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A View from David Appell

Not What You Thought They Said

USA Today’s Kevin Maney has an interesting piece today about some well-known and oft-repeated technology quotes that he says simply aren’t true. Among those for which he finds no evidence or outright counter-information: “I think there is a world market…

  • July 6, 2005

USA Today’s Kevin Maney has an interesting piece today about some well-known and oft-repeated technology quotes that he says simply aren’t true. Among those for which he finds no evidence or outright counter-information:


  • “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, founder of IBM.
  • “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles Duell, U.S. Patent Commissioner, 1899.
  • “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – Harry Warner, Warner Bros., as movies with sound made their debut in 1927.
  • “640K ought to be enough for anybody.” – Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, 1981.

There is one well-known quote which it turns out was actually uttered: “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corp., in 1977.

Now, next time you see one of these quotes, probably on somebody’s PowerPoint presentation, you can call ‘em on it!

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