Amazon Failures

57 Failed Amazon Businesses & Analyses on Why they Shut Down

Here are 57 analyses on why has Amazon failed to build and profitably run startups, products, and acquired businesses.

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In 2004, Jeff Bezos vowed to build “an earth-scale company”.

To do this he made small investments in building several startups and technologies.

Amazon also acquired established companies that were already profitable.

The problem is that most of these businesses have failed.

In some cases, they failed hard and in slow motion.

Here are 57 analyses on why has Amazon failed to build and profitably run startups, products, and acquired businesses.

57 Failed Amazon Businesses, Products, and Startups

1) Fire Phone

Fire Phone Amazon Showcase

Fire phone was a failed smartphone. Not only was the product overpriced, but its unique features of 3D visualisation and identification was also of no real utility.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2014
  • Closed in: 2015
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Poor Product

You can read more about Fire Phone’s failure here.


2) Dash Buttons

Dash Buttons Amazon

Amazon Dash Button was discontinued due to the introduction of advanced alternatives such as Virtual Dash buttons and Dash Replenish Service.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2015
  • Closed in: 2019
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about Dash Buttons’s failure here.


3) Pets.com

Pets.com Amazon

Pets.com was a pet supply website Amazon invested in. The company was making losses every month and it became a major victim of the dot-com bubble.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1998
  • Closed in: 2000
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Multiple Reasons

You can read more about Pets.com’s failure here.


4) Amazon Auction

Amazon Auction was Amazon's version of eBay. The platform came to an end as Amazon's enthusiasm die down and it slowly started neglecting the service.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1999
  • Closed in: 2001
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Multiple Reasons

You can read more about Amazon Auction’s failure here.


5) Amazon Destinations

Amazon Destinations Landing Page

Amazon Destinations was a local getaway travel agency. Despite its niche, the fierce industrial competition was a barrier for Amazon to penetrate the market.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2015
  • Closed in: 2015
  • Category: Travel
  • Cause of failure: Competition

You can read more about Amazon Destinations’s failure here.


6) Myhabit.com

MyHabit Landing Page Amazon

MyHabit was a membership-only online retail store relying on its flash sales business model. It closed down as the popularity of flash sales started dying down.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2011
  • Closed in: 2016
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about Myhabit.com’s failure here.


7) LiveBid.com

Livebid was an online auction platform acquired by Amazon. It was discontinued as Amazon stopped pursuing the auction business for more profitable ventures.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1996
  • Closed in: 2001
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about LiveBid.com’s failure here.


8) BuyVIP

Amazon BuyVIP Landing Page

BuyVIP was a member-only luxury goods e-commerce acquired by Amazon. It closed down as it struggled to stay profitable with its flash sales business model.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2006
  • Closed in: 2010
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Unprofitable

You can read more about BuyVIP’s failure here.


9) BookSurge

BookSurge was an inventory-free publishing platform with on-demand book printing service. It shut down as Amazon merged BookSurge into CreateSpace.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2000
  • Closed in: 2005
  • Category: Education
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about BookSurge’s failure here.


10) Whole Foods 365

Whole Foods 365 Market

Amazon closed down its supermarket chain Whole Foods 365 as it had no significant advantage once Amazon had acquired Whole Foods.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2016
  • Closed in: 2019
  • Category: Food & Beverage
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about Whole Foods 365’s failure here.


11) Amazon Unbox

Amazon Unbox Video Downloads

Amazon Unbox was a movie downloading platform. Amazon decided to discontinue Unbox to focus on their upgraded services now known as Prime Video.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2006
  • Closed in: 2015
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about Amazon Unbox’s failure here.


12) Kozmo.com

Kozmo was a failed company Amazon invested in. Its closure was due to their business model shift during the dot-com bubble.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1998
  • Closed in: 2001
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Unprofitable

You can read more about Kozmo.com’s failure here.


13) TextPayMe

TextPayMe Amazon

TextPayMe was rebranded to Amazon Webpay after the acquisition. It failed to garner attention as the peer-2-peer market has not taken off back then.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2005
  • Closed in: 2006
  • Category: Finances
  • Cause of failure: Multiple Reasons

You can read more about TextPayMe’s failure here.


