Key global tech platforms that shut shop in 2021

San Francisco: From Epic Games’ Houseparty to Alphabet’s Loon, several global startups/platforms shut shops in a year that was partially hit by the pandemic and lockdowns.

Epic Games in September announced it is shutting down popular social video chat app Houseparty.

Founded in 2015, Houseparty offered a way for users to participate in group video chats with friends and even play games, like Uno, trivia, Heads Up and others.

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Epic Games had integrated Houseparty with Fortnite, initially to allow gamers to see live feeds from friends while gaming, then later adding support to livestream gameplay directly into Houseparty.

LG Electronics announced that it will be withdrawing from the mobile business.

The South Korean company said in a regulatory filing that its mobile communications (MC) unit will no longer produce and sell handsets after July 31, citing a slump in business and fierce competition in the industry as the reasons behind the decision.

LG’s mobile business has been in the red since the second quarter of 2015. Its accumulated operating losses reached 5 trillion won ($4.4 billion) last year.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, also announced plans to shut down its Internet balloon firm Loon. The former Google X project was spun out as an independent company of Alphabet in 2018 alongside Wing, Alphabet’s drone business.

The company in 2020 launched a fleet of 35 balloons in Kenya to provide service to over a 50,000 km region to subscribers of Telekom Kenya.

Robotic startup Abundant Robotics quietly closed up shop in 2021.

Over the years, the company managed to raise $12 million, including a $10 million Series A led by GV (Google Ventures) back in 2017, reports TechCrunch.

In March 2020, Apple acquired the Dark Sky weather app, which was popular for its hyperlocal focus.

By June 2021, the iOS app and API service officially had expiration dates, with co-founder Adam Grossman writing: “Support for the Dark Sky API service for existing customers will continue until the end of 2022. The iOS app and Dark Sky website will also be available until the end of 2022.”

Launched in 2014, Pearl Automation, an automotive accessory startup, shuttered just a year after launching out of stealth mode.

Founded by former Apple engineers, Pearl debuted with a wireless rear-view camera and already began shipping out its products, which cost $499.99.

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