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Microsoft

20 Years of Bill Gates Predictions 269

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tell-me-a-story-oh-powerful-oracle dept.
NewsCloud writes "The Seattle PI's Microsoft Blogger Todd Bishop asks "How does Gates shape up as a seer?" None strike me as particularly clairvoyant, but the missed ones are winners: "I believe OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time." and "Two years from now, spam will be solved." But in fairness to Gates, for many years Microsoft's tagline was "a PC on every desktop and in every home.""
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20 Years of Bill Gates Predictions

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  • I predict (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:10AM (#19208213)
    that he will stay rich, but leave his wife for Steve Jobs.
    • by eln (21727) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:17AM (#19208301) Homepage
      Look, I don't know how you got Mr. Gates' private diaries, but you can expect a call from his lawyer shortly.
      • Spam HAS been solved, it's just that most people aren't implementing the fix. Use Gmail if you don't want to set up your own filtering system.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by noidentity (188756)
          Solved? When I look into my gmail's spam folder, it gets tons of SPAM every day. Sure, I don't see it, but it's still costing Google in bandwidth. It'll be solved when it's not taking up any bandwidth and CPU time on any servers.
          • by gkhan1 (886823)
            Umm, that was his point. Google does a FANTASTIC job of sorting spam into your spam-folder so you never have to see it. I get virtually no spam in my main inbox and right now I have 556 mails in my spam-folder. I used to check occasionally to see if they had caught a false positive, but since that never happened, I stopped. Nowadays, I never even look. It's like having an email address in 1993!
            • by kisrael (134664)
              Not if you redirect all the mail from a domain you own into our gmail account. Plenty slips through, especially bounces from Joe-Jobs.
            • by jank1887 (815982) on Monday May 21, 2007 @01:21PM (#19210365)
              Ummm... but that was His point. The problem isn't solved. It's hidden. "I don't care where the garbage goes as long as it's not in my back yard..."

              You still pay for it one way or the other. If it still costs you, it hasn't been solved.

        • by evilviper (135110)

          Spam HAS been solved, it's just that most people aren't implementing the fix. Use Gmail if you don't want to set up your own filtering system.

          I use a dozen blacklists and every other spam filtering method you can imagine... Plenty of spam still gets through, of course it's about 1/10th what it would be without them.

          If you aren't getting any, your e-mail address can't be very popular. Put it in a mailto: on a few popular websites, get active on some high-traffic mailing lists, etc., and you too will have t

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by babyrat (314371)
          Use Gmail if you don't want to set up your own filtering system.

          That's funny, I use gmail and my spam directory fills up with junk emails every day. Once in a while a legitimate message ends up there as well. This at best is a workaround, not a solution.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Falkkin (97268)
          Gmail has "solved" the *easy* half of the spam problem. Indeed, I never get spam in my Gmail mailbox. On the other hand, about 1-3 non-spam messages get marked as Spam every week. I'd rather the filter erred in the opposite direction -- I'd much rather see 10 spams a day but be ensured that there are no false positives.
  • CEOs are not seers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:11AM (#19208231) Homepage
    The problem is, Gates made most (if not all) of these comments in order to push efforts that Microsoft was working on at the time. As a CEO of a major software company, part of his job was to make comments in public that would try to influence the industry to move in the direction that would align with what his own company was doing (or at least attempting) already.

    These sorts of comments can often be successful at moving the industry because people automatically equate wealth and power with wisdom. In this way, they take what is basically a marketing statement and turn it into some sort of prophecy. Gates was right on some of these because his own company took the industry in that direction. Where he was wrong, it was because his own company failed in its efforts in that area, or (in the case of OS/2 especially) they decided to go in a different direction.
    • On CEOs as seers. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mahjub Sa'aden (1100387) <msaaden@gmail.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:23AM (#19208345)
      Bill Gates doesn't seem to be much of a seer in the development of his software, either. From what I've seen his comments correlate well with the way Microsoft works: they make some fine products, but seem to be continually behind the ball on everything. All the major innovations of Windows et al were done somewhere else first, and often much better. Like the web that Gates keeps alluding to. They bolted that functionality on to Windows back in the day (let's not even go there) and to this day the overwhelming body of evidence is that Microsoft doesn't really get the web.

      So no, I don't think Bill is a particularly insightful seer. He may be an evil genius or something when it comes to the minutiae of building an empire, but future-aspected he is most certainly not.

