After a brief – but energetic – flirtation with hardware startups, Radio Shack went bankrupt, leaving many creditors in the cold. The hardest hit? Those same hardware startups. According to an open database of creditors, Radio Shack owes the likes of Afinia, Parallax, and LittleBits thousands of dollars.
Radio Shack did pay one creditor, though: Apple received just north of 3.3 million. Obviously the Cupertino giant had a number of contractual clauses the required payment no matter what, a side-effect of having excellent lawyers. Other smaller players were paid portions of the money owed.
“We are really reluctant to sell our products directly to retailers, the contracts are unfair towards a small company, it’s basically consignment and most of the time the buyer doesn’t actually care, you’re just part of a spreadsheet somewhere,” wrote Adafruit’s Phil Torrone. He recommends selling directly to consumers for exactly this reason.