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Top 10 worst tech predictions of all time

With the changing of the calendar, everyone becomes a Nostradamus, expounding their tech predictions for 2008. In order to put this flood of prophecies into some context, here are some of the worse predictions of all time.

With the changing of the calendar, everyone becomes a Nostradamus, expounding their tech predictions for 2008. In order to put this flood of prophecies into some context, here are some of the worse predictions of all time.

1. YouTube will go nowhere
"There's just not that many videos I want to watch," lamented Steve Chen, a co-founder of YouTube, in March 2005. At the time YouTube featured about 50 videos. Less than two years later, on November 13 2006, Google acquired YouTube for US$1.65 billion in Google stock.

2. The Millennium Bug
This is not attributed to anyone in particular, but rather anyone and everyone with a propensity to fear the worst. Yes, you -- you that began stocking canned food and rifle ammunition in your basement right before New Year's Eve 1999. While some considerable funds were spent to protect against any problems, and around the world a few minor faults were reported, it certainly wasn't the end of human civilisation as some had feared.

3. The death of the iPod
Over the years, many have predicted the iPod would be a fad: most famously Amstrad founder, Sir Alan Sugar, who said in February 2005 that by "next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput". Of course today the iPod continues to power along, with Apple claiming to have sold over 100 million units.

4. Photocopiers are niche
"The world potential market for copying machines is 5,000 at most," IBM told the eventual founders of Xerox in 1959. According to Wikipedia, by 1961 Xerox had almost US$60 million in revenue, and this value had leapt to US$500 million by 1965.

5. The PC was never meant for home use
Many people made this prediction, but most notably Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM said in 1943: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers". At the time, this may have actually been true. Retrospectively, it's hilarious.

6. Antitrust won't bother Microsoft
"This antitrust thing will blow over," Bill Gates was quoted as telling a group of Intel executives at a meeting on 11 July, 1995. Perhaps it was more as self-comfort rather than as a prediction: two years later, the antitrust complaints continued to roll in, most recently with Internet browser company Opera filing a complaint with the European Commission.

7. eBay will be huge in China
"We are on a tear to be the undisputed winner in China," said eBay CEO Meg Whitman on 10 February, 2005. By December 2006, eBay said it would close its operation in China and become instead the junior partner to Tom Online, a Chinese Internet portal and wireless firm.

8. Nobody will ever need more than 640KB of memory
"No one will need more than 637KB of memory for a personal computer. 640KB ought to be enough for anybody," Bill Gates is alleged to have said in 1981. Interestingly, Gates now denies saying this. But so many people believe he did that he may as well have -- and he's certainly no stranger to bad predictions. See below.

9. The death of spam
Another bad prediction from Gates, who declared in January 2004 at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that spam would be dead in 24 months. Two years later, security firm Barracuda said that in 2007, 95-percent of e-mail messages were spam.

10. Windows will never be a 32-bit OS
"We will never make a 32-bit operating system," Bill Gates said at the launch of MSX in 1983. Every version of Windows from then on progressively got bigger peaking currently with Vista's 64-bit operating system.