      You want a seer? Try Jules Verne. Now that guy was pretty damn amazing.
      • Re:On Jules Verne (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:50AM (#19209373)
        "..You want a seer? Try Jules Verne. Now that guy was pretty damn amazing..."

        You want a seer who was right? Try H G Wells.

        Monsieur Verne suffered from a lack of vision. He just looked at current technology and 'expanded' it. He knew no physics, and didn't see the need to be accurate, so things like his 'From the Earth to the Moon' ignore the obvious acceleration problems of being shot out of a gun. Or the practicalities of being 'snatched' by an earth-grazing comet!

        Much of his minor stuff is frankly incomprehensible - 'Master of the World' says that travelling at 200 mph makes you invisible, for instance. And he was so tied to the mid 1800s politics - Germans were alternately good (when they were in competition with the British) and then bad (after 1871!). Everyone was a stereotype.

        Wells, however, had his physics dead to rights. He invented whole new genres of Sci-Fi - Time Travel, The Invisible Man, amazingly accurate social predictions in 'Anticipations' and 'The Shape of Things to Come'. When he did space travel he invented the 'warp drive' with his 'Cavorite' material which rejected gravity.

        The 'War of the Worlds' invented the entire 'alien battle' genre that America loves so much. Did you know that his predictions of the 'Atomic Bomb' inspired Szilard to invent the 'chain reaction? Wells' description really was that close!

        He did Bio-engineering with 'The Island of Dr Moreau'. Really there was no limit to his vision. But I presume I hardly need to list the rest - Slashdotters must all have copies of all of his books off Gutenburg. If they haven't, I don't think you can see any SF movie which doesn't relate back to his work in some way.
           
      • by bberens (965711)
        I'm not contradicting your statement in the least but did want to comment that this idea of innovation invented elsewhere is the norm for big business. Big businesses tend not to take risks. They let smaller companies farm markets for new products and then they buy into the market. Apple, for instance, didn't invent the portable music device or the online music store. Microsoft (and Al Gore) didn't invent the internet. Rupert Murdoch didn't invent MySpace. That's the way it works.. small companies sta
      • by orclevegam (940336) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:17PM (#19209671) Journal

        You want a seer? Try Jules Verne. Now that guy was pretty damn amazing.
        Also Robert A. Heinlein. I still can't believe how accurate some of his stuff was considering a lot of it was written around the 1950s and 60s.
    • by Da Fokka (94074)
      Of course you are right. But frankly, I'd say it's harder to shape the future than to predict it.
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:33AM (#19208465) Homepage
      One common theme in literature is the question of whether oracles predict the future, or create it. Would Oedipus have killed his father had the Oracle at Delphi never prophecied that he would and thus his father never sent him to die in the wilderness? Had the witches not said that Macbeth would not be harmed by any of woman born, would he have gone down the path that led to him being killed by the C-section-birthed Macduff?

      Which relates to what you said in that Gates is trying to be the non-supernatural form of seer -- the one who tries to create the future with their prediction, instead of predicting some future that is destined to happen. Now, one of the common traits of literary oracles is that they are extremely wise and clever, such that truly distinguishing whether they can actually see the future or merely guide it meticulously is extremely difficult. They also tend to have unclear motivations, which also clouds the issue. This is what makes it interesting.

      Gates' motivations are patently clear: Guide the direction of the industry in a way favorable to Microsoft. He also isn't supremely wise or clever. Though in the comparison I'm making he doesn't fit precisely because he's also the executor of whatever real path his company takes into the future. Somewhat like if it was Macbeth who predicted that he was to be king, hoping that saying so will help cause it to become true. Strangely that doesn't work as well.

      • by hiryuu (125210) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:51PM (#19210003)
        Would Oedipus have killed his father had the Oracle at Delphi never prophecied that he would and thus his father never sent him to die in the wilderness? Had the witches not said that Macbeth would not be harmed by any of woman born, would he have gone down the path that led to him being killed by the C-section-birthed Macduff?

        Awww, man, would it have killed you to put a "SPOILER" warning on that?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Chris Burke (6130)
          Awww, man, would it have killed you to put a "SPOILER" warning on that?

          According to the Oracle of Delphi, I shall not die ere I have of spoilers warned the initiate to the tale of more than century told.

