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A Floppy Finish

"La-La-La," says the fat lady. The poor floppy disk must now face its final destiny.

Alas, poor floppy disk, we knew thee well. You carried our text files and low-resolution graphics from computer to computer. In your prime, you held entire programs in your approximately 3-inch-by-3.75-inch grasp. Now it's time to join your retired brethren-eight-track tapes, Apple Newtons and Rolodexes. Well, almost. Think of floppy disks as comparable to music cassette tapes. Both are still selling, but CD-RWs and CDs are slowly replacing them.

What will we do with our millions of floppy disks? Doug Patterson, pop culture collectibles guru at, knows where they won't be. "I'm afraid the floppy disk lacks the personality of a vintage record or a Pez dispenser to become much of a collectible. I can't imagine holding a floppy disk up and saying, 'Wow, remember when I stored my grocery list on this baby?'"

What once was the cutting edge of portable file storage is now the coaster in the office break room. Many new PCs are hitting the shelves free of floppy drives. "Everything goes on Zip disks these days," says Patterson. "The only people who will be collecting floppy disks will be a tiny percentage of the population known as 'Vintage Computer Nerds'!"

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This story appears in the September 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »