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Forstall: Apple iPhone owes its life to a Microsoft employee that Steve Jobs hated

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The Scott Forstall interview starts at around the 1 hour 7 minute mark.

With this being the 10th anniversary of the Apple iPhone, stories about how the device came to be are proving to be popular. The other day we told you about a new book about the iPhone that just hit the market. The One Device: The secret history of the iPhone reveals what was going on at Apple during the development of its iconic smartphone. Yesterday, Apple's former software chief Scott Forstallappeared at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. During his visit, Forstall explained how Jobs' hatred of a particular Microsoft employee was the impetus behind the development of the iPhone and the iPad.

Apparently, a particular Microsoft executive would constantly bother Jobs with talk of styluses and tablets. If you've ever watched the entire iPhone unveiling on tape, you know how much Apple's co-founder hated the stylus. Jobs also couldn't stand hearing this guy talk about tablets, so he had Apple work on its own slate. Keep in mind that this was prior to the start of the project that delivered the iPhone.

Forstall said that the original tablet project soon changed focus after Jobs realized that smartphones could hurt iPod sales since users were listening to music on these devices. After seeing a demo of the tablet software being developed by Apple, he asked Forstall to shrink it down to the size of a smartphone. Viewing that software demo gave Jobs the confidence to.put the tablet project on hold; everything then went full steam ahead toward the creation of a handset. Three years after the iPhone was first introduced, the Apple iPad was made official.

Forstall has been extremely quiet since being let go in 2012 by Tim Cook after the Apple Map fiasco. Apple debuted its own native mapping app to replace Google Maps on its iOS powered devices, and it provided incorrect directions, misnamed landmarks, and was considered life-threatening by some. Forstall was fired for refusing to sign an apology for Maps. Eventually, Apple did correct all of the app's mistakes.

In the history of Apple, Microsoft at one time played an important part in keeping Apple alive when it was thisclose to going under. And now we discover that an unnamed Microsoft employee was the inspiration behind Apple's most important product ever. It just goes to show that you never know where true inspiration will come from.

source: Computer History Museum

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