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No Bailout for Tech Failures

Time has an interesting look at the ten biggest tech failures of the last decade. You know, companies and products that failed when common sense still dictated that it was okay to allow a business to have a lifecycle.

Some of this biggest and most recognizable brands in the world made the top ten. Heck, Microsoft is on there twice:

  1. Microsoft Vista
  2. Gateway
  3. HD DVD
  4. Vonage
  5. YouTube
  6. Sirius XM
  7. Microsoft Zune
  8. Palm
  9. Iridium
  10. Segway

These companies aren’t getting bailouts, nor should they. As anyone who has ever taken a business class can tell you companies have lifecycles. Only the foolish expect them to last forever, and to invest in a company on its way out is, well, beyond foolish. Yet, that is exactly what the federal government has been doing with our taxpayer money.

Consider February reports regarding the amount of taxpayer money that flowed into GM and Chrysler:

General Motors and Chrysler LLC asked the government Tuesday for $21.6 billion in additional loans, but the final cost of a bailout of the auto industry could be significantly higher.

The two struggling auto giants have already received a total of $17.4 billion in loans. If they get the new loans they want, the price tag of the bailout would climb to $39 billion.

What’s more, $7.5 billion in loans have already been approved for the financing arms of GM and Chrysler. Congress also approved funding last year for $25 billion in loans to help automakers convert their plants to produce more fuel efficient cars.

And, what did that huge investment get us? A temporary reprieve of a few months. Ultimately, the inevitable still happens – GM bankrutcy and massive job cuts:

The next auto businesses on the chopping block will be 2,600 General Motors dealerships.

GM Chief Executive Fritz Henderson said Monday that the company would by the end of the week start notifying dealerships it wants to eliminate over the course of the next year. The company said last month that it planned to eventually eliminate 42% of its 6,250 dealer locations, which employ more than 300,000 workers among them.

On Thursday, Chrysler LLC’s announced that it is dropping nearly 800 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers, or about a quarter of its network, as part of its bankruptcy restructuring.

If we don’t start letting more businesses move through their natural lifecycle without attempting to bail them out, our county will go bankrupt.