I got this list from a Blog on Marketwatch, but the post is mostly an advertisement for investment advice, so I grabbed the good stuff and wrote it up here. Visit the blog here if you want to read the advertisement.
These are 10 of the dumbest predictions in technology. Clearly, these people were not clairvoyant.
- “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.
- “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943. “The world potential market for copying machines is 5,000 at most,” IBM executives to the eventual founders of Xerox, 1959.
- “Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18 000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers of the future may have only 1 000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1½ tons.” — Popular Mechanics, March 1949
- “I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.” — Jack Valenti, MPAA president, testimony to the House of Representatives, 1982
- “Do not bother to sell your gas shares. The electric light has no future.” —Professor John Henry Pepper, Victorian-era celebrity scientist, sometime in the 1870s
- “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night,” Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, 1946.
- “The problem of TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American wouldn’t have time for it.”
– The New York Times, 1939
- “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.” Steve Jobs — Rolling Stone, Dec. 3, 2003
- “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” — Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre
- “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?” — Associates of David Sarnoff responding to the latter’s call for investment in the radio in 1921
I think my favorite is #3. Imagine if computers were still over 2000 lbs! I doubt there would be one sitting under my desk, much less in the palm of my hand.