The Many Idiots Who Were Wrong on Apple

Premature obituaries on Apple have been written so many times, both on the company itself and and its dazzling offerings like the iPhone, iPod, iPad, iMac and iTunes, that it’s now bordering on the tiresome to even scroll through them.

Time and again, the naysayers have been caught on the wrong foot and left with a big gob of egg on their faces!

Lemmings Return

Now that Apple’s stock is down 37% since September, the lemmings are back again with their zany predictions and commentaries on “lack of innovations” (as if innovations grew off trees and could be plucked at will), that the company is in its “death throes” or the death of Steve Jobs means the end of the company or other such wild fancies.

People seem to forget that Apple is a company with $137 billion in the bank and corporations with that much money don’t disappear and have so many options. Just because Apple has not made significant acquisitions in the past doesn’t mean it won’t do so in the future.

Plus, just this morning at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting CEO Tim Cook said in his typical underwhelming style that the company is “looking at new categories.”

Not to forget Apple’s recent moves to grow marketshare in large Asian nations like India, where the company has low penetration for its products.

Insane Predictions on Apple

Just in case you too are tempted to join the chorus of lemmings spouting dire warnings on Apple, it might be amusing to read previous predictions and commentaries on the company:

* Businessweek (On Apple opening retail stores)

Sorry Steve. Here’s why Apple stores won’t work…..Rather than unveil a Velveeta Mac, Jobs thinks he can do a better job than experienced retailers at moving the beluga. Problem is, the numbers don’t add up.

* Steve Ballmer (Reacting to iPhone)

Ha ha ha. Five hundred dollars fully subsidized with a plan! I said that is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine …. I like our strategy. I like it a lot.

* PC World magazine (reporting after the iPad launch event)

The iPad is just a big iPod Touch….But it’s hard to imagine all that many of them will fork over the initial $499 for a crippled version, or as much as $829 (for the 64 GB/3G model you’d want)….For the iPad to succeed, it has to reach beyond that tight-knit fraternity, as the iPhone did. Best guess: This may not reach much farther than the Apple TV.

* Newsweek Technology Editor Dan Lyons (after the iPad launch)

I haven’t been this let down since Snooki hooked up with The Situation.

* Steve Ballmer (reaction to iPhone)

There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item….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.

* British Tech blogger Dave Parrack (reaction to iPad)

Reality kicked in, and it became more about what was missing and what was bad than what was present and good. Once again, Apple is offering style over substance.

* Michael Dell (on Apple in 1997)

What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (on iPad)

So, it’s not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone where I say, ‘Oh my God, Microsoft didn’t aim high enough.’ It’s a nice reader, but there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say, ‘Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.’

TechTarget poll (on iPod in 2001)

One of the “Top Five Worst” list of tech gifts to get this Christmas.

CmdrTaco of Slashdot (on iPod)

No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.

Technology Business Research analyst Tim Deal (on the iPod)

Clearly Apple is following Sony’s lead by integrating consumer electronics devices into its marketing strategy, but Apple lacks the richness of Sony’s product offering. And introducing new consumer products right now is risky, especially if they cannot be priced attractively.

Michael Dell (in 2001)

Q: What is the future of Apple Computer?

A: Silicon Graphics.

Q: That bad?

A: Maybe it’s a little bit different. But if you look at proprietary computer companies, whether it’s Digital or Silicon Graphics (SGI) or Apple (AAPL), I think the fates are all relatively similar. We know how the movie ends. It’s just a question of what happens in the middle. Apple has a very little customer base. If you look at the economics, it has been extremely hard for Apple to get a return on its R&D with a shrinking volume base. It’s not to say that Apple’s products aren’t innovative or cool, but the economic factors here are so overwhelming, it’s very hard for them to swim against that tide.

IDC Analyst Dan Kusnetzky

Certainly by….2005, possibly by the end of 2003, Linux will pass Mac OS as the No. 2 operating environment.

Tech Analyst Rob Enderle

Apple has about 24 months to get its act together and position itself for the post-Longhorn world of Linux and Windows. If it doesn’t offer solutions that will play on those platforms the way iTunes currently does on Windows, it will probably become a footnote by the end of the decade.

Technology Writer John C.Dvorak (on iPods)

Moving from computers to consumer electronics is dangerous for Apple. It’s especially dangerous if the company thinks that MP3 players and its variants are the future. Perhaps if the company took the plunge and followed the path of Sony with branded cameras, headphones, amplifiers and home theaters in a box it would be more interesting. But milking this one pricey and faddish device [iMac] is going to ruin the company if it is going to be the center of attention, which it now seems to be.

Bloomberg News columnist Matthew Lynn (after Apple announces iPhone in January 2007)

The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant….Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry.

Tech writer John C.Dvorak (on the iPad tablet)

The tablet market has only succeeded as a niche market over the years and it was hoped Apple would dream up some new paradigm to change all that. From what I’ve seen and heard, this won’t be it.

Forrester Research Analyst Charles Golvin (in 2007 on the iPhone)

The iPhone will not substantially alter the fundamental structure and challenges of the mobile industry.

4 Responses to "The Many Idiots Who Were Wrong on Apple"

  1. boopalanj   March 2, 2013 at 6:12 am

    More than all of them, the last one appears funny for me. Surprising that research firms like Forrester and gartner have morons like this. Responds:

    A lot of analysts are either hopeless idiots or in bed with the companies they cover and hence suspect!

    Some times what they say in public and what they say internally are so different.

    The financial analysts covering tech sector are the worst.

    • boopalanj   March 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

      Are their reports reliable then? Responds:

      Most analysts are snake oil salesmen, not unlike the crooks you find in Santhais (Indian weekly fairs) peddling dirty bottles with foul-smelling liquid as potency drugs!

      In my opinion, most analysts are good only for post-facto reports.

  2. Aswin_Kini   March 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    SI Wrote:
    “Bloomberg News columnist Matthew Lynn (after Apple announces iPhone in January 2007)

    The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant….Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry.”

    How ironic, iPhone did not only place Apple on the top of the mobile industry, but changed the way people look at phones. First, they were primarily devices meant only for communication via calls. Now, you have a camera, bluetooth, mp3 player, email and maps all bundled into one device, thanks to Steve Jobs.

    SI – why don’t you spend some time writing articles on the greatest false prophecies of the century (Michael Dell’s comment on Apple, Microsoft on Apple’s products etc). They would make excellent reading, much better than reading reviews of crappy Telugu, Bollywood, and Tamil films. What say SI? Responds:

    Yes, I am planning to change SI Blog’s orientation to focus mostly on non-Indian stuff.

    Books, digital media, pictures etc

    • zarboan   March 4, 2013 at 9:21 am

      you said “planning to change SI Blog’s orientation to focus mostly on non-Indian stuff “.
      so then,are you gonna rename blog’s name too? 😉 Responds:

      Is it one of those “Indian beauty Sushila gets nailed” kinda sites?

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