Enlarge / End of line. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Welcome (almost) to 2017. If you're reading this, the Seventh Seal has not yet been broken, the cybers have not all fallen over, and you apparently have not been consigned to the kids' table by a disagreement with relatives about which bowl game to watch. Hooray for minor victories.

That means it's time for us to look forward to the year ahead and select the companies and technologies least likely to see its end.

"Deathwatch" is not a prediction of actual corporate demise—that sort of thing, as we've seen with past Deathwatch selectees, rarely happens quickly or completely. Most failing companies—and even many failed products—limp on in some way through acquisition, integration, inertia, or the eternal zombie life of bankruptcy protection. Instead, Deathwatch is a way of recognizing those entities in a different sort of mortal peril: technical, economic, and/or cultural irrelevance.

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