Category Archives: Dumb Things Execs Say

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”

KenOlsen–KEN OLSEN, PRESIDENT OF DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION IN 1977

Ken Olsen was the co-founder and CEO of Digital (also known as Digital Equipment Corporation, or DEC), a company launched out of an old wool mill in Massachusetts in 1957, which at its peak the late 1980s was the number two computer company in the United States with sales revenues of $14 billion.

Digital faltered in the 1990s, however; in 1992 Olsen was replaced as CEO, and in 1998 the company was sold to Compaq (which in turn was bought up by Hewlett-Packard in 2002). Part of the reason for Digital’s downfall is often blamed on Olsen’s failure to anticipate or understand the burgeoning personal computer market, a failure supposedly exemplified by his having disparaged the PC as something no individual needed to have in his home.

During a talk at a 1977 meeting of the World Future Society in Boston, Olsen reportedly said he saw “no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home,” a statement that was supposedly publicized quite widely when Time magazine repeated it.

“The iPhone Won’t Appeal to Business Customers”

Steve-Ballmer“$500 for a fully subsidized cellphone with a plan? That is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine.”

–STEVE BALLMER (Microsoft CEO) ON THE INTRODUCTION OF THE FIRST IPHONE