While major changes in Washington, D.C. are leading most to focus on a hopeful recovery of our economy, we can’t ignore the fact that 2010 presented us with some moments of loss. Some were predicted while others caught us off guard. Some of our losses included people, brands, and products that have been a part of our lives for decades.
Here are a few departures we’ll someday be explaining to our grandchildren.
GM has decided on early retirement for Mr. Goodwrench who has represented quality service for all of the brands under the GM mantle since 1974. The figure came to represent the best of American know-how, grease-monkey style. Now, GM plans to promote service tied to each specific brand. You’ll soon see ads for individual service under each of the GM brands.
The Sony Walkman
Remember when the Walkman was the cutting edge of technology, allowing an entire generation of music lovers to listen to their favorite tunes wherever they wanted? Of course, that was before iPods, smartphones and MP3 players. The Walkman started the headphone revolution.
However Sony has manufactured its last Walkman. While you may be able to find them for sale for a while in less-developed countries, the Walkman will walk no more in the U.S.
B. Dalton Bookstores
Obviously, digital readers and the growth of online vendors has taken its toll on bookstores from coast to coast. B. Dalton, one of the nation’s largest bookstore chains has closed 798 stores located in shopping malls and other locations across the country. The chain was owned by Barnes & Noble when the ax fell.
Many believed that talk radio was once dominated by conservatives. Then Air America arrived as a breath of fresh, liberal air. Its content was decidedly progressive, starring such notables as Arianna Huffington, Robert F. Kennedy, Al Franken, Jerry Springer, Ron Reagan and Rachel Maddow. Apparently, however, liberal-speak didn’t pay the bills, and the network went dark in January of 2010.
Liz Claiborne Outlets
Liz Claiborne is closing all of its 87 outlet stores as it plans on marketing its products exclusively through JCPenney. Other properties owned by the company, including Juicy Couture, Lucky Brands and Kate Spade, will continue business as usual.
Pontiac, Mercury, Saturn and Hummer
As the American auto industry strives to weather the storm, we have lost a number of treasured car brands. GM’s Pontiac nameplate dates back to 1926 and was treasured for its high performance models like the legendary GTO. Mercury simply wasn’t that different from the Ford. The Hummer brand was originally applied to military vehicles produced by AM General, particularly the famous Hum-Vee. GM bought the rights to the name in 1998 and put out a line of street-legal vehicles mimicking the design of the military vehicles. In the wake of its reorganization, GM attempted (without success, obviously) to sell the brand, and so it joined those being retired.
U.S. News and World Report
U.S. News and World Report this year decided to become an online-only journal which means it’s simply no longer a magazine. From time to time, it will produce a few special editions. Beginning in 1933, it moved from a weekly publication to a monthly. It now becomes a none-thly
Many companies decided to stick with Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system after Vista was launched, complaining that the new version was bloated and buggy. Microsoft continued to provide support for Windows XP and continued to sell the product for use in very low price-point computers until late in 2010. While Microsoft will continue to support XP for several more years, the best-loved version of Windows is history.
Netflix, Redbox and streaming video have claimed yet another victim. Movie Gallery filed for bankruptcy for the second time, and subsequently announced it was closing all of its locations. At one time this rental chain had more than 4,500 outlets, second only to industry leader Blockbuster. It also owned Hollywood Video, which also shut its doors in 2010.
AirTran entered the industry in 1992 under the name ValuJet. After a devastating crash in the Florida Everglades in 1996, it was found to have significant quality problems due to its extreme cost-cutting. After merging with Airways Corp. in 1997, it changed its name to AirTran. Southwest Airlines chose to buy AirTran in order to reduce competition and expand its services. While AirTran will continue to operate as an independent airline while the $1.4 billion transaction passes muster, it’s only a matter of time before the AirTran brand is retired.