up and a few employees remained to farm out the intellectual property.
Calling 777-FILM no longer gets you the booming “Hello, and welcome to Moviefone!” interactive voice greeting that movie-goers have relied on for years, perhaps significantly less so of late than during the past 25 years of its existence. The AOL-owned service continues on, however, in website and web app forms. Moviefone also lives on in reruns of a Seinfeld episode in which Kramer parodied the phone system.
Network Neutrality – the concept of fair play for content over the Internet – was dealt a major blow in January when an appeals court struck down the FCC’s rules. The FCC contends it is fighting to retain Net Neutrality, but not everyone is buying new pay-for-better-service allowances.
Bump and Flock get… bumped by Google
Google bought the iOS and Android mobile sharing app Bump, which enabled smartphone users to bump their devices to share photos, videos and more, just last September. It also got the group-sharing Flock photo app in the deal. But Google axed both apps at the end of January: users had 30 days to retrieve their data before it went poof.
Donna, personal assistant app
Donna, a mobile personal assistant app from Incredible Labs that helped users with scheduling, directions and more, was offed by Yahoo about a month after it bought Incredible in January.
Firefox browser for Metro
Before Mozilla became entangled in its ugly CEO hiring/firing, the outfit made a less closely watched change: It decided in March not to ship a Firefox browser for the Windows 8 “Metro” environment, due to lack of use of the Microsoft platform. The Metro team at Mozilla started up in 2012 and did good work, but the VP who launched the team said Mozilla needs to focus and the effort needed on this was probably not going to be worth it.
Ubuntu One cloud storage service
Canonical is shuttering its Ubuntu One cloud-storage service as of June 1, leaving the field to the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive and EMC Syncplicity.
Users' content on the file service will be available until July 31 and customers with paid accounts will get refunds.
Apple iPad 2
Apple announced it was phasing out the 3-year-old iPad 2, which means the company's whole line-up — bar the original iPad mini — boasts the Retina Display. And the whole line-up now sports the Lightning connector.
Dual-OS mobile devices
Huawei changed course on an Android-Windows phone one of its executives discussed at Mobile World Congress in February, keeping its focus on Android. Separately, word is that Google and Microsoft are not psyched about reaching across the aisle and allowing vendors like Asustek to roll out tablets that run both Android and Windows. Asustek announced the Transformer Book Duet at CES, but Google and/or Microsoft are believed to have put the kibosh on the product before it even had a chance to ship.
Jade Rabbit lunar rover
In case you need some hope that one of your favorite technologies from among those in this slideshow might stand a chance of revival, look no further than China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover. Yutu, as China's first lunar rover is also called, launched in December 2013, but was left for dead and unable to move within a couple of weeks. However, it sprung back to life and as of April was at least gathering some useful data.