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NostraDumbAss -- Press Predictions
Let's review

By Mitchell Parks
© 1999 CompuThing

Below you'll find my personal collection of technology analyst, journalist, and pundit predictions about Apple and how they faired. Most of these people are just your average Joes and Josephines trying to make a living, but somehow began to actually believe the stuff they were shoveling. It's bad enough that they think they truly know the future, but it's downright harmful for them to imply to consumers that they do.

These people tend to make frequent use of absolutes such as "forever" and "never". They would do well to learn the learn that the future is dynamic...splintered, random , and even cannot be understood in a way that would allow one to predict it beyond guesswork.

On the left, you'll find the "pundit" with their prediction. On the right, you'll learn what actually happened which is illustrated with a link to a recent technology news article. On a few, I added comments in plain italics that illustrate the depth of their error.

Famous Predictions

Jesse Berst - ZDNET
September 09, 1998

Guide to Alternative Operating Systems

...I personally think Windows NT will be the mainstream operating system within a few years....

Corporations want the stability of UNIX,
the cost of Linux,
the ease of use of Macintosh,
and little of what NT actually offers.
Microsoft can't be trusted and NT is too fat.
Corporations are learning this and looking for alternatives.

Jesse Berst - ZDNET
September 09, 1998

Guide to Alternative Operating Systems

...My belief: The Mac will be a niche player from here on out. But its niche will be larger and last longer thanks to Jobs' leadership.

With a niches like this, who needs market share?

Richard L. Brandt - Upside
July 17, 1998

Think Incorrect

Apple also needs a clear definition of the market(s) it plans to dominate. Forget business applications. And even the analysts supporting the company say that Apple isn't likely to dominate the graphics or video markets in the future, the only place I can imagine it has a chance.

When does the great bailout come (speaking of when Jobs resigns as iCEO)?

Here's a prediction for you: This Fall, when his real company, Pixar, releases "A Bug's Life" and gives Steve a chance to bask in Hollywood glory again.

When's he going to leave?

Hiawatha Bray -- Boston Globe
January 5, 1999

Still Fighting for Survival

"They did the phase where they cut and tightened up and got into shape", said Bruce Stephen, industry analyst with International Data Corp. in Framingham. Although Apple has gained some market share, he added, "We think they're going to be a niche player."

Remember the movie 'The Princess Bride'?
"I don't think that word means what you think it means."

Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe
January 5, 1999

Still Fighting for Survival

Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a computer industry research firm, sobered the crowd by declaring that Macs will never make up more than 10 percent of all desktop machines.


Hiawatha Bray - Boston Globe
January 5, 1999

Still Fighting for Survival

...Lower spending on research is a risky move for a high-tech company whose future depends on a steady stream of new products...


Jim Carlton - Bloomberg News
October 1998

Apple Chronicler (Carlton) is Surprised By Job's Success

...Now that Apple Computer Inc. has become profitable, Jim Carlton, author of "Apple: The Inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania and Business Blunders", says his conclusions were wrong.

A year ago, in the book's first edition, he'd predicted that Apple would collapse, be sold or wither away.. "I will happily eat crow", he told the Bloomberg Forum. "Now, while alive, it's not going to grow much more. Apple's glory days are over"

Some people will never learn.

John C. Dvorak - PC Magazine
January 1998 (before MacWorld Expo 1998)

..Folks, the Mac platform is through -- totally -- and this may be the last, if not the next to last, Mac show...

2 more down, 999 to go!

John C. Dvorak - PC Magazine
January 30, 1998

"Dvorak blasts Apple. . .again"

...I was taken aback by the amount of mail and discussion generated by last week's rather innocuous column about Macworld Expo. Two things surprised me -- first, that anybody cares about whether the Mac, as a platform, is a dead duck or not; and second, that so many Mac users and defenders are reading PC Magazine Online....I have to conclude that these folks are here because they're looking for answers to problems, answers that can't be found in the languishing Mac community. This is yet another sign of THE END...

