Microsoft predicted the future in 2000. What the hell happened?

Video concepts that seemed space-age 13 years ago now part of everyday life, except for the Microsoft part.

Bloomberg.com has a great article detailing an event that took place more than 13 years ago where Steve Ballmer, then the new CEO of Microsoft, detailed the company's vision of the future of computing.

MicrosoftFuture590.jpg

Included in this were a bunch of concept videos, which were a lot like videos we've seen from AT&T, showing everyday people interacting with their computers and gadgets to get work done, buy tickets, view photos, etc. Like many of these predictions, the equipment may look out of date (as well as the clothing), but the general concepts came true. In this video (edited by Bloomberg), we see concepts of personalized content, photo-sharing, voice recognition/control, handheld gadgets like smartphones and tablets, and even location-recognition.

The amazing part, as the Bloomberg post points out, is "how Microsoft failed to execute on nearly all of it."

"Some of the ideas were simply before their time. Others became bogged down in internecine squabbles between Microsoft fiefdoms, and philosophical debates about whether to keep Windows at the center of the new world or to build a separate platform. And then, the dot-com bubble burst."

The article serves as a valuable lesson for companies - if you predict the future so accurately, do your best to make sure that happens.

Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

What’s wrong? The new clean desk test
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies