Big Names, Big Flops II: Apple Newton, XFL

By: Sean Sporman
By: Sean Sporman

Big companies may have many successes that led to their size and wealth, but even the most titanic of corporations have stumbles—proving that even big names can have flops.

Before the massive success of the iPad, the Apple Newton was released in 1993. Unlike the iPad, the Newton wasn't a near-universal hit with users and customers. Also known as the MessagePad, one of the main selling points of the PDA-styled device was handwriting recognition. However, early models had difficulty recognizing words, often turning them into different words altogether, some of which did not make much since. Although this was improved somewhat in later models, the Newton did not catch on to the extent of later Apple devices, although it does have a dedicated fanbase to this day.

Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States, and in 2000, the XFL was founded by WWE president Vince McMahon. This separate league promised a different kind of football with fewer rules and penalties, trash-talking announcers, scantily-dressed cheerleaders and a more extreme feel overall. TV ratings for the XFL started off high, but began to slip quickly. Alabama even had its own XFL team in the Birmingham Thunderbolts, complete with popular personalities Rick and Bubba being the team's radio announcers. In the end, the XFL folded after just one season, ending with a rating that was, at the time, the lowest ever for any primetime over-the-air new sports broadcast in the US. However, the XFL does have one lasting legacy it introduced: in-game interviews of coaches and players is commonly done in sports broadcasts to this day.

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