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Iphone Businesses Operating Systems The Almighty Buck

'The Unwillingness To Foresee The Future' (stratechery.com) 193

An anonymous reader shares a few excerpts from Ben Thompson's analysis: Back in 2006, when the iPhone was a mere rumor, Palm CEO Ed Colligan was asked if he was worried: "We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone," he said. "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in." What if Steve Jobs' company did bring an iPod phone to market? Well, it would probably use WiFi technology and could be distributed through the Apple stores and not the carriers like Verizon or Cingular, Colligan theorized." I was reminded of this quote after Amazon announced an agreement to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion; after all, it was only two years ago that Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey predicted that groceries would be Amazon's Waterloo. And while Colligan's prediction was far worse -- Apple simply left Palm in the dust, unable to compete -- it is Mackey who has to call Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the Napoleon of this little morality play, boss. The similarities go deeper, though: both Colligan and Mackey made the same analytical mistakes: they mis-understood their opponents' goals, strategies, and tactics.

'The Unwillingness To Foresee The Future'

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    And the managers were total dipshits. A combination of arrogant and uninformed, and after Palm many of them continue to lay waste to start-ups in the valley. Idiots almost ruined the Kindle project at Amazon, until Seattle descended down upon them and started re-educating and cleaning house.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, 2017 @02:54PM (#54649317)

      I had to exit at this quote:

      Apple’s goal was not to build a phone but to build an even more personal computer; their strategy was not to add on functionality to a phone but to reduce the phone to an app; and their tactics were not to duplicate the carriers but to leverage their connection with customers to gain concessions from them.

      I disagree here, this is hindsight and speculative, and the provided link is from 2013. The initial iPhone did not come with a market (the 'iTunes App Store') and AFAIK we don't know for sure if it had been planned from the beginning to pan out the way it did.

      I am not trying to play down the success of the iPhone and how it has changed the world. Yes, it was incredibly successful, yes it all panned out nicely. I am just questioning if it was all planned to come out exactly this way from the beginning, or maybe there were some decisions made after initial success and someone came up with even better ideas. Steve Jobs touched junk liberally.

      • I have to agree with this. Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but I'm sure the initial vision was for no apps at all. Everything would be built as webpages/webapps for Safari.

        • Yep but here is the kicker Safari in the original iPhone could load regular web pages and not dumbed downed ignored websites that most mobile use was limited to.

          For the first two iPhones apps didn't matter as you had full websites to access.

          • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

            The problem was carriers data speeds and prices were crippling the iphone's abilities. AT&T utterly sucked loading any kind of web page on an iphone 1, jobs realized that he had to also fight the phone carriers as they refused to upgrade their data speeds, so a different direction was taken and it created a whole new industry.

            So basically you can credit AT&T and their utterly shitty data speeds and prices for creating the phone app industry.

        • You are 100% correct. Until iOS 2.0 (back then, referred to as iPhone OS), there was no App Store. The only way to get 3rd party apps installed on an iPhone was to jailbreak it and use Installer.app (the predecessor to Cydia) to install things.
          • by Altus ( 1034 )

            but apps were not the necessary component to the iPhone disrupting the industry, having a full featured web browser was sufficient.

            • If the full featured web browser was the key, why didn't BlackBerry take the market? My Curve had a full featured browser and the ability to cut, paste, and send/receive MMS messages; it also came out nearly two full months before the iPhone and had a store full of apps already on the market at the time of its release.
              • >My Curve had a full featured browser

                But most users had employer provided BlackBerries and you couldn't run shit on an employer provided BlackBerry other than the mail client. The iPhone was perfectly timed to get everyone in every corporation from middle managers upwards to say "screw it, I'm buying my own iPhone", simply out of frustration at not being able to run useful applications like maps and browsers, not because they didn't exist, but because the phone was locked down.

                • You could just as well buy your own BlackBerry, and you could do so before the iPhone came out. Carriers ran their own hosted BES with everything enabled by default; at least, AT&T did.

                  I don't think it was the browser; it was almost certainly something else, you're just not looking closely enough. You even just alluded to it yourself.
            • but apps were not the necessary component to the iPhone disrupting the industry, having a full featured web browser was sufficient.

              Not really. A native app is way more responsive and featureful compared to a webapp. Many key features like tilt, shake gestures, and camera integration don't work in a webapp without a callback to the "real" app underneath. WebGL is crap compared to real OpenGL, and it was much worse back in 2007.

              Slick native apps were a big part of why the iPhone was successful. They were NOT part of the original plan, but at least Steve had the sense to pivot rapidly once he saw the potential.

