by Mike Masnick

Taking Down Iridium

from the you-won't-have-iridium-to-kick-around-any-more dept

The ultimate story in failures, Iridium, has finally decided that are no real potential buyers for the system, and are finalizing plans to destroy the satellites. I still think Iridium is a wonderful case study in what not to do in building a business. From the very beginning everyone explained why it would never work, but that never stopped them from spending their billions.

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  • identicon
    Don, 25 Aug 2000 @ 2:29pm

    Taking Down Iridium

    As one who worked at Iridium LLC for over 5 years, the situation was not a simple "we won't listen to reason" one. The problem was that Iridium was trying to spin many plates in the air at the same time--technical, marketing, sales & distribution, managing a 21st century global organization among them. The technical specs of the system had been frozen by Motorola in the early 90s--f'rinstance, the decision to limit data transmissions to 2400bps was made when 2400bps was the consumer standard--which made it impossible for Iridium to adapt.

    One aspect that no one has commented on publicly is that Motorola provided handsets with a very slim, comparatively small "form factor" until fairly late in 1997. When they finally gave LLC the models for the near-production model, the slim size and pencil-thin antenna had been replaced by a thick body and cigar-sized antenna. Iridium was sandbagged by this Motorola oh-by-the-way, and given Kyocera's software problems with their cool-silver, smaller handset, had no plan-B strategy available.


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