The sky is falling? When?

John Gartner (Gartner Group) -- TechWeb
October 13, 1998

Gartner Group Sees No Threat To Wintel

...There are no significant threats to the Intel or Microsoft desktop PC franchises through 2003," said Chris Goodhue, another PC analyst at Gartner..

...The PC's continued growth will keep not only Intel and Microsoft healthy, but will also mean strong bottom lines for PC manufacturers such as IBM, Dell, Compaq, and Hewlett-Packard, the analysts said...


Aaron Goldberg -- ZDNET
November 5, 1998

iMac Momentum Stalls After Fast Start

...Our data showed that in the initial two weeks, from August 15th until the end of the month, an average of 20,000 units were shipped per week. However, in September, iMac volumes dropped to just slightly over 9,000 units a week on average for the month. ...This certainly prompts some speculation on my part that a further decline in iMac volumes is a very real possibility...

Seems someone made a mistake.

Bill Howard - PC Magazine
January 6, 1998

Ten Trends for 1998

Apple packs it in....When the last of the good graphics/publishing software gets ported to Windows NT 5.0, the Mac could become just another display behind glass in the Boston Computer Museum.

I wonder when that's going to happen?

Mary Huhn -- NY Post

An iMac-nificent Quarter for Apple

...They'll certainly survive, as long as they keep coming out with innovative products like the iMac. But will they return to the market share they had three or four years ago? I don't think so...

Nov. 11, 1995, Apple's US market share was 13.9%. Not quite there yet, but the "train-keeps-a-rollin' all nite long".

Fred Langa - TechWeb
August 26, 1998

The Herd Instinct

...My guess is that a floppy-equipped iMac will appear within six months...

6 Month, New iMacs, no floppy!

Fred Langa - TechWeb
November 18, 1998

Apple's Heavy Hand Strikes Again

...You want a Mac system? You have to buy it from Apple. No choice, no freedom, no options.

How many flavors you need?

Fred Langa - Information Week
March 31, 1998

A Bruised Apple?

The climax of Jobs' 75-minute presentation was a demo of OS X Server; using normal, off-the-shelf G3 hardware, Jobs was simultaneously going to stream video to 49 iMacs, plus show streaming video on the G3 server: 50 video streams at once. Cool! Except it didn't work. At all.

  • Notes from MacWorld Tokyo
    "From what my friends and I who were present at the keynote could see, 47 of the 50 iMacs supposed to stream the Bare Naked Ladies' music video from the G3 server did so nicely just after Jobs left the stage."
    Furthermore, the simultaneous streams executed flawlessly MacWorld Expo in January...where was Fred then?
Not at all?

Seymour Merrin
Merrin Information Services
August 10, 1998

"All the iMac can do is sustain the Apple cult a little longer," concludes PC analyst Seymour Merrin of Merrin Information Services Inc. "It's not going to bring new people in."


Mitchell Partks - CompuThing
by Stephanie Miles -
August 17, 1998

Readers Rhapsodize on iMac

"Can you imagine the look on a child's face when Daddy buys him or her a Compaq Presario when they have been wanting an iMac? Ain't gonna happen," fantasized Mitchell Parks of CompuThing, "Daddys can't take that look. The iMac craze is only beginning."

(not much of a fantasy now, huh Stephanie?)


James Peltz and Michael Hiltzik -
Los Angeles Times - July 28, 1998

Not Tempted by Apple...

Staff writers James Peltz and Michael Hiltzik debate the merits of individual stocks and other investments.

Jim: That's Apple. I just don't see the Macintosh market share growing significantly in the next few years, and you can only get so far cutting costs and reorganizing the business...

Mike: Now here's the iMac. It's got a lot of features that are well ahead of the market, but it lacks some that I think are indispensable in the market. For example, it comes without a floppy disk drive, which means you have to buy an add-on at additional cost that makes the iMac uncompetitive in price with standard PCs.

