The most spectacular false predictions in IT history

Vacuum cleaners run on atomic power, five computers are enough for the whole world, a giant who is said to be in great health and the demise of the Internet – we present to you the most curious and spectacular false prophecies in the history of technology.

People have always predicted the future. At important technology fairs such as CES, IAA or

analysts and self-appointed experts outperform (in non-corona times) in future forecasts. At the moment, environmentalists, politicians and traffic experts in particular are booming when it comes to electric cars (

Test of the Audi e-tron

Test of the Tesla Model 3 Long Range Performance
) Predict a golden future. But whether we will really all be driving around with electric cars in a few years. Or whether maybe the fuel cell / hydrogen car will prevail after all? Let’s wait and see …

IT giants are also happy to comment on the further development of our technology. Many of these predictions are forgotten after a short time. But a few predictions achieve classic status – especially if they were completely wrong. We bring you a selection of the most spectacular false forecasts. Have fun smiling.

Apple is doomed

Apple is doomed to death – or something like that, exaggerated analysts a long time ago,

after Apple made less profit and less sales in spring 2016 for the first time in many years than in the previous year.
But even then we had our doubts as to whether this prediction would come true. Apple will not go under any time soon, we were certain of that. Since the death of Steve Jobs, the company has been trying to innovate in hardware through new business areas such as

Apple TV Plus
, Apple


Credit cards
and compensate for Apple Pay. After initial weaknesses and an unfortunate model policy like the golden Apple Watch, the Apple Watch has also become a successful model.

2010: No one will talk about Facebook in five to six years


Journalist Martin Thür published on his Twitter channel
two remarkable quotes from the self-proclaimed “trend and futurologist” Matthias Horx.


Martin Thür published a compilation of quotes from the self-proclaimed futurist Matthias Horx on his Twitter channel.


The screenshot with the Facebook quote is obviously from

. Horx’s assessment that no one would speak of Facebook in five to six years comes from July 9, 2010. So this forecast was demonstrably not true.

On March 2, 2001, the same futurologist also predicted: “The Internet will not become a mass medium”. Well, judge for yourself about this prediction …

Of course

Horx opposes criticism of the reliability of his forecasts: they are out of context. about Matthias Horx.

Enlarge about Matthias Horx.


Microsoft greats particularly often acted as failed oracles

“500 dollars?”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer chuckled after Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in 2007. “It is the most expensive phone in the world. And it doesn’t appeal to business users at all because it doesn’t have a keyboard. It is therefore not a particularly good mail machine ”.

Well, we all know what happened afterwards. The iPhone, which Ballmer says is not suitable for professional users at all, has become the status symbol for business users at all. Anyone who previously owned a Palm or Windows Mobile phone threw the old part in the corner and asked for an iPhone from their company. And the private users? They stood in line in front of the Apple stores. And should now buy the new iPhone SE with enthusiasm.

Windows Mobile aka Windows Phone from Microsoft has long been dead.

“The Internet will go under a catastrophic collapse in 1996 like a spectacular supernova”

. This obviously wrong prediction comes from Robert Metcalfe, the founder of 3Com and inventor of the Ethernet connection, which is the standard for cable-based networks today.

“I think there is a market for maybe five computers worldwide.”

This was predicted by Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, in the war year 1943. And then it was of all things IBM that made the PC as we know it today a breakthrough and made it a mass product. On the contrary, desktop computers are still asserting themselves well against the competition from smartphones and tablets. If you have to work really hard and a lot on the computer, you buy a PC or a notebook. Neither iOS nor Android change that.

“This phone has too many weaknesses to be seriously considered for communication.”

Internal memo from Western Union from 1876. Today smartphones are the most used IT device at all –

even if Microsoft cannot benefit from this boom.
This even affects the business of the chip giant Intel,

who buried his atomic processor division a long time ago.
Because Android and iOS also get along quite well without Intel processors.

“A computer like the ENIAC still has 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons. But the computers of the future will only have 1,000 vacuum tubes and may only weigh 1.5 tons”.

Popular Mechanics made this tempting prophecy in March 1949. With this predicted weight, notebooks would hardly have been a success. But as we know, things turned out differently.

“There is no reason why everyone should have a computer at home”

Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corp. in 1977. Well, Olsen is not entirely wrong, sometimes a tablet is enough.

“In five years, the tablet will be the most popular form of PC in the United States.”

The sentence doesn’t even sound that wrong. If so, yes, if Bill Gates hadn’t told him in 2002. At that time, Microsoft tried to implement its idea of ​​a tablet PC with pen operation. And failed miserably – the Windows tablet PC was cumbersome to use and absolutely unsexy. In 2010, Steve Jobs and Apple showed how to do it correctly with the intuitive iPad. It is not enough to have a good idea, you have to implement it well.

“The subscription model for buying music has failed”

Steve Jobs said on December 3, 2003. Well, the iTunes Store also took a few years to really boom. Apple meanwhile not only sells apps, music and films via iTunes or the App Store, it has even launched its own payment system called Apple Pay. And Apple has been around for a long time

Apple Music even offers its own music streaming service.
In which, among other things

can also stream the audio books of the “three question marks”.
And Spotify, the leader in music streaming services

, had a brilliant start in April 2018.

“The spam problem will be solved in two years”

promised Bill Gates in 2004. How many spam emails did you receive today? Spam currently accounts for around 90 percent of global mail traffic.

“This cartel thing will dissolve in pleasure”

Bill Gates told Intel executives in 1995. In 1991, the US Federal Trade Commission began investigating whether Microsoft would take advantage of its dominant position over other operating systems. In 2002, the verdict was negative for Microsoft. And in 2008, Microsoft and the US authorities clashed again.

“Apple is already dead”

said Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft CTO in 1997. But Apple is doing well for a dead man, all living companies can only dream of being one of the most valuable companies in the world. Especially since the zombie Apple can claim to have invented two markets in the first place: the one for smartphones and the one for tablets. In the meantime, Apple was worth so much

that it could have bought up all Russian stock corporations.

Microsoft can no longer even dream of the iPhone sales figures – due to the lack of own smartphones.

“There is virtually no way to use communications satellites in space to better enable telephone, telegraph, television, and radio services in the United States.”

That was what T. Craven, FCC Commissioner said in 1961. Although the USSR launched a satellite into space in 1957. But now even private companies are shooting satellites into space. As the

Space company SpaceX (by Tesla founder Elon Musk).

“Vacuum cleaners powered by nuclear power will probably be a reality in ten years’ time.

This creepy prediction comes from Alex Lewyt, president of Lewyt Corp Vacuum Company. So every housewife and every house man sucks with his own nuclear power plant in his own four walls, aha. Whereby there is indeed a small step forward with vacuum cleaners –

the vacuum cleaner robots.


lawnmower robots are also on the rise
and do

every garden smarter.

By the way: the inevitable

“Nobody needs more than 640kB RAM in their PC”

we have deliberately not included in the list above. First, Bill Gates is often represented as a failed oracle. Secondly, this statement probably did not come from him at all.


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