Snopes on Ken Olsen

From: Tom Jennings <>
Date: Tue Sep 21 20:28:18 2004

Yeah, this is silly. Ken Olsen was a great guy, but he was as human as
any of us, and made mistakes. He probably yelled at his dog too.
Clearly, DEC missed the boat. I can personally attest to the TOTAL CRAP
JOB they did with the Rainbow.

(I can't believe I'm making this capitalist argument, I hate its results
:-) but it wasn't his place to "predict" the use of computers in the
home, but to CREATE it, and DEC had as good a chances as any, though
historically the entrenched make poor pioneers (but then there's IBM, so
much for consistency).

On Tue, 2004-09-21 at 17:21, Vintage Computer Festival wrote:
> On Tue, 21 Sep 2004, Teo Zenios wrote:
> > 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
> Have you ever heard of a thing called video games?
> > 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).
> This is silly and specious. There were PLENTY of uses for a computer in
> the home back in the 1970s: word processing is just one obvious
> application. You are over-looking the thousands of unique uses people
> found for computers at a personal level.
> > 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
> That may be, but it didn't stop millions of computers being sold to home
> users throughout the 1980s. Regardless of what the market was then
> compared to now (which is a useless comparison) the fact is that people
> bought computers for the home and used them, whether it was for games or
> not. And guess what? I'd guess that the same percentage of people who
> buy computers for their home today as did in the 1980s do so for playing
> games.
> > 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.
> That's just plain wrong. It was obvious from the moment the Altair 8800
> hit the pages of Popular Electronics that personal computers were going to
> be a huge thing. The problem is that the big companies were stuck in
> their bigness and just didn't get it. Hundreds of companies sprung up in
> the first years of the microcomputer revolution, all trying to cash in on
> the craze. These computers were primarily sold to businesses after the
> inital hobbyist boom, but home users steadily increased over the years and
> continue to increase to this day.
Received on Tue Sep 21 2004 - 20:28:18 BST

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