Just 13 years ago, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy.
But then – worried that it would be viewed as a monopoly without competition from Apple – Microsoft came to Apple’s rescue with a $150 million investment. Had that not happened the world may never have seen iPods, iPads, iPhones or iMacs.
But that was just the start of Apple’s return to glory. It’s a thing to be thought about how Apple was able to defy the odds and start the ultimate tech comeback.
Once the world’s most revered automaker, GM faced disaster in the late 2000s when it filed for bankruptcy and laid off tens of thousands of workers. Which makes it all the more extraordinary that just a year after the federal government’s bailout plan earned it the -sarcastic nickname “Government Motors,” the company roared back to profitability. After trimming costs and killing its struggling Pontiac, Saturn, and Hummer divisions, GM went public again, raising roughly $20 billion. By the end of 2013, the government had sold off the last of its GM shares, capping a remarkable turnaround that saved an estimated 1.2 million jobs.
Marvel has long been the comic-book world’s biggest player. But in the mid-1990s the comics market crashed, Marvel went broke, and there was no superpowers strong enough to stave off bankruptcy. But after restructuring, our hero changed its approach, focusing on movies rather than paper and ink. Today, Iron Man, the Avengers, Spider-Man, and X-Men are all billion-dollar franchises, and the company’s master plan–to connect many of its characters in a single cinematic universe–has turned it into one of pop culture’s most powerful brands.
Sometimes too much success can mean trouble. In the 2000s Starbucks over-expanded, -diluting profits and damaging the brand (not every corner needs a Starbucks). By late 2008 net income had fallen dramatically, cutting the stock price in half. Later they worked on it and had a great comeback.
Once just a crusty old bottle in your dad’s bathroom, Old Spice–with Wieden+Kennedy–created a marketing juggernaut that propelled it to the top of its category. There were some ads that made Old Spice new again.
With a prime-time lineup full of snoozy grandparent bait like Murder, She Wrote and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, the Tiffany Network sank to last place in the mid-1990s. That changed after CBS hired Leslie Moonves away from Warner Bros. TV, where he’d green-lighted such shows as the zeitgeist-defining Friends. The Moonves era has produced a slew of huge hits–CSI, Survivor, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory–and CBS is now the nation’s most-watched network.
We all know about Pokemon Go, don’t we? We all know the originator of our favourite game.But once this founder was about to shut down.
Nintendo dominated the video-game world in the ’80s and ’90s with products like the Game Boy, but in the early 2000s Sony and Microsoft launched the PS2 and Xbox, and Nintendo’s response–an under-powered purple box that screamed “me-too product”–was a flop. Then Nintendo embraced its individuality with the DS, DS Lite, and Wii, each of which would go on to sell around 100 million units worldwide.
Disney may be the best-known name in children’s entertainment, but its once-revered animation division began the 21st century in a major slump. After ’90s successes such as The Lion King, the studio started churning out duds like Hercules and Fantasia 2000. The result was a major downsizing in the early 2000s. But after Disney acquired Pixar in 2006 and Ed Catmull and John Lasseter took charge, the studio roared back with hits like Tangled and last year’s world-dominating Frozen.
The announcement went out in the summer of 2011: “We will no longer offer a plan that includes both unlimited streaming and DVDs by mail.” Subscribers would have to join two separate services–one of them ludicrously dubbed Qwikster–and pay $16 a month instead of $10. The ensuing backlash and exodus stunned investors; more than 800,000 customers fled Netflix in a single quarter, sending its stock plunging from $300 a share to around $65 by year’s end. Netflix quickly scrapped Qwikster and apologized, but the company only truly recovered from the gaffe with original series such as House of Cards, which launched in 2013. Soon profit was skyrocketing, stock hit $400 per share, and Amazon and Hulu were working furiously to catch up.
“Everything is awesome?” Not for the toymaker in the 1990s, when Lego was suffering due to the rise of video games and other competition. In 1998, the company lost money for the first time. Then Jørgen Vig Knudstorp stepped in as CEO in 2004, and things started to snap into place. Knudstorp cut costs and introduced soon-to-be-popular Lego lines like Ninjago. It worked: By 2013, Lego was the world’s most profitable toymaker.
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