              • by Altus ( 1034 )

                Don't get me wrong, I agree that apps are key these days and provide a much better option than web pages on these phones, but back then feature phones were absolute garbage by comparison, technically you could connect to the internet but the reality was you couldn't get most of the data you wanted. With an iphone, you could. The internet is a hell of a killer app.

            • There were PDA-phones that had full-featured web browsers before the iPhone. I remember when it first came out, it was nowhere near as useful as the Palm Treo 650 I had at the time. It had a full-featured browser, and it could also copy and paste and download files, which the iPhone couldn't when it was first released.

          • True, but iOS 2.0 also ran on the first gen iPhone. So was it an actual change in strategy, or was it just buying time until the app store was ready. We may never know.
        • The original iPhone didn't have support for third party apps, and whether or not Apple would have liked to have them in the initial release or not was irrelevant as they couldn't do it, so Jobs had to sell everyone on why apps were bad and web apps were so great, just like he told people that people didn't want videos on their iDevices before releasing a video iPod the next year. Jobs did that with a lot of features over the years.
      • by Altus ( 1034 )

        It didn't come with a market but the phone app was a small part of the overall appeal. Maps and music were there as was the most important thing at the time, a fully functioning web browser. As someone who used mobile web on those old feature phones the difference was night and day, there didnt have to be an app if you could get to the data you needed in the browser... sure, it was rough, mobile websites were crappy and desktop sites didnt work ideally on a small screen, but it was worlds better than anyt

      • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:05PM (#54649853)

        The initial iPhone did not come with a market (the 'iTunes App Store') and AFAIK we don't know for sure if it had been planned from the beginning

        I had an app in the initial App Store. To me it was obvious this was always planned, because the app store opened almost one year to the day after the iPhone launched, and the thing to remember is that meant you had to be able to let developers build app for that store beforehand... if I remember right it was about 5-6 months before the app store opened that we got the first official SDK from Apple.

        So that means if Apple did not plan to have an App Store to begin with, in just around six months they had to prepare all of the documentation and toking for external use, and in around a year had to build the infrastructure and UI for an entire app store...

        Come on. Do you honestly think any of that could be done in such a short timeframe? No. The truth is they couldn't launch with an App Store because it was not quite ready, but it had always been planned to have one far in advance or none the significant app signing infrastructure to make that all possible would have been in place at launch.

        • I don't know how likely it is, but it IS actually plausible for Apple to have done such a thing. They had an API for writing their own apps, they probably took code liberally from iTunes in order to set up the store, and initial volume would've been really low. Legend has it that Jobs really was actually counting on webapps for everything.

          I've also heard that they took the iPod from zero to a product in considerably less than a year. Apple of that era would sometimes just turn on a dime and DO stuff.

          To be c

        • Come on. Do you honestly think any of that could be done in such a short timeframe? No. The truth is they couldn't launch with an App Store because it was not quite ready, but it had always been planned to have one far in advance or none the significant app signing infrastructure to make that all possible would have been in place at launch.

          There is also the possibility that they hadn't worked out all the details with AT&T yet. Remember, at this time, phone apps were pretty expensive and only available from the carriers who had a hold on them. Apple shows up and needs to get that bit away from the carriers, so they simply announces, websites are the apps, which while not perfect, would have been a workable solution, more workable than letting AT&T keep controlling apps. Faced with that, Apple might have been using it to leverage variou

          • At the time there have been perfectly usable smartphones where you could install any appication compiled for the platform, independent of the telco provider and you also could write your own. I did not get the whole iphone hype back then, and I still don't.

            • At the time there have been perfectly usable smartphones where you could install any appication compiled for the platform, independent of the telco provider and you also could write your own. I did not get the whole iphone hype back then, and I still don't.

              A bit of history glossing, methinks. Yes, it was *possible* to run third party apps, but the experience couldn't have been more dissimilar.
              It was possible to download CAB files (and the Palm equivalent) from whatever download.com or tucows or softpedia clone you wanted, but there was no guarantee it would really work with your phone. Alternatively, you could walk into Staples and buy an app on an SD card, which cost between $10 and $30, and likely needed to occupy your one SD card slot, on a phone that *mig

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @03:00PM (#54649345)

      Big Success in the tech market is usually 75% luck. 20% Hard work, and 5% skill.

      Palm had a good product at the time, people seem to accept the risks it took using graffiti interface vs. full handwriting recognition (Like apple did on the Newton). It had the features and was priced and had a brand name that was recognizable. Nearly any of these things could had backfired, and Palm wouldn't never had gotten where it got.

