Before the metaverse, these few revolutionary technologies vanished

In October 2021, Facebook announced a name change to Meta. Mark Zuckerberg, his boss, said his group would now turn to the metaverse, a virtual world that allows both to work, play and build relationships. Was it a stroke of genius that will make the group successful? A desperate attempt to restore hope to its shareholders, inundated by a decline in the number of users and its profit? Or a “repolining” of technologies that each meet the needs of an audience (immersive online games, virtual or augmented reality, etc.) but without having to expect a major transformation? The future will tell …

Because our lives are transformed by technology in ways that are often hard to imagine from the start, as a quote from IBM’s Thomas Watson in the late 1940s reminds us: “I think there is a world market for five computers”. On the contrary, we find technologies launched with many ads that do not find their market: they arrive too soon, with no added value on other technologies or do not satisfy a real need. Here are some examples!

second life

Appeared in 2003, “Second Life” was the metaverse before the metaverse: a virtual universe in which everyone could have their own avatar and exchange virtual currencies. Second life reached more than one million monthly users, to the point of seeing candidates there for the campaign for the French presidency in 2007. Although it still exists, this universe has gradually diminished, particularly due to the development of a competing platform. : Facebook .

Windows Phone

Launched in 2010, this operating system was heralded as Microsoft’s answer to Apple and Android. It disappeared in 2017, in particular due to the lack of ergonomics of the operating system and the lack of high-end terminals (unlike Iphone or Android).

Google glasses

Introduced by Google in 2011, its production stopped in 2015. Despite the enthusiasm of Google and some commentators, its wide adoption was hampered by issues of cost ($ 1,500), privacy but also a lack of compelling applications .

The Newton apple

Portable personal assistant, the Apple Newton was launched in 1993 and retired in 1998: it arrived too soon, it was bulky, heavy, not connected. Lighter, the Palm Pilot released in 1996 on a similar concept was more successful, before disappearing in 2010.


Launched in 2009, the communication network dedicated to the Internet of Things has raised over 300 million euros. Faced with competition from other technologies (Lora, 5G) and weaker than expected growth in the need for networks dedicated to connected objects, the company was placed in receivership on January 26, 2022.

IBM Watson

Heralded by IBM as the philosopher’s stone for transforming companies through artificial intelligence, Watson never achieved the ambitions announced despite some successes (such as setting a record in the game show “Jeopardy”): after billions of investments, then a massive restructuring , Watson’s health was sold in January 2022 to a fund for an undisclosed amount.

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