14) Amazon Storywriter

Amazon Storywriter Platform

Amazon Storywriter was an online screenwriting platform that failed due to Amazon's change in company policy and struggle to attract global appeal.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2015
  • Closed in: 2019
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Cause of failure: No Market Need

You can read more about Amazon Storywriter’s failure here.


15) Amazon Payphrase

Amazon Payphrase Payment Solution

Amazon PayPhrase was one of Amazon's failed online payment systems. There was no market need as better solutions were already available.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2009
  • Closed in: 2012
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: No Market Need

You can read more about Amazon Payphrase’s failure here.


16) Amazon Local

Amazon Local Marketplace

Amazon Local was a marketplace to find daily local deals. As the popularity of daily deals comes to an end, the business model was no longer sustainable.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2011
  • Closed in: 2015
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Unprofitable

You can read more about Amazon Local’s failure here.


17) Amazon Tap

Amazon Tap

Amazon Tap was an early version of Amazon Echo. It was discontinued due to customer disappointment of its limited functions and poor performance.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2016
  • Closed in: 2018
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Cause of failure: Unprofitable

You can read more about Amazon Tap’s failure here.


18) Endless.com

Endless Amazon E-commerce

Endless.com was an e-commerce for shoes and accessories. Back then, Amazon owned two other fashion sites, making Endless.com obsolete in its portfolio.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2007
  • Closed in: 2012
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about Endless.com’s failure here.


19) Shelfari

Amazon Shelfari Homepage

Amazon invested and acquired Shelfari, a social cataloging website for books. But it closed it down as it was merged with Goodreads.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2006
  • Closed in: 2016
  • Category: Education
  • Cause of failure: No Market Need

You can read more about Shelfari’s failure here.

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20) Amazon Spark

Amazon Spark Mobile App

Amazon Spark was a social commerce platform shut down in 2019. It failed to gain traction because of its confusing UI and poor promotional strategy.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2017
  • Closed in: 2019
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Multiple Reasons

You can read more about Amazon Spark’s failure here.


21) Amazon Restaurants

Amazon Restaurants Delivery Service

Amazon Restaurant was a food delivery service. After 3 years of running, it was discontinued due to the huge competition in the market.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2015
  • Closed in: 2018
  • Category: Food & Beverage
  • Cause of failure: Competition

You can read more about Amazon Restaurants’s failure here.


22) Yap

Yap was a speech recognition system acquired by Amazon. The team discontinued Yap and started over, leading to the development of Alexa.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2006
  • Closed in: 2011
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Yap’s failure here.


23) Withoutabox

Amazon Withoutabox Website

Withoutabox was a website for filmmakers to distribute films. It shut down as it struggled to stay competitive and customers were disappointed by its service.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2000
  • Closed in: 2019
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Cause of failure: Competition

You can read more about Withoutabox’s failure here.


24) Wing.ae

Amazon Wing.ae Shipping Service

Wing.ae was an efficient delivery service acquired by Amazon. Its delivery solution were used for Amazon Prime same-day shipping and other marketplaces

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2016
  • Closed in: 2017
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Wing.ae’s failure here.


25) Amazon Webstores

Amazon Webstores allowed merchants to build their e-commerce websites on their platform but failed to compete with emerging startups like Shopify.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2010
  • Closed in: 2015
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Competition

You can read more about Amazon Webstores’s failure here.


26) Amazon Webpay

Amazon WebPay Payment System

Amazon Webpay was an online payment system. It shut down in 2014 as it was unsuccessful in differentiating itself from existing market players like PayPal.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2011
  • Closed in: 2014
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about Amazon Webpay’s failure here.


27) Amazon Wallet

Amazon Wallet Mobile App

Amazon wallet was an e-wallet for loyalty cards, gifts cards, etc. The app failed to gain traction due to its limited features and lack of adoption by other retailers.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2014
  • Closed in: 2015
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Competition

You can read more about Amazon Wallet’s failure here.


