Taking stock of the companies we bet against in 2013

Dell went private, and escaped Ars’ Deathwatch list—and “whiner” investors.

This has been a year for failures. HealthCare.gov, the Facebook Phone, Microsoft’s bailout of Nokia, and the abortive sale of BlackBerry were just exclamation points on a year that saw the economy slowly turn around. Some companies succeeded wildly, and others…well, not so much.

Last January, I named five companies I felt were facing substantial risks that might cause them not to survive the year, and I asked readers to pick some themselves. Now that the year is over, it’s time to tally up the damage, and see how readers’ predictions panned out. In the comments, I’ll take your nominations for the five companies least likely to successfully exit 2014 in what we’re calling Deathwatch 2014.

“Deathwatch” is, admittedly, a bit hyperbolic. Publicly traded companies seldom just die. They may get ripped apart by creditors, lose most of their employees and enter some sort of undead afterlife as patent trolls, or get rolled up into some larger mass of other failed companies, Katamari-style. Or they may fade to a level of relevance that makes them the equivalent of “market dead”—living on as a software maintenance operation like Novell, surviving on the sustenance of vendor lock-in.

Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

via Ars Technica http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/index/~3/fW2GdGB57d0/

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