Not even close!

Jason Pontin -- Red Herring Magazine
November 1998

Steve Jobs Rescued Apple--but the Point is Moot

...Steve Jobs has saved Apple from going out of business, but Apple will probably never be very important again...

...The Macintosh has become the Volvo of computers: expensive, stylish enough, surprisingly fast, and the choice of a small number of people (in the Mac's case, well-off consumers, graphic artists, and a few educators)...

...The whole point of the Mac was to be a better alternative to Microsoft operating systems on Intel chips. Yet no one wants such an alternative anymore, except graphic designers who are used to it...

Maybe others care too?
Or just an appropriately named Magazine?

Jim Poyner - CIBC Oppenheimer
January 13, 1999

Apple's Turnaround Comes Full Circle...

...Apple's at a peak right now. They are likely to see a plateauing of iMac shipments going forward and that is going to make the stock a lot less interesting....

Up, up, and away!

Michael Slater - Microdesign Resources
November 1997

A Slow Fade

...I don't believe Apple can retain a strong position in the home, I think its position in education will decline.... I don't think Apple will survive as an independent company...

A swing and a miss!

Michael Slater - Microdesign Resources
March 1999

Profits, iMac, are Good, But Not Enough to Stop Mac Decline

...Although Apple's unit shipments continue to increase, the company is struggling to grow as fast as the overall market, now that the step-function increase from iMac is past, leading to a stagnant market-share position...

He keeps saying it, but I'm not seeing it!

Stephen H. Wildstrom -- Businessweek
September 14, 1998

Where Wintel Fears to Tread

Consider Apple's decision to omit a built-in floppy drive. The logic is that floppies are irrelevant because it's so easy to exchange files over a network.... This decision is particularly likely to hurt Apple in the K-12 school market, where floppies are still widely used to store students' personal files.

Or not!


As I said, most of these "Joes" are just tryin' to make a living. However, there are some, like Fred Langa and Hiawatha Bray, who have ensconced themselves against Apple and repeatedly skew their articles contrary to reality. They, for whatever reason, have lost the ability to be objective on the subject and should be removed from Apple-related journalism.

Then there is Michael Slater, who years ago, was a Mac advocate. Today, his writings ramble and I find myself searching for direction when I read them.He's like the Bob Dylan of technology journalism. I wanna say, "Man, just grab a thought and hold on to it". Even his valid criticisms of Apple could have been better developed.

So what great one among us knows the future? Wasn't it Bill Gates that in the early eighties said he couldn't imagine why anyone would need more than 640k of memory on a PC? And wasn't Bill Gates that said the internet was a market not worth pursuing? And wasn't it this same man that in 1996 wrote a book called "The Road Ahead"? Come on, people don't know crap about the future... myself included. All we understand is momentum, and that is what our pundit friends are basing their predictions upon. They forget that momentum has randomness, volatility, and Steve Jobs hacking away at it all the time. It has human ambition, emotion, determination, and error tampering with it too.

Who could have predicted Microsoft's fall from grace? who could have predicted iMac? who could have predicted the groundswell of support for Linux? who could have predicted that Apple would have on-hand inventory down to 1 day? (and by the way, in case you don't know, that's pretty close to phenomenal).

Thanks to,

There are many I want to thank for the inspiration to put this article together...the believers, the countless Pro-Mac websites I have frequented over the years (most notably, macsurfer, which I depend upon daily), the Mac Team at Microsoft for the "Save As" command on IE (these guys are doing a great job and deserve encouragement), and the artists that have taken a stand...Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gregory Hines, and Richard Dreyfuss...just to name a've all been an inspiration, and I thank-you. And of course, David Every of MacKiDo, who has not only been an inspiration, but has given me a voice with this and several articles before.

Created: 04/17/98
Updated: 11/09/02

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