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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