The 7 Worst Tech Predictions of All Time

(The MITS Altair 8800 pictured above is one of "The Most Collectible PCs of All Time.")

Foolish Tech Prediction 5

"Almost all of the many predictions now being made about 1996 hinge on the Internet's continuing exponential growth. But I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse."

Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, 1995

Chip TaylorIn addition to being a legendary tech visionary and the man widely credited with having invented Ethernet, Bob Metcalfe was also a columnist for PC World sister publication InfoWorld. And it was in that column that Metcalfe made what must have been the most regrettable comment of his career; indeed, he even promised to eat his words if his augury turned out to be wrong.

To his credit, Metcalfe made good on that promise in 1999 during his keynote speech at the International World Wide Web Conference, where he blended up a copy of his printed column with some liquid and drank it down before a crowd of onlookers.

"Apple is already dead."

Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft CTO, 1997

To be fair, just about everyone in the computer business thought that Apple was in its death throes when Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold made this comment back in 1997.

Who could have predicted that, a little more than a decade later, that same company would be steadily increasing its share of the PC market while utterly dominating the digital music business and rapidly overtaking the field in the smart phone market?

"Two years from now, spam will be solved."

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, 2004

Courtesy of MicrosoftBy recent estimates, the amount of spam currently glutting up the Net is somewhere around 92 percent of all e-mail messages worldwide. (And it won't do to claim that what he really said was "Two years from now, [Hormel] Spam will be dissolved"--because the sculptable meat product remains as semisolid as ever.)

So, uh, good guess, Bill. Glad that's been taken care of.

Other light reading we recommend:

Top 10 Tech Embarrassments You'll Want to Avoid

Say Cheese: 12 Photos That Should Never Have Been Posted Online

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