          So, uh, maybe?
    • by Kjella (173770) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:40AM (#19208531) Homepage
      As a CEO of a major software company, part of his job was to make comments in public that would try to influence the industry to move in the direction that would align with what his own company was doing (or at least attempting) already.

      Not to mention the infamous "deny-everything-until-we're-ready-to-launch" tactic. This comes both in the "dazzle the market" and "scramble to catch up" variety. Maybe there was some visionary insight in the boardroom or strategy sessions, but you didn't hear about it until they were ready to make money off it. CEO public statements are always about pushing you somewhere they need you to go or holding you back where they don't want you to go, also known as FUD.

      Consider it a lot like the people playing the stock market. Some people want to talk the market up, some want to talk it down, some want to talking you into trading (brokers), others would rather scare you away (real estate) all depending on their position. None of them are into charity and free stock advice. Neither is the CEO of a public company out to give you free business predictions.
    • by goombah99 (560566) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:43AM (#19208567)
      "Pioneers get the Arrows, settlers get the land". Gates has always been a settler. They take proven technologies and ideas, copy cat them, and then try to inflate them to one way standards (embrace and extend). Settlers are useful. Microsoft created the low end PC vendor market by taming all sorts of diverse bios, video cards, disks and peripherals.

      Gates would not look like such a stogy inept prognosticator if it were not for a few brighter lights and pioneers like Jobs and the Google boys. Even Michael Dell gets some credit for being a sort of henry ford at one time but that was sort of a one time flash.

      Sure you can say Jobs did not invent Postscript or the WIMP interface or word processing in full-time graphic or music players or any number of things. But he was such an early and wholehearted adopter of nascent technologies that he is a pioneer. Pioneers did not invent the conastoga wagon or canoes they set forth in but they used them to blaze trails and set up the future.
      • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:47AM (#19209341) Homepage Journal
        Sure you can say Jobs did not invent Postscript or the WIMP interface or word processing in full-time graphic or music players or any number of things. But he was such an early and wholehearted adopter of nascent technologies that he is a pioneer. Pioneers did not invent the conastoga wagon or canoes they set forth in but they used them to blaze trails and set up the future.

        You know, I really like that analogy, and I'll extend it one step further: the people who actually invented those things were explorers, and some explorers come back rich and covered in glory, but most die miserable deaths a long way from home. The pioneers are a bridge between exploration and real settlement.
      • by Angstroem (692547)

        Microsoft created the low end PC vendor market by taming all sorts of diverse bios, video cards, disks and peripherals.

        You must be rather young -- or old enough that you start forgetting things.

        (1) There were standardized platforms before the PC. Apple II would come to my mind, but also don't forget the CBM 2k/3k/4k/8k line of machines. What the PC in the end did was wiping out this wonderful heterogeneous world to install a monoculture. And yes, back then software standard existed so that you could t

    • by sarahbau (692647)
      Not only were the predictions what MS was working on, but all of the correct ones were things that were already starting to come true by the time he said them. In 1997 he predicted that the Web would be a big thing. By then I had been online for 4 years, and it was already getting pretty big. Anyone could have predicted it would only get bigger (as the article said, it would have been more impressive if he'd made it two years earlier).
    • by hackstraw (262471)
      As a CEO of a major software company, part of his job was to make comments in public that would try to influence the industry to move in the direction that would align with what his own company was doing (or at least attempting) already.

      To me, that implies vision.

      Two excellent comparisons between billg and steve jobs are http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/200 5/11/the_zen_estheti.html [presentationzen.com] and http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/200 5/11/it_was_one_of_t.html [presentationzen.com] .
    • by Ravnen (823845)

      The problem is, Gates made most (if not all) of these comments in order to push efforts that Microsoft was working on at the time. As a CEO of a major software company, part of his job was to make comments in public that would try to influence the industry to move in the direction that would align with what his own company was doing (or at least attempting) already.

      Another way of looking at it is that perhaps Microsoft started those efforts because Bill Gates thought, or was convinced by colleagues at Micr

  • OS/2 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:13AM (#19208251) Journal
    "I believe OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time."

