10 Tech Companies in Search of a Success Formula in 2014

1 - 10 Tech Companies in Search of a Success Formula in 2014
2 - BlackBerry
3 - Microsoft
4 - HTC
5 - Best Buy
6 - Sony
7 - AMD
8 - Groupon
9 - Dell
10 - HP
11 - Zynga
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10 Tech Companies in Search of a Success Formula in 2014

by Don Reisinger

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Is it any wonder that BlackBerry made this list? The mobile company has failed to make a dent in the smartphone market, and despite plans to stay the course, it appears that its best chances of survival reside solely in enterprise solutions, BlackBerry Messenger and its own network that could be leased out to telcos. Hopefully, the once-great company will find a path back to success at some point soon.

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Under the leadership of new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft finds itself in a difficult position. The company's Windows 8 has proven to be a public relations nightmare, and despite its best efforts, Bing and advertising cannot match Google on any level. Then there's the issue of increased competition in the cloud. Despite the profits, not everything looks great at Microsoft.

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HTC could very well be on its last legs. The company's HTC One handset was well-received in the marketplace but still couldn't help the firm break low-single-digit market share worldwide. The Android leader right now is Samsung. HTC hopes to change that at Mobile World Congress, but the odds are stacked against it.

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Best Buy

From declining same-store revenue to store closures, Best Buy looks to be a company destined for failure. Although the company generates billions of dollars each year, it has been unable to compete with Amazon's prices, and Best Buy’s brick-and-mortar store costs are skyrocketing. Best Buy has also dealt with a leadership vacuum over the last couple of years and, like Circuit City and CompUSA, looks like a ghost ship ready to run aground.

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The "One Sony" initiative outlined by Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai is simple: focus the company on key areas, like mobile and gaming, and eliminate any assets or divisions that don't fall in line with its resurgence. To some extent, that effort has helped Sony, especially in gaming where its revenue is way up. Still, Hirai needs to solve the mobile enigma with a device that can appeal to consumers and finally put an end to his desire to compete in televisions. The once-great Sony is too big and too far behind the curve to stay on the same path.

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AMD's troubles are far too numerous to fully outline in a single caption. But suffice it to say that in just a few short years, it's possible that AMD as we know it today might not be around. The company has no presence in mobile—a major market for chip makers—and even enthusiasts seem to be ignoring its processors. Its video cards business is doing somewhat well, but that's not enough to sustain such a big company. AMD is in deep, deep trouble.

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Remember when Groupon was all the rage in the e-commerce? Well, over the last couple of years, the company has watched its losses mount as vendors realize that it might not be the panacea in commerce that the company had claimed. Groupon has made efforts to improve its sales in areas around the United States, but it seems unlikely that the company will ever again achieve its past glory.

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There was a time—not long ago, in fact—that Dell was the dominant force in enterprise computing, was on top of the consumer PC market, and seemed invincible with its highly regarded supply chain. But then, the Mac started to gain in popularity, Windows Vista was a bust, and Dell failed to see both the mobile craze and the cloud craze coming. The result? A faltering Dell that is now private. Let's hope that 2014 will be better to the company than 2013 was.

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Hewlett-Packard, under the leadership of Meg Whitman, has started to make a turnaround in the enterprise. Still, the company doesn't quite seem to know where to go. HP has tried to make its presence felt in mobile in the past, but it failed. The PC space is in decline. And yet, HP continues to claim that it can turn things around in both markets. Chances are, however, that at least in mobile, HP won't be able to do much to gain market share.

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Zynga was once the most important and successful online-gaming company in the world. But after its hits, like FarmVille, started to falter, and it had trouble monetizing the game, Zynga was forced to close several offices. Now, Zynga is trying to be a broader game company, offering everything from online gambling to mobile apps and board games.

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