Worst business decisions ever?

Editors at the 24/7 Wall St. website identified the most costly mistakes made by US corporations. Here are 5 big missteps that had enormous consequences.

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357Comments
Nov 19, 2012 10:04PM
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I think all the entities you portray in your slide show pale by comparison with the biggest mistake of all... going global, mass terminating personnel who were also customers, selling factories, trade secrets and becoming drop-ship importers with hired-in administrative management in leased office space. There's little to no chance that ANY corporate brands of today will exist or be remembered 25 years from now-- when their Board Directors and Executive Management become eligible for parole or release from prison.
Dec 2, 2012 8:33AM
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KMart's greed and management ruined an otherwise historic company, who married up with Sears only to ruin BOTH brand names. Their failure to pay employees is something WALMART should take a look at, i.e. not allowing full-time employees to make at least 40 hours in lieu of hiring H.S. kids to run departments as part-time employees. This company has inherent management problems at the regional levels, district levels and down to their unqualified store managers
Dec 2, 2012 10:19AM
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Business decisions that are all time blunders? Why did we outsource our economy to China and create not only competition in business with ourselves but create another global superpower. We should have found cheap labor in Mexico and kept the economy in our own hemisphere and it would have solved the illegal immigration problem at the same time. shipping would have been closer too. During WWII we supplied England and Russia with arms and built liberty ships at an unbelievable rate but today if faced with the same situation China would be in the drivers seat because we have lost our manufacturing base and have become a nation of consumers.
Nov 20, 2012 12:45PM
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Worst business decisions:

 

Coke comes out with new formula

Excite passed on the opportunity to buy Google for $750,000

IBM lets Microsoft keep the rights to MS-DOS

Electronic Data Systems passes up the opportunity to buy Microsoft for $60,000,000

Decca Records passes on signing up the Beatles because "guitar groups are on the way out."

Financial companies won't hire me because I don't have experience, even though I have been self-employed in the financial field for the past 10 years and have letters of recommendation that come from top people (Presidents, Managing Partners, Founders, etc.) in corporation's that everyone has heard of

Nov 26, 2012 2:28AM
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Worst Business Decisions every, The repeal of Glass Steagle and the Deregulation of derivatives. Bill Clinton's darkest hour.
Nov 19, 2012 9:11PM
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That's because the name RCA was sold and the new owners slapped it on cheap junk hoping to cash in on it's former good reputation.
Nov 20, 2012 11:48AM
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My parents in the 60's decided to provide for their children by opening a whole life insurance policy with a final payout equal to the value of a house. They figured that the value of a house would be more than enough in case the future went sour and we would not be homeless.

The value of that policy was 15,000 dollars.

Inflation's relentless march making the 5 cent candy bar into the dollar candy bar is the one factor that one cannot adequately prepare for.

Many prior retirees have seen their once "comfortable" retirement turn into a financial nightmare with things like gasoline going from $2 to $4 within a couple of years and the ever increasing taxes and increases in utility costs.

Retirees are projected to be about 1/4 of the total population within the next 20 years and the costs of providing services to those who can no longer take care of themselves will possibly create an exponential rise in costs to meet those needs.

Failure to plan sufficiently could cause you to see poverty in your twilight years.
Nov 25, 2012 10:21AM
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I dont understand, I have heard for decades that private sector CEOs and high level executives dont make mistakes, they are supreme beings worth the millions in salary. Only government is incompetant they tell me. could it be the research centers are corporate funded? Please!!!!!! tell me it isnt so!
Dec 2, 2012 11:45AM
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My father told me back in the late 50's, he was watching this country starting to let our manufacturing go overseas. He was very concerned and wrote letter after letter to representatives and senators, he wrote to anyone he could think of, but his word fell on deaf.

He told me, that the only way to create wealth was to manufacture, that is what made this country. If we let that get away from us we would be a service based economy. At that time we would start being controlled by foreign economies.

Seems he was right!  

Dec 2, 2012 6:22AM
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The decision made by Kodak got to be the most painful. Other film companies such as Fuji and Ilford adapted and are doing pretty well. Kodak on the other hand is like a Zebra stuck in quicksand. The harder it tries to get out the quicker it sinks in. It is almost painful to watch.  