    Two points here. First, he was selling the product when he said this, and secondly he was actually right in the idea of it. It just happen to be Windows and not OS/2. Microsoft attacked the general market. IBM only knew about dealing with businesses. Once Microsoft moved away from OS/2 and went full bore on Windows, OS/2's days were numbered even though OS/2 had a lot of things going for it over Windows.
    • Re:OS/2 (Score:5, Informative)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:24AM (#19208371) Homepage Journal
      Windows is sorta the next generation of OS/2 anyway. OS/2 was a joint development between IBM and Microsoft; when IBM and Microsoft parted ways, IBM got the old code and Microsoft got the new code. Windows NT started out with the name 'OS/2-NT' internally at Microsoft, despite the fact that many, many revisionist historians love to leave this point out.
      • Windows is sorta the next generation of OS/2 anyway.

        Sure ... but without the best features, and with a lot of additional bloat thrown in for good measure. :-)

    • Re:OS/2 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by elwinc (663074) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:42AM (#19208557)
      Exactly. Gates was acting as Salesman-in-Chief when he made these remarks. So the real question is how much product did he push with his remarks. Or, if you wanted to put him in context, you could compare Gates' predictions for the future with his CEO peers such as Steve Jobs, Scott McNealy, and Larry Ellison. My guess is Gates would come out on top in that comparison.

      Amusing aside: my first experience with Steve Jobs' famous "reality distortion field" was a talk he gave at MIT in the early eighties around the time of the Fat Mac. I remember him saying something to the effect that "it turns out for networking all you need is about 150K/sec." He was trying to tell us that Appletalk was adequate and that ethernet was overkill. So powerful was the reality distortion field that nobody even called him on it!

      • by Have Blue (616)
        Depending on the systems you're looking at, he may have been right. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Macs of the time were not capable of generating or properly receiving network traffic at higher rates than 150K/sec. If that's true, and you had an all-Mac network, Ethernet would be expensive overkill. And at the time AppleTalk wasn't exactly chopped liver- it had auto-detection of services working decades before zeroconf came along.

        Of course, this being MIT, they had all kinds of systems that could
    • Re:OS/2 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SpinyNorman (33776) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:46AM (#19208597)
      In fact he really was correct since Windows NT was originally known (during development) as NT OS/2 or simply OS/2 3.0, even though it was a different code base. It'd really be quibbling not to give Gates this one. Windows NT really has as much, or more, conceptually in common with OS/2 as it does with Windows 1.x - 3.x.
      • by Chris Burke (6130)
        I'll give it to him, but really this was a trivial prediction. He was essentially predicting that Microsoft would remain the dominant OS vendor -- and I think we all know enough about the difficulty of breaking an entrenched monopoly to know that he wasn't really going out on a limb there.

    • by weicco (645927)
      And what I remember reading here at Slashdot is that IBM didn't even know hot to deal with businesses. If memory serves me well, OS/2 run on 80286 somewhat well but not so well in 80386. This caused MS to move to Win API which broke compatibility with OS/2 and gave rise to Windows NT line. But my memory is faint about this, so please correct me if I'm wrong (and please, come up with facts and links, not speculation and conspiracy theories).
    • by dpilot (134227)
      >"I believe OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time."

      You guys are all making the mistake of interpreting Bill Gates' remark in a technical sense, then playing semantic games about OS/2, NT, etc.

      Instead look at this statement politically, and you'll see that Gates was *exactly* correct. OS/2 was the point where, thanks to a shifty business-doublecross, Microsoft cut itself from the apron strings from IBM and emerged as the next 800lb gorilla. They didn
      • Re:OS/2 (Score:4, Informative)

        by OwnedByTwoCats (124103) on Monday May 21, 2007 @02:41PM (#19211511)
        OS/2 was also important to Microsoft as a way to beat Lotus 1-2-3, the dominant spreadsheet at the time. MS developed the Windows version of Excel while it was developing Windows, and publically spreading the line that OS/2 was the way to go. Lotus put their efforts into the OS/2 version of 1-2-3. When MS revealed Windows, Excel was ready to go, and 1-2-3 wasn't.
    • 'he was selling the product when he said this .. he was actually right in the idea of it'

      Illogical non-sequitur. Even though he was wrong he was actually right as he really meant Windows. So assuming in a parallel universe OS/2 is preeminent he is also right there also. Is achieving quantum coherencece across the multiverse also one of billg.s many talents.

      He was selling OS/2 when he said that and he was actually wrong in it. MS likewarm support was what actually killed it eventually.

