Faulty Predictions: Apple

by F.

I’m already sick of hearing about how Zune is going to kill the iPod, although one writer does describe a plausible scenario:

Microsoft, however, is ready to strike back. Pictures of the new Zune Mp3 player have been released. There’s a white model and a black model, just like the iPod, but the Zune has a third color to complete with the Nano’s bright metallic hues.

Brown.

They say the Zune’s an iPod killer. It’s all clear now: It’s going to bore it to death.

This is a good time to reflect on predictions, which, really, are just FUD disguised as analysis. Here are ten wrong predictions about Apple:

  • Fortune, 2/19/1996: “By the time you read this story, the quirky cult company…will end its wild ride as an independent enterprise.”

  • Time Magazine, 2/5/96: “One day Apple was a major technology company with assets to make any self respecting techno-conglomerate salivate. The next day Apple was a chaotic mess without a strategic vision and certainly no future.”

  • BusinessWeek, 10/16/95: “Having underforecast demand, the company has a $1 billion-plus order backlog….The only alternative: to merge with a company with the marketing and financial clout to help Apple survive the switch to a software-based company. The most likely candidate, many think, is IBM Corp.”

  • A Forrester Research analyst, 1/25/96 (quoted in, of all places, The New York Times): “Whether they stand alone or are acquired, Apple as we know it is cooked. It’s so classic. It’s so sad.”

  • Nathan Myhrvold (Microsoft’s chief technology officer, 6/97: “The NeXT purchase is too little too late. Apple is already dead.”

  • Wired, “101 Ways to Save Apple,” 6/97: “1. Admit it. You’re out of the hardware game.”

  • BusinessWeek, 2/5/96: “There was so much magic in Apple Computer in the early ’80s that it is hard to believe that it may fade away. Apple went from hip to has-been in just 19 years.”

  • Fortune, 2/19/1996: “Apple’s erratic performance has given it the reputation on Wall Street of a stock a long-term investor would probably avoid.”

  • The Economist, 2/23/95: “Apple could hang on for years, gamely trying to slow the decline, but few expect it to make such a mistake. Instead it seems to have two options. The first is to break itself up, selling the hardware side. The second is to sell the company outright.”

  • The Financial Times, 7/11/97: “Apple no longer plays a leading role in the $200 billion personal computer industry. ‘The idea that they’re going to go back to the past to hit a big home run…is delusional,’ says Dave Winer, a software developer.”

Compiled by David Pogue using Lexis/Nexis.

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