Both Beta and VHS had no space between recorded tracks on the tape. The method that Beta used to cancel the adjacent track pickup, a 180 degree phase shift incarrier signal, was superior to the method used in VHS, a 90 degree progressive shift, and resulted in a higher signal to noise ratio. This was especially noticable in the background of darker scenes.
One of the big reasons why Beta lost to VHS: Licensing. When JVC introduced VHS format, licenses for the tape format and the case dimensions were FREE. whereas Sony kept insisting on a fee. So finally NEC, Sanyo, and BASF gave up.
Turkeys: Don't forget the infamous 4-track and 8-track tape formats!
If we are fortunate, 3D video both on TVs and in theaters will be the next big turkey. It is a serious waste of both effort and resources, and an embarrassing grab for more money by an industry that has become unable to do anything really worthwhile in the line of creativity. So let us all do our part by adopting a "why bother" attitude whenever any shill attempts to hype any new 3D product or development. Really, it makes a bit less sense than quadraphonic sound ever did.
Iridium from Motorola must qualify as a class 1 turkey. Technically, putting a swarm of satellites in low Earth orbit to deliver satellite phone coverage anywhere was an elegant concept, and the satellite portion of the network was deliverable, even if visionary. But the delivered cost burden was too much for the average cellular user. A marketing and business plan failure.
Charges of $$'s per minute, plus large, heavy handsets made it the phone of last resort. Earthbound cellular networks, for a fraction of the per-minute price, triumphed. Small handsets, available from multiple competing companies were light years ahead of Motorola Cellular offerings.
Ed Stianno of Motorola was installed to fix the problems, but the service survives now as a military-oriented global network.
DECNET 5 was designed from OSI specs and was vastly improved over DECNET 4. Customers switched to TCP/IP instead of upgrading.
Sony's memory stick.
And not electronics itself but surely can strung a chord in many hearts :
The Arts of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill (3rd Edition)
It's even got ISDN # in 2006 and pre-orders were accepted.
Bubble memory. Thin film magnetic RAM. Two promising technologies, both overtaken by DRAM.
Thermionic integrated micromodules, one of the wonders of the early 1950s.
The Viatron computer; now there was a market failure that sank its company.
Commercial Unix, could have killed DOS in the cradle if the vendors had sense enough to price it for maximum total revenue instead of maximum per-copy price.
Nothing wrong with coax cable Ethernet; it's superior where EMI suppression is especially important, and mandatatory under French law in nuclear power plants. It ain't going away.
There was more to it, though. I had a PS/2, and I very much liked MCA. But the handwriting was on the wall when MCA's speed became inadequate for it to be used as a combined perpipheral and memory bus. Which was a major part of MCA's coolness.
I see it as one example of a new idea that became overtaken by events. The old ISA standard got ungraded with PnP, which took some of the wind out of MCA's sails, faster memory buses had to be introduced regardless, the PCI standard emerged, with a neat new backplane connector design that looked similar to MCA's (and very different from the crude ISA connector), and no one but IBM was using MCA. It died a natural death.