      'It just happe
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:13AM (#19208259)
    So now we are going to be fair to him ?
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:15AM (#19208273)
    > . . for many years Microsoft's tagline was "a PC on every desktop and in every home."

    Wasn't that Apple's idea? As I understand it, that's why they called the company "Apple" - it was supposed to be something every kid should have on his/her desk.
  • by lonechicken (1046406) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:16AM (#19208283)
    He could go the other direction and predict really mundane stuff. Sort of like that old Christopher Walken skit on SNL in which he plays a "Dead Zone"-like guy, but says stuff like, "You're going to get an ice cream headache. It's going to hurt real bad...right here for eight, nine seconds."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Walken#Ap pearances_on_Saturday_Night_Live [wikipedia.org]
  • by JustASlashDotGuy (905444) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:16AM (#19208285)
    Business man makes business predictions about the future. Some are right... some are wrong!

    And in related news.... critics choose to focus only on the predictions that were wrong!

    * Personally, I really loved OS/2. It's wasn't the best piece of software *ever*, but it was truely remarkable for it's time. I wish MS would have stol^h^h^h borrowed more ideas from it.
    • Read the article. Most of the quotes aren't either right or wrong; most of them are simply mundane, and were mundane when he made them. Read every single quote and see if you don't say, "Well DUH!" in your head a bunch of times.

      Maybe the article sucks, or Bill's holding his crystal ball close to the boardroom, but it's all pretty standard stuff.
  • At the time mr gates and co were pushing that product and had paid a lot of money into its development. Therefore his not bigging it up is about as likely as Ford suggesting people use bicycles instead of their cars.

    Also no-one had any idea, or could even conceive of the idea that spam would become such a big problem. Again though, if they had an inkling, he was hardly going to say 'well yes, in a few years most mail on the internet will be spam'. That's hardly going to help him sell Outlook now is it?

    He wa
    • "He wasn't talking as some kind of all knowing Oracle, he was talking as a powerful businessman with a definite agenda. Why do people keep dragging this up?"

      I think it's because he positioned himself exactly as an "all knowing Oracle" when he produced the book The Road Ahead.

      That's what people do when they've got an inflated sense of self. We keep bringing it up because we enjoy wielding the pin.
    • by gordo3000 (785698)
      his spam comment is probably the most true he ever made. 3 - 4 years ago, I had to delete hundreds of spam emails a week. wtih the advances in filtering technology, now I'm lucky to ever need to delete more than 10 a month, and that is on 3 separate email accounts compared to 1. I'd say the problem of spam has been replaced by a more benign problem: family forwarding on stupid messages about Bill gates giving away thousands of dollars for forwarding an email....

      has anyone had their spam actually increase
    • 'no-one had any idea, or could even conceive of the idea that spam would become such a big problem'

      How does a statement Gates made in Jan 2004 logically relate to no-one concieving spam as ever being a problem, in what ever time frame you are referencing.

      'Again though, if they had an inkling, he was hardly going to say 'well yes, in a few years most mail on the internet will be spam'. That's hardly going to help him sell Outlook now is it?'

      But by Jan 2004, everyone had an inkling that spam was a pr
  • by packetmon (977047) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:19AM (#19208317) Homepage
    In the article... "You'll watch a program when it's convenient for you instead of when a broadcaster chooses to air it." I wonder if he'll soon say... "You'll watch a program when it's convenient for your broadcaster to decipher whether or not by you watching it, it is not pirated, the operating system pushing your media center is not pirated, it has passed the then behemoth MPAA/RIAA/DoJ/DHS joint task force aptly named NOMIND or "National Oversight on Mentally Intergrating National Deficencies" benchmark tests which include:

    1) Methods to ensure proper copyrighted procedures (RIAA)
    2) Methods to ensure proper filtering and re-programming the American Apple Pie way (MPAA)
    3) Methods to ensure political correctedness (addenDumb to new DoJ/Christian Law "Thou shall not criticize thine government" doctrine)
    4) Methods to ensure Osama is not in your living room and or you are not exporting crypto to him or his terrorist via any methods including telekinesis.
    • Missing Option (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Alaren (682568)

      Yeah, not that this is a poll, right? But you mention the RIAA and other organizations to which Microsoft caters and I wondered why the article doesn't mention "The MP3 is dead," which Bill Gates said back in 1998. That's far more interesting than several of the predictions they've listed, considering the current state of the iPod and the Zune.