        However these guys though the numbers were reversed, and they got Palm where it was because they thought they had all these skills. However when they had to go to other work, they really failed, because they were trying to get lucky again. While they were in a more standard market where if you are not lucky you better have more hard work and skill not to win big, but to keep things going.

      • Palm had a good product at the time, people seem to accept the risks it took using graffiti interface vs. full handwriting recognition (Like apple did on the Newton). It had the features and was priced and had a brand name that was recognizable. Nearly any of these things could had backfired, and Palm wouldn't never had gotten where it got.

        I had a Palm PDA since they were US Robotics to the Palm V. After that, I never saw anything that made me want to trade up. Even after getting a cell phone, I kept looking and kept deciding to keep carrying my Palm V and a cell phone rather than get a newer Palm device (until the iPhone anyway).

    • Right, this is exactly why the founding people at Palm all bailed to form Handspring when 3Com started ruining it. And then bailed once again when Palm acquired them. Palm was driven into the ground hardcore.
  • by sinij ( 911942 )
    Amazon business model is a mail order catalog but on Internet. Therefore, we don't need to speculate how it would work - we can know for sure by looking at historical precedents. Smartphones and iPhone were different case, it isn't "phone on the Internet" but entirely new platform that created its own demand. Genius of Jobs was to recognize that people wanted access to cat pictures 24/7. No sane and rational individual would have guessed this is the case. The only way Amazon can be this Jobs-disruptive is i
    • by CWCheese ( 729272 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @03:05PM (#54649373)
      First sentence is very insightful. Amazon has essentially refreshed the Sears Catalog business to a level that Sears itself eschewed when it's clueless managers shutdown catalog operations just at the dawn of the web commerce age. Had their management been a little foreseeing, they might have leveraged the web to combine with their, at that time, peerless consumer distribution network around the country. Instead they blundered along while Jeff Bezos went from being a cheapest books seller to seller of everything imaginable. By the way, Sears Holdings is closing several hundred stores a quarter and likely will not be a corporation by end of 2018, if not sooner.
      • Really, the Sears here is constantly packed. It's huge like an clothing store, furniture store, appliance store, home improvement, hardware store, that does tires and oil changes. They will even deliver your new central air, furnace, stove, washer, dryer, and install it for you.

    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      i think that the buying by Amazon, perhaps irrationally, brings to question the usual business model of whole foods. its not like a typical changing of ownership of a product but the promise of change that HAS? to come because it is now Amazon. The question (speculation) is can Amazon succeed in making whole foods something that is previously been an impulse based brick and mortar experience.

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      Amazon business model is a mail order catalog but on Internet.

      Maybe for the first 5 years. Today, Amazon's business model is "excel at logistics", and charge a subscription to provide access to that network, for both buyer and seller. They don't need to sell you stuff any more - they're happy if you pay for Prime and only buy from 3rd parties.

      Whole Foods is the customer in this story: customer of that logistics network. I'm hoping that we'll also see Whole Foods delivery added to or replacing Amazon Fresh, but that's not really the point IMO. Cutting Whole Foods'

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      If anything, what Amazon might do in the grocery space is really "blast from the past" stuff. It's nothing remotely new and everyone else is already doing some form of it better already.

      The whole phone thing is a really inappropriate analogy.

      It's just the usual hype and nonsense with the news media trying to create the reality rather than just reporting on it.

  • He's right! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slashdice ( 3722985 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @02:49PM (#54649287)

    I didn't see the future when Amazon blew all that money on Living Social. I didn't see the future when Amazon blew all that money on the Fire Phone. I didn't see the future when Amazon blew all that money on Drugstore.com.

    I know some people like to suck Jeff Bezo's dick but there is plenty of failure too.

    • Not to mention they just did the acquisition, there's no guarantee they'll fucking be successful at running a brand that caters to upper middle class yuppie/hipster types.. who maybe, just maybe will revolt against the new corporate overlords, since well.. whole foods has a bit more of a halo around it than amazon.

    • Re:He's right! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vakuona ( 788200 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @02:54PM (#54649321)

      The problem with all of those examples is that they were "me too". Perhaps with the exception of Drugstore.com. Even then, that wasn't really taking advantage of what Amazon really is.

      If you read the article, Amazon is about scale. Whole Foods gives Amazon scale that is doesn't have in the grocery business and allows it to build out a delivery infrastructure (surely its end game) to support that scale and beyond.

      Amazon presents itself as the world's shopping site, but Amazon is really a logistics company. And logistics companies need scale.

