CRN's Chris Phoenix says:
I've heard objections that molecular manufacturing is a non-starter because no one will bet on something so speculative and costly. Well, it happened at least once before...
The S/360 was the most expensive CPU project in history. The most expensive project of the 1960s was the Apollo moon rocket project; IBM's System/360 was the second most expensive. Fortune magazine at the time referred to it as IBM's "$5 Billion gamble" and they were right; IBM absolutely bet the company on this machine. ($5 billion in 1964 dollars translates to about $28 billion in 2002 dollars.) The bet paid off. [Source]
The point of the S/360 was to integrate many disconnected computer technologies into one scalable architecture. Similarly, the point of molecular manufacturing is to build on nanoscale technologies. It is intended to provide programmable, configurable access to the nanoscale.
The cost of developing molecular manufacturing is probably already lower than $28 billion. It may even be as low as $1 billion. Whatever it is now, in the next five years, it could drop by a factor of two--or a factor of ten. Are we willing to bet the world that no one in the world will be willing to bet their company?