    • by Kjella (173770)
      4) Methods to ensure Osama is not in your living room and or you are not exporting crypto to him or his terrorist via any methods including telekinesis.

      <Hermes Conrad mode="technically correct">Unless you're using a piece of chalk to draw it on his cave wall in Afghanistan from your living room, I think you mean telepathy rather than telekinesis.</Hermes>
    • He'll continue to keep the spin up, with you as the customer being allegedly in control of when and where you watch your content.

      Why do you think that people do what they say? Or tell you what they do?
  • Augur the Seer... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vexler (127353) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:28AM (#19208419) Journal
    The only "seer" of technology for me is Augur [efc.com], and he doesn't use Windows.

    At any rate, only a person with truly innovative and revolutionary approach has the insight to guess how technological advances will influence societies. Gates' approach has been to buy out companies he can't compete with, and then re-branding the acquired products. It was true with PC-DOS v1.0, and it continues to be true to this day.

  • Seer? Pah! (Score:3, Funny)

    by el_flynn (1279) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:29AM (#19208427) Homepage
    You know, when you're the richest person on earth [forbes.com], it's not that difficult to make what you say become fact. I mean, if Gates had really wanted spam eliminated, he could spend some of the $56 billion he has to put out hit contracts on the world's most wanted spammers. Or, more realistically, fund something like the X-prize [xprize.org], but for spam elimination instead.
    • by rbarreira (836272)
      Maybe he's more interested in more worthwhile causes such as curing diseases? I say this because he does donate a lot of money for disease research and many other charity endeavors, look it up...
    • by soft_guy (534437) *
      I have actually communicated with Bill Gates personally regarding the elmination of spam. (I am no longer a Microsoft employee.) At the time he was only interested in eliminating spam provided that the proposed solution would tie people into a Microsoft proprietary solution which was not the kind of solution I was pitching.
  • We don't see the desk phone existing as a separate device in the future.

    http://www.stateoftheark.co.nz/icl/opd.html [stateoftheark.co.nz]
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:35AM (#19208487) Homepage Journal
    Gates says whatever is most likely to make himself more money in the next year, without losing money.

    And since making his kind of money means we all do it his way, his "predictions" are self-fulfilling prophecies.

    How's that speech recognition and DB filesystem working out? Just fine, because the convincing promises sold several $billion more Windows installs on servers and desktops.

    Bill Gates is the self-fulfillingest prophet ever, measured by the age old question "if you're so smart, why aren't you rich?"
  • by jan de bont (702726) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:36AM (#19208497)
    Given that OS2 and Windows NT were the same product before the IBM/Microsoft "divorce", given that after the divorce, Microsoft shipped NT 3.5.1 with a Bootloader that still said "OS2" (hexdump the boot sector on an NT 3.5.1 drive, if you still have a copy - You'll see it). Given that OS2 evolved directly into Win NT and therefore has a heritage that reaches all the way into Longhorn... He was right!

    The fact that a reporter missed this bit of history is typical. No sense of history or heritage.

    Don't confuse the brand, owned by IBM, with the code, originated with Microsoft, that became Windows server.

  • Regarding OS/2 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by minus_273 (174041)
    "I believe OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time."

    If you are laughing at that, you need to brush up on your operating systems. It is one thing to laugh at something because the other guy is wrong. It is another thing to laugh at someone because YOU don't know what you are talking about and think he is wrong.

    NT4, win2000, XP, win2003 and vista are descendants of OS/2. The win 9x line is dead and all we have are the bastard sons of OS/2. I would say tha
    • 'NT4, win2000, XP, win2003 and vista are descendants of OS/2'

      Only in the sence that lower primates are decendent from homo sapiens. At the time even MS recognised that OS/2 was superior. They only abandon it once they realized they couldn't get total control of it. In the imortal words of billg we can't get IBMed [edge-op.org] on this one.

      Re:Regarding OS/2 (Score:2, Insightful)
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:45AM (#19208581)
    Some of the usual culprits I see are

    (1996-2007) is definitely the year of Linux on the desktop. (Apparently if you recite this one enough times it will become true)

    XXXX product from MS is doomed to failure for no particularly logical reason despite the fact we really know nothing about it but we love unfounded speculation.

