Ten Worst Predictions

The first three are well known, but they have to be in any list of ten worst predictions. Gates now denies he ever said his. But it’s part of industry folk-lore.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home” Ken Olsen, Founder, Chairman and President of DEC 1977 “640K ought to be enough for anyone.” Bill Gates. ‘I think there is a world market for maybe five computers’ Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943 ‘Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit voice over wires and that, were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.’ Boston Post 1865. “While the Americans might need such a daft thing, Britain still has plenty of small boys to run around with messages.” John Tilley, Britain’s Post Master General in 1876, commenting on Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone which was patented that year. ‘The telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us Western Union internal memo 1876. “In the mid-70s, someone came to me with an idea for what was basically the PC. The idea was that we would outfit an 8080 processor with a keyboard and a monitor and sell it in the home market. I asked: ‘What’s it good for?’ And the only answer was that a housewife could keep her recipes on it. I personally didn’t see anything useful in it, so we never gave it another thought.” Gordon Moore World semiconductor market revenues will total $295bn in 2001. Dataquest Forecast in June 2000. “We see 2001 as another strong growth year, with market growth of 25 to 30 per cent and, for us, we’ll grow faster.” Pasquale Pistorio CEO of STMicroelectronics. ‘Next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput’ Sir Alan Sugar, February 2005.



  1. I saw an early (1870’s?) prediction that the big use of Alexander Graham Bell’s new invention, the Telephone, would be for those in rural areas of America to be able to hear the New York Metropolitan Opera at home. So saving train fare..
    Perhaps it just took longer than people then thought, for iTunes to be delivered over telephone lines!

  2. In the 90’s the powers to be told us that China and Asia are a big market. Globalization will bring lots of jobs to the U.S.A. Then we were told that U.S.A. will become a service oriented economy.
    Now, we have no manufacturing, minimum pay jobs with minimum or no benefits and even the service industry (which is the easiest one to outsource) is being moved overseas.
    This country will become simply a society of consumers. The only thing sustaining it will be the wast reserve of wealth that is slowly but surely being bled at a rapid pace, while we continue to spend on our luxuries. The ignorance and complacense of the average citizen is mind boggling.

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