The high-tech self-balancing scooter, the Segway, had a hyped beginning, and backing by big Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins, but it has been rolling downhill ever since.
Now, the company has recalled every Segway shipped to date, the second recall since the company began shipping in 2002.
Segway Inc. is recalling all 23,500 of the self-balancing scooters it has shipped to date because of a software glitch that can make its wheels unexpectedly reverse direction, causing riders to fall off. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is cooperating with Segway on the voluntary recall announced Thursday, said consumers should stop using the vehicles immediately
As recently as June, there was bullish talk about the Segway, with whispers of a possible initial public offering at some point. Just this week, we cited the chief executive waxing on about a more expansive vision for the Segway’s gyroscopic technology that could result in a bigger market, serving cars, for example. Hmmm, did the chief executive know about the recall coming? They’d better get the basics down first.
Update: Reports are now saying this move is unlikely to result in many people actually taking in their Segways as a result of the recall. The faithful appear to be fine with their Segways. To be fair, we quote CEO Jim Norrod’s response to Associated Press: “We don’t see that it will have a negative impact on business at all.”