Bill Gates? Steve Jobs? They’re names you’d normally associate with cutting edge technology – but even the masters of the tech space can get it hopelessly wrong. Here are the top 5 worst technology predictions of all time.
1. The Prediction: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
This prediction was made in 1943 by Thomas J Watson who was IBM’s Chairman at that time.
Strong words indeed for the man who propelled IBM to greatness during his time running the iconic company – but luckily for the IT support industry, his prediction was obviously wrong. Just for the record, there are now over two billion computers connected to the Internet while 352 million PCs were shipped in 2012…
2. The Prediction: “Within five years, I predict [the tablet] will be the most popular form of PC sold in America.”
This prediction was made by Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft in 2002 when launching the Windows Tablet PC
Well, Gates was kind of right; he just got the timing and more significantly the platform wrong. Fast forward to 2013 and the iPad is the de facto choice for many tablet owners with Apple boasting about 40% of the market share – while Microsoft struggles to make a dent with only 1.8% of the market. Ouch.
3. The Prediction: “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”
The culprit responsible for getting ahead of himself was Ken Olsen the founder of Digital Equipment in 1977.
On the face of it, Olsen was obviously way off the mark with the home computer scene subsequently booming in the 80s, 90s and onwards. But could his prediction come true one day?
With the explosion in sales of tablets and smartphones, there is a very real risk that the traditional home computer could one day become a thing of the past – PC sales in 2012 declined by 3.2% compared to 2011, the first annual decline since 2001, while tablet shipments surged by 142.4% year on year in the first quarter of 2013. Time will tell…
4. The Prediction: “The subscription model of buying music is bankrupt. I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model, and it might not be successful.”
The victim of underselling himself was surprisingly – Steve Jobs – the late CEO of Apple who brought the company to it’s present glory.
The prediction made in 2003 proves that even geniuses like Steve Jobs can sometimes get things wrong. It’s especially ironic considering it was his own iTunes service (launched in 2007) that unequivocally showed that the music subscription market works really rather well. To date, iTunes music sales have generated $8 billion for Apple with its service accounting for 29% of all music sales…
5. The Prediction: “Two years from now, spam will be solved.”
Yes, Bill Gates is starring twice in this article. The prediction made in 2004 by Bill Gates the Co-founder of Microsoft shows that unfortunately he repeated past mistakes when making statements about the future of technology. This time the tech whizz was ruminating about the imminent death of spam, those wretched missives that plague your inbox and frustrate your IT support team. Alas, the problem of spam isn’t anywhere near being solved; research shows that 14.5 billion spam messages are sent out each day globally and that it accounts for 45% of all e-mails – with the cost in wasted time and resources to business set to increase to $198 billion annually…
Find out if your IT guy is saying things he shouldn’t or making false predictions about the future by reading : What the IT Crowd say (and what they actually mean…) E-guide.