Snopes on Ken Olsen

From: Teo Zenios <>
Date: Tue Sep 21 15:47:14 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Koning" <>
To: <>; <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2004 4:02 PM
Subject: RE: Snopes on Ken Olsen

> >>>>> "David" == David V Corbin <> writes:
> David> But you should read the ENTIRE item, and understand the
> David> context!
> I just did. It looks like an amazing case of trying to spin the story
> and make it look like Ken didn't miss the PC opportunity entirely. It
> won't wash. He did miss it, and his attempts to spin it into
> something else after the fact are disappointing.
> Besides, never mind what he thought he meant when he talked about it a
> decade or two later. What matters is what DEC people (and others)
> thought he meant in the early days of the PC. For that audience, the
> obvious meaning of the single sentence is what was heard and what set
> the direction, and the rest is history.
> paul

If you look back in the 70's exactly what would the average person need an
expensive Apple II or equivalent machine at home for? The only reason the
Apple II took of was because of VisiCalc (spreadsheet) and what that
software offered to businesses. If you look at what most computer users do
with their machines today (email, www, online shopping, eBay, news, games,
quicken, etc) none of this existed in the 70's and 80's. The prices for
machines back then also dwarfed what they cost now (rich tech toy compared
to a commodity today).

The content, pricepoint, and standardization needed for the PC to become
what it is today was not around in the 70's and most of the 80's. Having a
general use PC in the home didn't take off until the 90's for most people
(most commodore and amiga products were sold to kids for gaming and

To me some inventions were designed as solutions for problems (the light
bulb) while others are solutions in search of a problem ( early PC's). It is
obvious that the people driving the PC market today didn't have a clue what
the market today would look like 20+ years ago.
Received on Tue Sep 21 2004 - 15:47:14 BST

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