Matthew Lynn in 2007: “Apple iPhone Will Fail”

Well-known journalist M. G. Siegler (via Daring Fireball) points us towards an interesting look back at a news columnist’s opinion about the iPhone in early 2007. While we obviously have the benefit of hindsight, knowing how widely successful the iPhone has been, it’s still rather comical to look back at the comments made.

Matthew Lynn, writing for Bloomberg, stated that the “Apple iPhone will fail in a late, defensive move” against Nokia and Motorola Mobility, once dominant market leaders in the mobile industry. Lynn added that “the iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks,” and that “in terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant.”

But, it gets worse. Lynn goes on to say, “Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry.” Little did he know that Apple would go on to sell hundreds of millions of iPhones in just five years. Again, in hindsight, but still.

Here’s some other excerpts from Lynn’s opinion piece:

To its many fans, Apple is more of a religious cult than a company. An iToaster that downloads music while toasting bread would probably get the same kind of worldwide attention. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that it matters. The big competitors in the mobile-phone industry such as Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. won’t be whispering nervously into their clamshells over a new threat to their business.


First, Apple is late to this party. The company didn’t invent the personal computer or MP3 player, but it was among the pioneers of both products. Yet there is no shortage of phones out there. There are already big companies that dominate the space, all of whom will defend their turf. That means Apple will have to fight hard for every sale.


Yet Apple has never been good at working with other companies. If it knew how to do that, it would be Microsoft Corp.


Lastly, the iPhone is a defensive product. It is mainly designed to protect the iPod, which is coming under attack from mobile manufacturers adding music players to their handsets.

[Bloomberg via MG Siegler via Daring Fireball]

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