[photopress:altair1975_1.jpg,full,alignright]First note that this forecast is made by an analyst company. Employees have openly admitted that the target is to get the forecast right half the time. Which means that half the time it is wrong. Not totally wrong. But wrong enough to invalidate a forecast.
In this case the first part of the forecast is almost certainly right.
Forrester states that by the end of 2008, there will be more than one billion personal computers in use worldwide. Not a figure with which one would like to argue.
Forrester then goes on to say that with ‘PC use growing rapidly in emerging markets and high-profile programs in place to reach previously untapped markets, Forrester predicts that there will be more than two billion PCs in use by 2015, representing more than 12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2003 and 2015.’
And perhaps that second forecast is just a load of old moody. It may well be that the mobile phone gets to a stage where it replaces the PC. I do not know but I am damn certain Forrester does not know either.
Let us stick with the acceptable one billion PCs forecast. According to Forrester it took 27 years to reach that figure.
An interesting calculation and, I think, totally wrong.
The IBM personal computer was launched on August 12, 1981 but it was by no means the first computer. Anyway, I make that 26 years.
Forrester may not know computer history very well.
For example: was the Apple II a personal computer? Beyond doubt. It was advertised as such.The Apple II was launched in April 1977. That makes it thirty years if the batteries in my calculator have not packed it in again.
For me the first personal computer was the Altair 8800, shown above, which was introduced in a Popular Electronics magazine article in the January 1975 issue and had software written by, yes, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the start of Microsoft.
That would make the personal computer 32 years old. If you want to use the Apple II benchmark, thirty years. And there are other claimants.
If Forrester cannot work out when the first personal computer was released do we trust it to tell us what will happen in 2015? Not very much.
According to Forrester, the emerging Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) market will account for more than 775 million new PCs by 2015. It might. And then, yet again, it might not. It is all guesswork. Intelligent guesswork. Backed up by all sort of figures. Probably graphs as well. Which does not mean it should not be thought of as scientific forecasting.
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