    MS is on the verge of collapse because little bobbie just started a project in sourceforge and although it has not released anything yet it will be an XP/Exchange/Outlook/SQLServer etc etc etc killer when they do and so the MS Evil Empire will crumble.
  • Missed Queues (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:09AM (#19208875) Homepage Journal
    "When wallet PCs have become ubiquitous, we can eliminate the bottlenecks that plague airport terminals, theaters and other places where people queue up to show their identification or a ticket."

    He really missed this prediction in multiple ways.

    For ticketing, the internet allows people to pre-purchase tickets for just about anything, allowing a very quick scan of a printed-at-home ticket for entrance.

    For identification, RFID is revolutionizing that arena, and it does not require an actual computing device ("wallet PC") on the end user.

    These "wallet PCs" turned out to be PDAs, and although latecomer Microsoft currently dominates this area with their mobile OS, the real revolutionary and cutting edge advances were made by other companies, like Palm.

    The queues we see today are not because of the reasons he suggests, but due to the security required to prevent mass murder.

    The ironic thing with his predictions is that his company actually has the resources to make a lot of them come true. I just wonder why other companies are the ones bringing us the gee-whiz technology and software. Internet search, iPhone's slick touch-based PDA interface, input devices like the Wii's. These are all arenas Microsoft compete in directly, yet others take the lead. Why can't MS make these kinds of things happen?

    Dan East
  • In a twisted way he was right, since they stole the codebase and created NT from it, which has morphed into 2000, XP and now vista.

  • OS/2 was a deception (Score:3, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:12AM (#19208909) Homepage
    Gates' promotion of OS/2 was an act of deception, not prediction. He mislead WordPerfect into developing for OS/2 instead of Windows so that Word would have the advantage.
  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:18AM (#19208971) Homepage

    Microsoft's tagline was "a PC on every desktop and in every home."

    That's a goal, not a prediction. A prediction requires that you have no ability to affect the outcome.
  • Let's see... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by peterbiltman (1059884) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:28AM (#19209081) Homepage
    ... Bill Gates is still the richest man in the world, check. ... Microsoft is still the dominate OS, check. ... Microsoft revenue increases every year, check.

    I don't see what this has to do with news at all. Just another Microsoft rant this place has become so famous for.
  • There's no need to predict the future when you can control it instead.
  • NT IS NOT OS/2! (Score:3, Informative)

    by lwriemen (763666) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:44AM (#19209303)
    People, you really need to check your history! Microsoft may have borrowed from their co-development of OS/2, but they developed with a different kernel. I can't believe how many times this MYTH got repeated!

    IBM made OS/2 a much better product after the split. If you ask for recommended versions, you'll get OS/2 1.3 for the command line version and post OS/2 2.0 for the graphical version.

    Microsoft leaving OS/2 was the best thing that ever happened to OS/2 from a technical standpoint, but not from a marketing standpoint.
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:58AM (#19209453)
    The quotes from the "Internet Tidal Wave" memo should be counted as misses. Gates, and Microsoft, were caught unaware of the impending power of the Internet. Only belately (as the article states) did Gates realize this and write the memo.

    If Gates were really a great seer, he would have written the Internet Tidal Wave memo in 1990, not after the wave rolled onto the beach in 1996.

    I am wondering why all this effort over the past year to pump up Gates' reputation? Has his illegal activities so ruined his reputation that there is an active effort in place to clean Gates' reputation for the history books?

    • by iapetus (24050)
      Which reminds me of my favourite Bill Gates quote, from back in the early '80s. "What's a network?"
  • Most people anticipated something like the public/commercial internet some years in the future, but not that it would take-off in a couple of years (1993-1995 courtesy of NSF Mosaic). Event the founder of the MIT Media Lab and Wired Magazine Negopronte missed this in his book about computing trends (Being Digital) published that year. Gates missed until he had his "revelation" that MSN would not be the Internet.
  • "seer" ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by l3v1 (787564) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:43PM (#19209921)
    He's not a seer in any way, he's more an influencer, i.e. when people like him talk about the "future" of computing, they really mean what they would like to see happen, not what they "know" what will happen. And so many people just hang on these people's every word and believe what they say that when they hear these "fortune telling" sessions they start working towards achieving that "future" to not be lost in the big march led by these people, so eventually these "visions" become reality to an extent. And tada, then you can write articles about how "seers" these people were in the first place :)
     
  • and a Zune in every pocket....

    Oh wait...

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