Strange Technology Quotes

Over the years there’s been many people have said things that if they had to say it again, they would have just kept their mouths shut. Here are some of those quotes.

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” — Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” — David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” — H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

Now you are probably waiting to read the famous quote that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft said. That being, “640k ought to be enough for anybody.” But that just happens to be an Urban Legend. Nowhere has it been documented that he spoke those words, and the closest may have been a conversation on the original IBM PC, which used a processor that could only be able to use 640k of memory.

But an interesting quote that I remember occurred in 1983 by the fictional character Travis McGee, created by the novelist John D. MacDonald, in the novel Cinnamon Skin. It goes as such;

“Soon the bosses of the microcomputer revolution will sell us preprogrammed units for each household which will provide entertainment, print out news, purvey mail-order goods, pay bills, balance accounts, keep track of expenses, and compute taxes. But by then the future managers will be over on the far side of the thickets, dealing with bubble memories, machines that design machines, projects so esoteric our pedestrian minds cannot comprehend them. It will be the biggest revolution of all, bigger than the wheel, bigger than Franklin’s kite, bigger than paper towels.”

In 1983 the IBM personal computer was only 2 years old, the MacIntosh was in development by Apple and Radio Shack was one of the major players in the computer industry. Fact can be stranger than fiction, but sometimes fiction can just predict the future.

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