28) Touchco

Amazon Touchco Product

Touchco, a discontinued touch screen technology acquired by Amazon, merged with Amazon's Kindle hardware division to upgrade Kindles' display.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2009
  • Closed in: 2010
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Touchco’s failure here.


29) Amazon Tickets

Amazon Tickets Platform

Amazon Tickets shut down because it failed to compete against huge market player such as Ticketmaster, See Tickets, and AXS in the saturated market.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2015
  • Closed in: 2018
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Cause of failure: Competition

You can read more about Amazon Tickets’s failure here.


30) Amazon Test Drive

Amazon Test Drive

Amazon Test drive was an app for users to try apps without downloading them. It shut down due to the decline in usage as free to play models were on the rise.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2011
  • Closed in: 2015
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Multiple Reasons

You can read more about Amazon Test Drive’s failure here.


31) TenMarks Education

Amazon TenMarks Homepage

TenMarks Education, Inc was a platform for personalised online math programs acquired by Amazon. It shut down as Amazon scaled back its education effort.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2009
  • Closed in: 2019
  • Category: Education
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about TenMarks Education’s failure here.


32) Teachstreet

Amazon Teachstreet Landing Page

When Amazon acquired TeachStreet, a marketplace for local/online classes, TeachStreet ended its operation as employees were transferred to AmazonLocal.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2008
  • Closed in: 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Teachstreet’s failure here.


33) SnapTell

SnapTell was a visual product search technology acquired by Amazon but discontinued as Amazon merged SnapTell's technology with the Amazon experience.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2006
  • Closed in: 2009
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about SnapTell’s failure here.


34) Shoefitr

Amazon Shoefitr Sizeguide

Shoefitr was an Amazon-acquired online shoe-fitting software. Amazon revealed that Shoefitr was no longer in use but reasons were undisclosed.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2010
  • Closed in: 2016
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Shoefitr’s failure here.


35) Safaba

Safaba was an automated translation software company. After acquired by Amazon, the team is known as Amazon Machine Translation R&D group.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2009
  • Closed in: 2015
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Safaba’s failure here.


36) Rooftop Media

Rooftop Media was a platform for comedy live performances. After Amazon's acquisition, its content became part of its growing audiobook service Audible.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2006
  • Closed in: 2014
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Rooftop Media’s failure here.


37) Reflexive Entertainment

Amazon Reflexive Gaming Service

Reflexive Entertainment was an online game distribution service that changed its focus to game development and merged with Amazon Game Studios.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1997
  • Closed in: 2010
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Cause of failure: Multiple Reasons

You can read more about Reflexive Entertainment’s failure here.


38) Quidsi

Amazon Quidsi Brands

Quidsi, one of the fastest-growing e-commerce companies in 2005, had to shut down as it failed to be profitable after being acquired by Amazon.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2010
  • Closed in: 2017
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Unprofitable

You can read more about Quidsi’s failure here.

39) Amazon Pop-up Stores

Amazon Pop-Up Stores

In Pop-Up Stores, Amazon sold their own products. However, it became redundant as Amazon started expanding into the brick-and-mortar retail spaces.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2014
  • Closed in: 2019
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about Amazon Pop-up Stores’s failure here.


40) PlanetAll

Amazon PlanetAll

PlanetAll was a social networking site acquired by Amazon in 1998. It became redundant as Amazon integrated some features of PlanetAll into Amazon.com.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1996
  • Closed in: 2000
  • Category: Social Media
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about PlanetAll’s failure here.


41) Partpic

Amazon Partpic Mobile App

Partpic is a visual technology to identify industrial parts. There was no news about the company ever since the acquisition by Amazon.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2013
  • Closed in: 2016
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Partpic’s failure here.


42) OurHouse.com

OurHouse.com was an online home goods retailer. It shut down as it failed to stay profitable and relevant in the rapidly changing industry.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1999
  • Closed in: 2001
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Multiple Reasons

You can read more about OurHouse.com’s failure here.


43) Mobipocket

Amazon Mobipocket Reader

Mobipocket was a reader software for eBooks. Since acquired by Amazon, there was a decline in software support which forced Mobipocket to shut down.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2000
  • Closed in: 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about Mobipocket’s failure here.


