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Wicked Burn! iPhone Predictions Gone Splat

iPhone naysayers looked silly in the end


When Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at Macworld 2007, he announced the AppleTV. And nearly 45 minutes after that announcement and demo, he presented the iPhone — Apple’s first real foray into the smartphone market (the Motorola ROKR “iTunes” phone doesn’t really count).

Mobile changed from that moment on, though many of the players didn’t realize it at the time.

Some competitors were in denial from day one and continued to be even as Apple went from a non-presence in the mobile space to an increasingly dominant player. In the iPhone’s nearly five years of existence, it upset many business models — not just that of smartphone manufacturers — and many companies ended up with egg on their faces as their initial bravado about Apple’s chances to make it in the mobile market came back to bite them.

Here are a few of my favorite examples:


Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Steve Ballmer on iPhone (2007):
“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.”USATODAY

Windows Mobile 6
Released: February 2007
“A study by the IT analyst firm Canalys revealed that the iPhone surpassed Windows Mobile in market share in Q3 (2007).”TechRepublic
Final Version of Windows Mobile released: January 2010

Research In Motion

Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) Jim Lazaridis on iPhone (2008):
“The iPhone was great for BlackBerry! People came in looking for an iPhone and walked out with a BlackBerry.”Business Insider

BlackBerry Pearl Flip
First version Released: October 2008
“Shares of RIM tanked about 10% Monday with the news of poor sales of the BlackBerry Pearl Flip.”InformationWeek
Final version End of Life: February 2010

Research in Motion’s Jim Balsillie on iPhone (2007):
“It’s kind of one more entrant into an already very busy space with lots of choice for consumers… But in terms of a sort of a sea-change for BlackBerry, I would think that’s overstating it.”Business Insider

  • RIMM percentage of smartphones shipped worldwide Q1, 2006: 8.9%
  • iPhone percentage of smartphones shipped worldwide Q1, 2006: 0%
  • RIMM percentage of smartphones shipped worldwide Q1, 2012: 6.4%
  • iPhone percentage of smartphones shipped worldwide Q1, 2012: 23%
  • RIMM share price at time of iPhone announcement: $71.47
  • RIMM share price today: $10.40


Verizon (NYSE:VZ) ad mocking the iPhone circa 2009:
“iDon’t have a real keyboard, iDon’t run simultaneous apps, iDon’t take night shots. Everything iDon’t … Droid Does.”The New York Times

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg (2010) on the iPhone: “We would love to carry it, but we have to earn it.”CNET

2011: Verizon sells more than 1 million iPhones on launch weekend (The company’s best phone launch ever).


2010 Sony (NYSE:SNE) PSP commercial disses gaming on iPhone:
“That ain’t built for big boy games! That’s built for texting your grandma!”

  • Average iPhone owner spends 14.7 hours per month playing games. — Ars Technica
  • Over 100,000 games available for download on App Store. — Apple
  • 25 billionth app downloaded in 2012, 17 of top 25 paid apps of all time for iPhone are games. — Apple
  • Best-Selling PSP game of all time: Monster Hunter Portable (4.12 million copies).


Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Neils Munksgaard on iPhone (2011):
“What we see is that youth are pretty much fed up with iPhones. Everyone has the iPhone. Also, many are not happy with the complexity of Android and the lack of security. So we do increasingly see that the youth that wants to be on the cutting edge and try something new are turning to the Windows phone platform.”Pocket-Lint

Lumia 900 Windows Phone
Price: $99.99 through AT&T
Q1 2012: Nokia reports 2 million Lumia Windows devices (including previous versions) sold
Apple iPhone 4S
Price: $199.99 through AT&T
Q1 2012: Apple reports 37 million iPhones sold

“The problems with Windows Phone are myriad, many small. But it’s a death by a thousand cuts. And all those little problems were once again immediately apparent to me the moment I started using the Lumia 900.”The Verge

Motorola Mobility

2010 Motorola ad mocking iPhone’s lack of Flash support: “Flash websites? There’s a phone for that. Introducing the new Droid 2 by Motorola.”MaximumPC

Motorola Droid 2
Released: August 2010
Discontinued: 2011
November 2011: Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) confirms it has ceased development on Flash for mobile devices and will concentrate on HTML5 — which is supported by the iPhone’s browser.

As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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