Ballmer: I was wrong about the iPhone



Back in 2007, after Steve Jobs introduced the Apple iPhone, then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was asked what he thought of the device. The first comments he made were to mock the pricing of the handset. He also said that the phone wouldn't appeal to business customers because it didn't come with a physical QWERTY keyboard. Ballmer said that without the physical QWERTY, the iPhone would not be a very good device for emailing.

Now, nearly ten years later, Ballmer admits that he was wrong. He also says that he should have moved earlier to push Microsoft into hardware. Ballmer said that after he pushed for Surface, the board wasn't totally behind the project. After Microsoft took a massive write down thanks to the poor sales generated by the Surface RT, the company eventually hit pay dirt with the Surface Pro. Microsoft founder Bill Gates didn't share Ballmer's eventual support for hardware, which led to a breakdown in the relationship between the pair.


Ballmer's initial critique of the iPhone turned out to be way off base. "We have great Windows Mobile devices in the market today," Ballmer said back in 2007. While Ballmer ticked off the features of the "capable" Motorola Q, the executive did the same exact thing that BlackBerry chiefs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis did when the iPhone was unveiled. They played down and underestimated the advantages of the touchscreen interface found on the iPhone. And that has led both Microsoft and BlackBerry to become more and more irrelevant in the smartphone industry.


source: Bloomberg via MacRumors

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53 Comments

1. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

He wasn't just wrong... He was VERY wrong.

5. Acdc1a

Posts: 473; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

He had the right idea...

41. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

Hindsight is 20/20 ..

50. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

His problem is he choose to abandon a open model such as windows mobile 6.5 for a closed model similar to iOS locking out a clunk of development and hardware competition. Such dick move also earn you little support from would be business partners. If he has pursue their own path to build an x86 windows phone. They would be the dominant force in smartphone market similar to the days of PC vs Mac.

52. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I want to say...no s*%^$#. He was very, very wrong. And even laughed at it. Oh, just saw its in the clip, lol. Him and former BB execs. Google wasnt that stupid.

2. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

File this under NSS (No $hit Sherlock).

3. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

I give him credit for admitting his error.

9. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Too bad Steve Jobs isn't that good of a person. As evil as peopel claimed Ballmer and Gates are, they are still here with us, driving and fighting. Both remain on the board and commited to keeping the company relevant with what they do best. I only wish they get some young minds in the company who are ready to take Ms to the next level. The next level would me, to move Windows from using storage. Let's move Windows to a ROM, that would require firmware upgrades and lets move on to HUD UI's and thats make Windows more touch friendly.

10. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"Too bad Steve Jobs isn't that good of a person" Speaking ill of the dead.......how classless of you. But then again, look at who I'm talking to...... "As evil as peopel claimed Ballmer and Gates are, they are still here with us, driving and fighting." Wtf are you even talking about? Are you on meth? Driving and fighting....... lmao. "Both remain on the board and commited to keeping the company relevant with what they do best." Which is? "I only wish they get some young minds in the company who are ready to take Ms to the next level." Because you know ALL of their staff members and future leaders. Stfu..... "The next level would me, to move Windows from using storage." Hahahahahahahahahahaha....... "Let's move Windows to a ROM, that would require firmware upgrades and lets move on to HUD UI's and thats make Windows more touch friendly." This is how we know you have no clue about ACTUAL IT. If you did, you would know better than to right this garbage.

14. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

*write

25. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

If a person is bad, does being dead suppose to change anything? People like Al Capone, even dead is still considered one of the most notorious gangsters to ever walk the streets of Chicago. So being dead changes this somehow? I didn't speak ill of anyone. what I did state was a fact. Grow up fool! I don't care about Steve Jobs. he's never done anything for me. He's not don me any personal favors and has is not my friend. You asked a question I already answer. I said I wish they would get younf minds into the company. I never said I knew who they had or not. However if you look at all the filled positions which you can easily see on their website, you'd see the vast majority of the group leaders are above 40. The guy over the Surface group is very cool. H appears to really have an eye for design. He is very lively on stage. He appears to really care about his family. He could care less about money. When you make a product that people want, the money will come. Here are the advantages of moving firmware to a ROM. With a ROM, ROM's can't be directly attacked by viruses and malware, because the OS would be hard codes. SOFTWARE can always be attacked because it is "soft" ware and is attacked from many angles, including the fact of using volitle storage. See its YOU who have no idea what the hell you're talking about. READ ON MEMORY - can not be directly accessed. In order to access ROM, you need to have access to the hardware itself. But, you can't us another computer to hack someone else ROM, because each ROM can be given its own individual access protocol. But you wouldn't know this because A, you're not a programmer, B) You're only here to troll and could care less and C) All of the above an more. I'm done with you. I wont even respond to any of your post. Pay me the same respect. You don't have to agree. You can ignore and move forward. But you aren't even smart enough to do that. Please get a job and stop living with your parents.

30. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I stopped reading after the Capone comparison. Seriously, did you just compare a gangster from the 20s/30s to a tech savant? You understand how retarded the comparison is, right? You must really, really hate Jobs for some reason to even think up something that deluded. I mean, I didn't care for the guy all that much either, but Jesus! Charles Darwin rolls in his grave with every breath you take in this world. You're living proof that Darwinism can be circumvented with enough luck. There's no way an evolutionary reject like yourself would make it in Darwin's reality......and I say that in the kindest way possible. Do whatever you'd like.....my little miracle child.....

37. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"Seriously, did you just compare a ganster from the 20s/30s to a tech savant?" No. What he did was an analogy, not a comparision. I think his point is that the fact someone is deceased doesn't change the person's reputation, hence it's not "ill-talking" when a deceased person is being put on a negative perspecting by talking about the deceased person's deeds or personality.

40. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

He may not be Capone, but look up what happened with his daughter. He went so far as saying he was unable to have children in court, when that was patently false. Just because he was a good businessman doesn't mean he's automatically a good human being. And if a rumor I heard is true then he'd be even worse. According to the rumor, he set up residence in Tennessee to have a quicker shot to get a liver after he was diagnosed with cancer. Having a sister who has been through cancer twice and a brother who died from it, that's a pretty crappy thing to do. So while he's not a criminal, that doesn't mean he's an angel either.

32. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

I second that ^^

34. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Of course you do.......mrsecondaccountXP. BTW, you understand that by giving him such praise for bs you further hurt your beloved Samsung's image? Now every time I even look at a Samsung phone, I think of how retarded that one fanboy is, and look elsewhere. Shouldn't you be doing more to discredit him when he says sexist, false, and utterly ridiculous information?

42. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"BTW you understand that by giving him such praise for bs"... You deem it to be "bs", couldn't care less, could I? SMH What I seconded was the last 7 paragraphs of his post #25, where he began talking about Firmware and ROM. That's all what I focused on his post. "Now every time I even look at a Samsung phone, I think of how retarded that fanboy is, and look elsewhere". Huh? Are you really an adult? I think a responsible person decides to buy something based on his needs, and wouldn't resort into being influenced in his buying decision by an anonymous fanboy on the web... Are you implying that a "retard" fanboy on the internet prevents you from purchasing a Samsung phone? SMH. Besides, retard fanboys exist in on all sides. How about I say that I look at an iPhone and I think of a how retarded one Apple fanboy is, and look elsewhere (ditch the iPhone)??? That's ridiculous.

44. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"Are you implying that a "retard" fanboy on the internet prevents you from purchasing a Samsung phone? SMH." I'm implying that he is further deincentivziing for me. Basically, if his nonsense wasn't an object of my attention, I would be more open to buying a Samsung phone straight up. It's not like money is a problem, and I've used plenty Samsung phones in the past (still have two). However, little things like this change people's opinions when on the fence about minute objects. Hope that makes sense.....

45. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"Hope it makes sense" Not to me. I wouldn't let myself resort into being influenced in my buying decision by someone I have never known, let alone never even seen in real-world. The fanboyism of an anynomous person can affect/influence your perception of a company's brand image and product? By logic, what a company does is what can influence it's brand image, product sales and consumers' trust, not what some anonymous fanboy does on the web. Come on.

48. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Sigh.......I said there are numerous circumstances to add to that, right? Take for instance buying a vehicle. If two cars are almost duplicates of one another, ANYTHING can sway your opinion. And you honestly think techie is the only one doing so? Numerous forums have dudes like him preaching the gospel of Samsung....... it's a real turn off. I get praising something that's great, that's fine in my book, but damn man calm down! He PURPOSELY distorts information to fit a narrative, and that pisses people like me off. I don't do that, and most other people don't do that either.

20. Unordinary unregistered

Seriously lmfao? Which is why you cant play CoD: IW with Steam users on PC, only other Windows users lol if bought through the Windows Store. Complete joke. Keeping the company relevent wih what they do best: HAH

26. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Joke really? So lets see. where is Microsoft in the desktop market? Last I checked they are on top. Why? Because they keep making the decisions to keep them there. Buying and selling companies. Making the small move to hardware. They may ahve a CEO, but he can't move forward with any plan without board approval, which mean Gates and Ballmer have the ultimate last say-so as to whether this is an idea to follow. Last I check, Apple has never file or were potentially on the verge of going bankrupt. Yet many companies they competed with like Apple, IBM and others were not far from going belly up.

23. darkkjedii

Posts: 30899; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

If I were you, I'd logout for the day. Kiko is tearing you a new one today, and you're setting yourself up for it big time. Please make some sense of post 9.

27. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

If you don't understand, then I see know need to explain. You are entitled to your opinion. He hasn't done anything to me. He is a natural borne loser! I don't have to respond to trolls. He is such an idiot, that he thinks fast charging batteries, that WERE DESIGNED TO BE FAST CHARGED, somehow degrades them. But he trying to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about? LOL I simply gave an opinion. He or anyone else doesn't have to agree. It doesn't matter if they do or don't. But it is an absolute fact that batteries designed to be fast charged, don't degrade any faster than batteries designed to be charged at normal charging speed. Which it says right here - https://www.qualcomm.com/products/snapdragon/quick-charge/faq Q4: Can Quick Charge hurt my smartphone's battery? A: Quick Charge operates within the design parameters of batteries found in most smartphones. It is just charging the battery the way it is designed to be charged. Device manufacturers build smartphones with a specific battery that can accept a specific level of charge. The battery size and maximum current of each battery are design decisions made by the manufacturer and can vary from smartphone to smartphone, tablet to tablet and so on. However, traditional battery charging technology does not come close to the full power requirements of today's large batteries. Quick Charge is designed to allow device manufacturers to achieve the full rated capability of the batteries they choose while still meeting the performance and safety standards set by the battery manufacturer.

43. darkkjedii

Posts: 30899; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Where in post 26, was quick charge mentioned though?

4. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 965; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

SO many people and companies mocked it when it first arrived (and still do), but the popularity of the iPhone is still incredible all these years later.

6. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Greatly underestimated Apple's marketing ability, no question there.

7. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"Greatly underestimated Apple's marketing ability, no question there." The first iPhone didn't sell all that well. It was the concept that changed the mobile space at the time. I get hating on anything iPhone is basically a tool of acceptance here, but don't be daft.

17. Acdc1a

Posts: 473; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

It was and is marketing and Steve was right. In theory, who would spend $500 on a cell phone when Windows Mobile phones ran $99 and did more. Were it not for the marketing and people's acceptance it could have went in a completely different direction. It didn't help that Windows Mobile was clunky.

19. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I like how you take what I said as 'hating anything iPhone' when it couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, it didn't sell well initially, quite common with brand new products, but if you keep up the marketing, the talk about it, your product sells better? Apple are great at that, marketing. But many seem to see the products as a gift from god or similar, when they are, products, products that in fact all the while have had many competitors that have outdone Apple's products. But having a product better then Apple's products does not mean it will sell better or people will leave the iPhone for it, that is where marketing and service comes in, And Apple does great marketing, and great service (in the US, service internationally is not so hot) So yeah, when it comes to it, Marketing is what won Apple's position with the iPhone, however it is entirely still possible that outside of US, those two things are not in any way the same, as what it is inside US, just food for thought.

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