6 premature predictions of tech failure

Sometimes really smart people say really stupid things. Here are six instances when tech execs made bold predictions -- and ended up eating their words.

By , ITworld |  Hardware, Android, Bill Gates

When you're a public figure, making predictions can be risky business.

Just ask Craig Mundie, Microsoft's head of research and strategy. Mundie recently went out on a limb and said he wasn't so sure if tablets -- you know, those shiny gadgets selling like hotcakes right now -- had much of a future.

"I don't know whether the big screen tablet pad category is going to remain with us or not," Mundie remarked during an event in Australia.

Mundie, no surprise, found himself the target of countless critical blogs and news reports. (It didn't help that just 16 months earlier, Mundie had said the time was right for tablet computing. Also, Microsoft itself has been working on a Windows-based tablet device for ages and is expected to have models on the market next year.) But hey, maybe the guy knows something we don't. Maybe he's the one who'll look like the genius 10 years from now.

If not, though, Mundie wouldn't be the first tech exec to make a daring prediction that doesn't pan out. In fact, he'd have plenty of egg-faced companions right within his company's walls.

Remember these high-profile proclamations?


1. The iPod is a goner.

If Microsoft's recent doomsday prediction for the tablet sounds familiar, there's a reason: It was just six short years ago that Microsoft chairman and co-founder Bill Gates made some brash statements about another one of Apple's market-defining gadgets. We're talking, of course, about the portable digital music player -- that little thing called the iPod. Back in 2005, Gates declared that its days were numbered.

"I don't think the success of the iPod can continue in the long term," Gates said in an interview with a German newspaper.

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