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Industry Insight

Why Plastic Logic failed - despite the e-book boom

I have been in the prognostication game a very long time.

By Bob Sacks
Published: May 21, 2012

I have been in the prognostication game a very long time. I believe that in 2002, I spoke at the Primex conference in Florida, while debating Samir Husni, about the future of the magazine business and explaining the up-coming e-reader phase that our business would be facing in the near future. I showed the crowd a few slides of the at-that-time ultra-revolutionary e-paper prototypes from several companies including Plastic Logic. I have no problem admitting to you all that at that pre-iPad stage I thought that the Plastic Logic reader was going to be a real big player. I was right about e-reading devices and wrong about that particular company.

Here is a great statement from Bobbie Johnson at GigaOM that captures the essence of the moment:

it's worth remembering, whoever you are: no matter how great your technology - and make no bones about it, Plastic Logic does have a remarkable breakthrough technology there - it has to be available at the right time and at the right price.

You've got to compete with your rivals in totality - across markets, across users, and not just on technical specs - and all the money in the world can't save you if you can't execute.

That, my friends, is a brilliant synopsis and a great lesson for us all to keep in mind and remember.


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