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

If only YouTube had been around back then...


3. The PC is pointless.

Oh, those quaint little personal computers. Who needs 'em, right?

That was the attitude once expressed by Ken Olson, the head honcho at a tech company called Digital Equipment Corporation. Digital produced a series of successful minicomputers and went on to create the search site Alta Vista (which was later acquired by Yahoo -- indirectly -- and now sits among the company's soon-to-be-shuttered properties).

Olson's contributions to the field of technology were tremendous, no doubt, but he didn't always hit the nail on the head. Such was the case when Olson broadly dismissed the idea of PCs becoming household commodities.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home," Olson famously said in 1977.

Clearly, the phrase "Internet porn" had never entered his head.


4. TV? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Call it the telly, the boob tube, or the idiot box -- years ago, high-profile tech thinkers were calling television a trend that couldn't possibly stand the test of time.

Respected inventor Lee DeForest, known as one of the "fathers of the electronic age," declared TV a dead-in-the-water business.

"While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility," DeForest once remarked.

Darryl Zanuck, an exec from 20th Century Fox, seemed to agree. "Television won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months," Zanuck is quoted as saying. "People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."

Then there's T.A.M. Craven, an FCC engineer who thought he knew a thing or two about how home entertainment would evolve.

"There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States," Craven stated in 1961.

To be fair, some present-day DirecTV customers might argue that Craven was right when it comes to the question of quality.


5. Google's going nowhere.

All right, back to Microsoft: Our pals from Redmond have a history of knocking their competitors -- frequently in ways that come back to bite them. The company's many remarks on Google provide the perfect illustration.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Answers - Powered by ITworld

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Ask a Question