The decision by HP to kill the TouchPad had to be an all emotional decision. The NY Times describes the pattern of big tech companies killing new products exceedingly fast. This is a near suicidal way to run a business.
Yes there are truly awful products that should have never made the light of day. The legendary Dan Moore had a business once that made custom insoles for shoes. The consumer would heat them in the microwave and the insert them in their shoes, immediately followed by their feet to mold the insert. It was a total financial loss. Dan went so far as to create an organization just to vet ideas, The Founders Cafe.
Sales cycles for products do not typically resemble concert tickets for the opening night of The Rolling Stones. Ask any VC firm if they like stratospheric sales projections. Yes they will like stratospheric sales, but not projections or business models that depend on them. The odds of winning the lottery are a little worse than you launching the next iPhone, but not much worse.
Products and even services are like battle plans, they rarely survive the first encounter with the enemy (or the consumer). This is why you have to be nimble and adjust. By the way, does anyone remember that the first iPhone had virtually no Apps? Great touch screen but not really a good phone or handheld computer. After the app store really got going the successive waves of huge iPhone launches were made possible.
Launch, Refine and Sell More. Refine again. Business is not about selecting six numbers between one and forty four.