In 1962, the head of A&R at Decca Records, Dick Rowe, rejected the chance to sign the Beatles, allegedly telling Brian Epstein that the foursome had no chance of making it in the music industry.
Reality, of course, proved otherwise and, despite Rowe’s other successes in the business, he was from that point on destined to be remembered as the buffoon who couldn’t spot how amazing the Beatles were.
Now replace “music label A&R man” with “technology company chief executive” and “the Beatles” with “the iPhone”, and you might get a picture of the fate history has in store for Steve Ballmer.
Dead on. One statement, right or wrong, will come to define Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft legacy: “No chance the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”
To be fair, Ballmer was talking about the $500 subsidized iPhone — a model which Apple later moved away from (complete with a partial refund to initial buyers). But the entire reaction is ridiculous. It’s Goliath not only laughing at David, but almost refusing to acknowledge he even exists in the first place.
"Right now, we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year, Apple is selling zero phones a year." Maybe the dumbest statement in the history of tech. Certainly the most ill-advised.
All made a million times worse by the fact that just a few years later, the iPhone would become a bigger business than all of Microsoft.