Infamous Tech Industry Predictions and Quotations

By Graham Singer on December 12, 2013, 12:18 AM

The computing industry is fuelled by prediction and gossip. Before the patent became the carefully guarded weapon it is today, chip engineers from competing companies would often share an astounding amount of information on an informal basis -- not just with each other, but with the wider consumer audience as well.

Within an industry known as much for its predictive pronouncements and verbal sparring as its actual innovation, low bandwidth morality, and elastic attitude towards intellectual property rights, many have felt compelled to follow Intel co-founder Gordon Moore (of Moore's Law) in bringing their judgements and observations into the public eye… with varying degrees of success.

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User Comments: 30

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1 person liked this | RH00D RH00D said:

The Linux/OS Wars one was the funniest. Mostly funny because it'll never be true and a little more funny because some Linux fanatics actually think it will happen.

Not a Linux hater, but come on you got to be realistic.

Major Plonquer said:

When presented with an opportunity in 1986 to license Guide, the first commercially available hypertext browser, Gates threw the proposal across the table and asked "Who would ever want a browser"? Thanks to Gates' insight, Microsoft are still playing catch up.

2 people like this | Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Don't know when or why this was said, but even in a hindsight it bears lots of truth:

"Computers are like bikinis. They save people a lot of guesswork." Sam Ewing (whoever he is)

As usual Graham a very pleasant read

Guest said:

are graham singer and eli Wallace one and the same?

:p

nice article.

in business (and in life), never say never. imagine what would have happened if steve jobs did not return to apple? (or did not die and instead decides to be the new MS CEO.)

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

This how it was simple time, today they're grown so huge and forgot how they did care about their software products.

p51d007 said:

That one made me laugh...I've been in the photocopier business since 1981.

Now, that is all we see is the MFP (multifunction printer).

"Above all, what we'll never see fly is the scanner / printer / fax / copier combo"

- John C. Dvorak

[PC Magazine, November 27, 1990]

MilwaukeeMike said:

I'd like to see the other half of the predictions. The ones that were right and years ahead of their time.

1 person liked this | mojorisin23 mojorisin23 said:

Seems like John Dvorak has made the most asinine comments of the last two decades. I really hope he's still not employed by PC Mag.

Mugsy said:

Wondering why THIS comment is in the list:

"I don't know if anyone has tried to run Windows on a 286 machine, but frankly I'd rather have knitting needles in my eyes" - 1991

In '91, most people were using the 386, and Windows 3.1 was *already* slow & crash prone. The 286 was slower, didn't have an FPU, and the memory-protection sucked. The quote was very true even back in '91.

Guest said:

Fun read, especially for those of us around in the 80s or 90s.

"Above all, what we'll never see fly is the scanner / printer / fax / copier combo"

- John C. Dvorak

Having known John in the 90s, it would be easier to find predictions he made that actually came true. I know many people that made a living from investing in anything Dvorak claimed was crap.

I was always amazed how connected and somewhat well regarded he was in the technology world and yet how little he actually understood about technology.

Guest said:

The best prediction in the history of mankind is missing:

[video embed]

Guest said:

Those PowerPc predictions were true right? It really wasn't that successful.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Those PowerPc predictions were true right? It really wasn't that successful.

Depends upon your definition. PowerPC is usually associated with Apple Corp., but is also found in IBM's RS/6000 series enterprise systems, gaming consoles, automobiles, aircraft, and of course, the Mars rover vehicle.

Wondering why THIS comment is in the list

Because the article concerns (in)famous quotes as well as predictions.

Blkfx1 Blkfx1 said:

Can TS hire Graham full time lol? I really do enjoy his articles.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Wondering why THIS comment is in the list:

"I don't know if anyone has tried to run Windows on a 286 machine, but frankly I'd rather have knitting needles in my eyes" - 1991

In '91, most people were using the 386, and Windows 3.1 was *already* slow & crash prone. The 286 was slower, didn't have an FPU, and the memory-protection sucked. The quote was very true even back in '91.

Coleco Adam Family Computer, Radio Shack Tandy Computer TRS80, 286 then came 386 and 486 the Pentium were we are today..

ikesmasher said:

I remember years ago reading about someone important in science in the early 19th century saying "Everything that can be invented, has been invented."

Still, great article. Had some good laughs.

JC713 JC713 said:

Very interesting read. Thanks.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Luckily I understood most of these comments, but some context would be needed for non-techies. But, why are they reading such an article anyway... Interesting read! More please.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

Made my day. nice article

"[Intel's Pentium name] better suited as "a name for toothpaste"

"[ Athlon for AMD's new processor] It sounds more like a pair of sneakers. Or perhaps a new ointment"

EClyde EClyde said:

And here is your Christmas buying guide

I like that Dvorak guy. He may be wrong but he isn't milk toast which is what most of the stuff we are fed is

Sniped_Ash said:

"I can see the day when Apple won't be in the personal computer business" and "The personal computer business as we have known it is not very attractive for the Nineties"

Well, he was half right at least!

Nacelle Nacelle said:

Quoting John C. Dvorak is a bit too easy. Spouting outlandish things to get the conversation going is what he does. For a long time he claimed he got no spam.

Guest said:

I read this a while back.. the words are sure right.. but I don't remember where I read it. it was a faux pas made by Bill gates in (again not sure) 1983 or 84. when he said "64KB ought to enough for everyone" or something like that.. again correct me if I am wrong...!!!

RPixxel8 RPixxel8 said:

Even before Moore, there was Countus Aponus, The Inciteful, who during the second Dynasty in Egypt, predicted, "I think these pyramids are going to just keep getting bigger for at least the next 500 years." Based on his observations of the last 100 years.

Gates has by far made the most ridiculous predictions, and in fact, every decision up until now that has had his stamp of approval was based on such predictions. The computer industry may never be able to iron out all of the hardware flaws in the PC's design due to his un-inciteful, profit-focused decisions.

Chazz said:

I read this a while back.. the words are sure right.. but I don't remember where I read it. it was a faux pas made by Bill gates in (again not sure) 1983 or 84. when he said "64KB ought to enough for everyone" or something like that.. again correct me if I am wrong...!!!

From what I understand, this is false. Someone made it up.

DDRAMbo said:

From what I understand, this is false. Someone made it up.

The quote was something like, "No one will ever need more than 640k of memory", and has always been attributed to Gates. Those who say otherwise point to the lack of 'proof', as though there had to be a recording device of some kind, especially for someone as profound whenever he opens his mouth, and the acceptance of his own denial that he said it. The fact is that Gates was working with IBM about as closely as any software guy can work with a hardware manufacturer that had no idea what Bill's plans were for the os. Is it more likely that he gave them the go-ahead with the follow-up quote, or that IBM took the reigns of the hardware design away from the os designer and set that limit themselves? Gates' oses have always been a factor in the hardware design of the pc, and that's unfortunate. Whether Gates' denial or the memory limitation set by IBM were pulled out of either of their asses is still debatable.

Guest said:

It was 640kB - ie base memory.

Guest said:

It's interesting how in retrospect snide quips, sarcasm and basic stupidity are claimed to be 'incite'.

Guest said:

It does not surprise me that Dvorak is on this list so many times.

Another couple of quotes for you:

"I don't think the office will go paperless in about oh 10 years". Billg 1991.

"Who on Earth would need a PC with more than 128mB of memory?" Billg circa 1989.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Most rich folks think that they somehow 'made that' when it comes to their wealth, but really, it's despite their lack of intellect and creativity and just because of dumb luck that most of them are wealthy.

-- Me

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