Technology’s Worst Predictions…

It’d be a big enough mistake to get an ordinary mortal fired but when Sir Alan Sugar claimed the iPod would be dead within a year, he had no idea that he’d got it wrong 174 million times. The Amstrad boss is just one of ten luminaries featured in a new list of the worst technology predictions of all time.

Sir Alan Sugar...

Sir Alan Sugar...

An Apple iPod...

An Apple iPod...

Spectacularly wrong: Sir Alan Sugar (above) claimed the iPod (below) would be dead within a year…

But should he be worried about his lack of foresight, he’s in good company, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The list was compiled by Gadget Magazine, T3 & reveals how other industry leaders have also written off televisions, X-rays, telephones & jumbo jets.

Sir Alan Sugar made his dire prediction in an interview in February 2005.

“Next Christmas, the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput,” he said. Since then, the music player has become one of the best-selling gadgets of all time with makers Apple selling 174 million units.

Bill Gates, meanwhile, enters the top ten twice with a pair of astonishingly inaccurate predictions. His first gaffe came in 1981 when he stated that no personal computer would ever need more than 640KB of memory. Most now operate with at least 2 gigabytes, 3,500 times the figure. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he struck again in 2004 when he told the World Economic Forum that spam e-mails “would be solved within two years.

I) BRITAIN DOESN’T NEED TELEPHONES…

Made in 1878 by Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer at the Post Office. “The Americans have need of the telephone but we don’t. We have plenty of messenger boys,” he said.

II) X-RAYS ARE A HOAX…

Lord Kevlin, President of the Royal Society, was clearly unconvinced when he made his comments in 1883.

III) THERE WILL NEVER BE A BIGGER PLANE (& it only held ten people)…

The maiden flight of the Boeing 247 took place in 1933. Speaking after the happy event, an engineer repeatedly said: “There will never be a bigger plane built.” (The world’s biggest plane is currently the Airbus A380 can carry up to 853 people.)

IV) TV WON’T LAST…

Darryl Zanuck, 20th Centurt Fox movie mogul was responsible for this clanger back in 1946. He claimed the technology had a short shelf life because people will “soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.

V) HOMES WILL BE CLEANED WITH NUCLEAR HOOVERS…

Back in the 1950s, Alex Lewyt, President of the Lewyt Corp. Vacuum Co., claimed it was only a matter of time before nuclear power was used in the home. “Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years.

VI) LETTERS WILL BE DELIVERED BY ROCKET…

“We stand on the threshold of rocket mail,” said U.S. Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield in 1959.

VII) COMPUTERS AREN’T FOR HOME USE…

In 1977, Ken Olsen, the President, Chairman & Founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) claimed there was no reason for anyone to want a personal computer.

VIII) YOU’LL ONLY EVER NEED 640KB OF MEMORY…

Bill Gates’ first entry into the chart with his 1981 claim that no personal computer would ever need huge amounts of capacity. (He has since denied making this statement.)

IX) WE’LL KILL SPAM IN TWO YEARS…

…though there’s no doubt he said this one. Speaking at the 2004 World Economic Forum he claimed a solution was in sight.

X) THE iPOD WILL BE KAPUT BY NEXT CHRISTMAS…

And rounding off the technology hall of shame is Sir Alex Sugar. He made his claim in 2005, telling an interviewer: “Next Christmas, the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput.”

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