Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Amazon A9 Innovation Cleanup


In 2004, Amazon unveiled A9, their search engine. The main distinction is that it let you search through pages of books on Amazon. I didn't know that a year ago it died a quiet, innovation death. It didn't get that vital nutrient, customer adoption. This left users with A9 ‘stuff' in their mental model and on their computers to ‘remove' such as:
  • A9 Instant Reward
  • A9 Toolbar
  • A9 Yellow Pages
  • A9 Maps
Even the name itself has changed to "A9.com's OpenSearch Client." Already forgotten it?
I'm blogging about this because the Amazon Kindle is now making a splash as the Next Great Thing. We have a tendency to forgive and forget innovation failures if a company delivers a subsequent innovation success. There was Palm's Zoomer which was replaced by the wildly successful PalmPilot. Maybe we don't remember them because they never became connective tissue in our memory because of bad user experience, while the good ones take hold forever.

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