44) MindCorps Incorporated

MindCorps Incorporated was a reputable software and consulting company acquired by Amazon. It dissolved in 2000 but its reasons were undisclosed.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1996
  • Closed in: 1998
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about MindCorps Incorporated’s failure here.


45) LoveFilm

Amazon LoveFilm DVD Rental Service

LoveFilm was a DVD rental and video streaming provider acquired by Amazon. The market shift from disc to online streaming prompted the closure of LoveFile.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2002
  • Closed in: 2017
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about LoveFilm’s failure here.


46) Amazon Local Register

Amazon Local Register Card Reader

Amazon Local Register, a wireless card reader, failed as it was unprofitable due to its thin profit margin on processing fees and failure to capture a large market.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2014
  • Closed in: 2016
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Unprofitable

You can read more about Amazon Local Register’s failure here.


47) Liquavista

Amazon Liquavista

Liquavista was an Amazon-acquired company on a mission to solve battery life. Soon after, there was no market need due to improvements in battery lifes.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2006
  • Closed in: 2018
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: No Market Need

You can read more about Liquavista’s failure here.


48) Junglee

Amazon Junglee

Junglee was a price comparison shopping service acquired by Amazon. It was made redundant as Amazon integrated Junglee's features into Amazon India.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1996
  • Closed in: 2017
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: Lack of Focus

You can read more about Junglee’s failure here.


49) Amazon Instant Pickup

Amazon Instant Pickup

Amazon Instant Pickup allowed people to collect their orders at pre-selected locations. Its closure was confirmed but no reasons were disclosed.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2017
  • Closed in: 2018
  • Category: e-Commerce
  • Cause of failure: No Reason Given

You can read more about Amazon Instant Pickup’s failure here.


50) Amazon Fresh's Local Market Seller

Amazon Fresh Local Market Seller

Amazon Fresh's Local Market Seller was closed down as there was no need for groceries from its third party local after Amazon acquired Whole Foods.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2007
  • Closed in: 2018
  • Category: Food & Beverage
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about Amazon Fresh's Local Market Seller’s failure here.


51) Egghead Software

Amazon Egghead Software

Egghead was a computer store selling products at low prices. The company filed for bankruptcy but was still acquired to join the primary Amazon brand.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1984
  • Closed in: 2001
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Egghead Software’s failure here.


52) Amazon Cloud Player

Amazon Cloud Player

Amazon Music Importer/Cloud Player allowed cloud storage for music.  With the market transition to online streaming, this feature did not gain much traction.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2012
  • Closed in: 2015
  • Category: Music
  • Cause of failure: Obsolete

You can read more about Amazon Cloud Player’s failure here.


53) Bookpages

Bookpages was UK's largest online bookstore. It was acquired by Amazon and discontinued as they both merged.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1996
  • Closed in: 1998
  • Category: Education
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Bookpages’s failure here.


54) Avalon Books

Avalon Books was a book publisher for romance and mystery novels. The brand is no longer active as it merged with Amazon's book publishing business.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 1950
  • Closed in: 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Avalon Books’s failure here.


55) Amazon AskVille

Amazon AskVille

Amazon AskVille was an online Q&A platform that shut down after 7 years, due to a decline in customers and the rise in competitors like Quora.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2006
  • Closed in: 2013
  • Category: Productivity
  • Cause of failure: Competition

You can read more about Amazon AskVille’s failure here.


56) Amie Street

Amazon Amie Street

Amie Street was an online indie music store acquired by Amazon. It's was discontinued as Amazon's focus transitioned onto Songza, a social music service.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2006
  • Closed in: 2010
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Amie Street’s failure here.


57) Amiato

Amiato was a data analysis and business intelligence tool acquired by Amazon. Most employees from Amiato went to work for Amazon.

Details of the project:

  • Started in: 2011
  • Closed in: 2014
  • Category: Software & Hardware
  • Cause of failure: Acquisition Flu

You can read more about Amiato’s failure here.

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