Nov 23, 2012 7:22PM
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My favorite was watching Wang Labs implode when Fred Wang took over from the brilliant Dr. An Wang (Fred's father).

Fred had ZERO skills and appointed so many family members to important posts that they should have changed the name to NEPOTISM, Labs.

The level of incompetence amongst these family members was even greater than that of Fred himself. One of the most notorious was Ed Yang who was appointed to run the western region.

Needless to say only a few years after the switch, the company went from the number one word processing company in the world to bankrupt.

Fred either fired or pushed out all of the talented executives that built the company in order to make room for the family and their chosen ones.

Prior to Fred's reign Wang was the number 3 computer company in the world with over 33,000 employees and 1980 revenues of $3 Billion. Wang filed for bankruptcy in 1992.

Dec 2, 2012 6:24AM
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The "just-in-time" supply-chain system, was probably one of the worst mass bad management decisions ever adopted in this country, I well remember when it was adopted into the Amoco Corporation during the 1980"s (further bad decisions by management caused Amoco's demise during the 90"S). It's focus was to cut down on warehousing and the numbers of production line employees by only responding to product demand when an order was made.  After Amoco I worked at several production line companies and witnessed the results.  There was no production line I saw in operation that could be started up and producing quality product right off the bat. Instead what I saw was a lot of waste, unsaleable product be produced for sometimes up to an hour before the systems were warmed up and calibrated. Also it contributed to the demise of the nations rail system, tore up the interstates with increased truck traffic which contributed to the rise in fuel costs and pollution. It enrages me that these cretins are still in control and contributing to the demise of our economic system.  
Dec 2, 2012 9:10AM
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No surprise about Kmart, both Kmart & Sears are already on their way out. With their executives and such ready to fill their pockets with money before SHLD goes down....they'll be the ones to get out of the TITANIC, The Second Class and Third Class have no chance of a bailout for them. It won't surprise me to see both out of business by the end of next year if not sooner. Bad decisions, strange ideas, stores don't look like they should...if any of you have been in either store, you know what I mean. Even the crickets have left the stores.
Dec 2, 2012 9:36AM
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Worst Business Decisions in my book

Ford shuts down for 18 months between the Model T and the Model A and looses 50% of it's market

Coke changes its' formula then goes back. 

Sears and K-Mart join forces to ruin the image of both stores

GM accepts bail out from Obama and looses half of it's market

1970's American Auto Manufacturer's relinquish the small car market to the importers because they can make more on larger cars.  They loose the ability and image for making an economy car. 

Nov 20, 2012 12:47PM
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They missed a good one in their study. Lucent Technologies. Was going great guns. And then Rich McGinn, a total incompetent, was appointed CEO (Carly Fiorina was one of his minions). First problem was the switch from anticipating the market and guiding it to "Market driven R&D", Second problem was an aquisition mania during which companies like Ascend and INS were bought at highly inflatd prices and given control of major Lucent Technolgies sectors without having the requisite knowlege of the Network (their space was enterprise), Third supporting and poviding financing for unqualified (in both senses) network contenders rainging from Global Crossings to PPL.
Dec 2, 2012 8:16AM
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k mart hired rosie o'dingdon as their spokesperson,we didn't go back unless no other one had items!!!
Nov 23, 2012 6:11PM
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Here's an interesting footnote to RCA - when RCA built the Spectra 70 series Mainframe computers to compete against IBM, RCA was an easy 10 - 15 years ahead in the technology of the machine.  It would take IBM another 10-15 years to implement the feature the RCA machines had! 
Nov 20, 2012 1:45AM
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How about Microsoft with Windows 8?  Or keeping Ballmer around while dumping talent?  Or throwing a lifeline to Apple?
Nov 23, 2012 7:36PM
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I think Spielberg gave Mars the first shot at having M&M's in "ET" and they passed on it. Hershey's didn't.  To this day my adult sons will invariably choose Reese's Pieces over M&M's if they have a choice.  If they have no choice they will chew of cane sugar stalks. 
Dec 2, 2012 11:23AM
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The CEOs dont care if the companies make it or not because they are making their millions regardless of how well the companies do.
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