Betamax was one of Sony's biggest blunders.
The videocassette format was introduced in 1975, and initially sold well. But when JVC's VHS tape cartridge was introduced in 1978 Betamax quickly lost its lead. The press loved Beta for its superior picture quality, but Standard Betamax tapes were only 60 minutes, and VHS 3-hour tapes could record more TV shows.
VHS was more popular, but Betamax refused to die. US production ended in 1993, and the last Betamax machine in the world was produced in Japan in 2002.
Ah, but the Compact Disc was a hit from the get-go. On August 31, 1982, an announcement was made in Tokyo that four companies, Sony, CBS/Sony, Philips, and Polygram had jointly developed the world's first CD system. Talk of the CD's demise are premature, sales are still in the hundreds of millions a year.