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Two Tech Companies Are Making Big Predictions, but Boy, Did Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Set the Bar High

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A video from 25 years ago points both backward and forward.

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Well, we got a glimpse of Intel's plan at its Developer Forum in San Francisco last week: Prove that the company has unmatched long-term vision and the creative and scientific personnel to pull it off. One of the key concepts put forth was the removal of boundaries between user and object, a development that Intel says will be made possible by the constantly decreasing size of microchips. "When you get intelligence that small, you can turn anything into a computer," Intel futurist Rob Johnson writes. "You could turn a table into a computer. All of a sudden, it's possible to turn your shirt, your chair, even your own body into a computer." This kind of sci-fi thinking is fanciful, sure, but it's also a way for Intel to flex its creative muscles and extend its relevance into the future.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has taken a decidedly different tack. Rather than asserting that the company still has the power to do amazing things as it is, CEO Steve Ballmer has declared that the future of Microsoft is dependent on a fundamental change in its thinking. Hardware, not software, is where the tech giant is headed, says Ballmer: "I think when you look forward, our core capability will be software, [but] you'll probably think of us more as a devices-and-services company," he told the Seattle Times.

The Microsoft Signature line of PCs, the Xbox, and the upcoming Microsoft Surface tablet are all indicative of the company's eagerness to jump into the device world.

So we have a future in which Microsoft is a hardware company (will they be called "Microhard?") and Intel is putting microchips in our breakfast cereal. Whether or not these predictions come to pass could have a major effect on the tech market; Microsoft, in the short term, would almost immediately become a major player in the fast-growing mobile device industry, while Intel aims to challenge the very core concepts of computing. There's one company, however, that made a prediction 25 years ago…and saw it come off perfectly.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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