      • Most things on the iPhone had already been tried or were being used. Phone + PDA (general purpose computing device), iconographic display, touchscreen controls, touchscreen-only interface (no physical keyboard) were already in use before the iPhone.

        The standout feature on the iPhone IMHO was the App Store. We computer geeks either don't mind or love fiddling with software to get it installed [distrowatch.com]. Regular people (i.e. 98% of the market) hates it. On my Palm Pilot, I had to download a program file to my PC,
    • Re:He's right! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @03:08PM (#54649399)

      Most of these people take risks. The nature of risks is they can fail. the iPhone could had failed. Enough people may not have liked the onscreen keyboard. Initially not using G3 for data may had been too slow for their usage. The original iPhone, didn't have 3rd party apps, or the response lag on the touch interface was a bit too laggy for them. A number of design tradeoffs could had just as easily caused the iPhone to fail like the Newton.

      The thing is we can't predict the future, or judge the reaction of something new before hand.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @02:50PM (#54649293)

    ...can't even see the tip of their own nose.

    The only meaningful prediction you can make about the future is that it will be strange and unexpected.
     

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And to quote Steve Jobs, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards."
      You just need to do your best and hope that it turns out well in the future.

  • " opponents' '"

  • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @02:52PM (#54649309) Homepage

    It's not really fair to compare anything to a Steve Jobs product. He had the ability to create products with fewer compromises. He started from the idea, "this is what a customer would like to buy," rather than, "this is what our company makes." Even Apple can't make a Steve Jobs product anymore.

    In that sense, Bezos did a similar thing when he sent his team back to the drawing board to make one-click purchasing actually work, and Amazon does really well in reducing barriers to purchasing because that's what gets customers to buy. The question is, can Amazon be the place where a sizeable chunk of people buy groceries? Sure, if it's more convenient for a large enough number of people, like scan a UPC off the back of a cereal box, and it shows up at the end of the day today at my house, ready for breakfast tomorrow. People say that's impossible. A Steve Jobs *knows* if it's possible, and if it is then won't stop pushing until his company makes it happen.

    • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @03:46PM (#54649727)

      It's not a fair comparison and it's not even a real comparison. Especially this quote from the article:

      Appleâ(TM)s goal was not to build a phone but to build an even more personal computer; their strategy was not to add on functionality to a phone but to reduce the phone to an app

      Apple's goal was not to build a phone or a more personal computer. Apple's goal was literally to protect their ipod business from being inevitably cannibalized by Palm, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and whoever else came along.

      That's not a theory, that's literally what the team leaders from the iphone project say. 'we were like oh shit, nobody will buy an ipod if their phone is just as good'.

      People also forget that the iphone launched without any third party apps. In fact Steve Jobs didn't want there to be apps on the iphone. So Palm was already ahead of them with third party app support.

      Palm was ultimately doomed but that's because they weren't innovating fast enough. Not because they fundamentally saw the business wrong. They had a touchscreen dialer just like the iphone. Their touchscreen dialer was just worse. They had a mobile browser just like the iphone, their mobile browser was just worse. Etc...

      • Apple's goal was literally to protect their ipod business from being inevitably cannibalized by Palm, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and whoever else came along. That's not a theory, that's literally what the team leaders from the iphone project say. 'we were like oh shit, nobody will buy an ipod if their phone is just as good'.

        Someone may have said that, but it doesn't seem to be the whole story. Jobs killed the Newton shortly after returning to Apple, saying that PDAs didn't make sense to him. He thought that functionality should be in a phone, and not a separate device. Apparently Apple had been working on a lot of the functionality for the iPhone in different projects. They created the iPod. They were working on the iPad. I remember reading an article at shortly after the iPhone's announcement, that people within Apple k

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:06PM (#54649857) Homepage

      I also think it's not fair to single out Palm in the example of the iPhone. I was working in the mobile industry at the time, and the iPhone caught everyone off guard. One day, the Motorola Q and Razr phones were hot shit. Blackberry owned the business smartphone market, but Palm was still in the game. The next day, everyone wanted an iPhone.

      One of the big miscalculations was that people hadn't realized how long Apple had been working on the iPhone. They were thinking, "Apple thinks they can just start working on a phone now, and have a working product in the next year?!" Few people had been paying enough attention to realize that the iPhone had been in development for about 10 years.

      There was another big miscalculation, but I don't know exactly how to characterize it. Basically, the incumbent vendors thought they were doing a great job. They'd make a new version of the same old device, but it was slightly thinner. They put out the same phone with a slightly higher resolution screen, or a screen that could display more colors. Palm made the glyphs that you had to learn to write with their stylus just a little easier to write. They were tinkering around the edges because it was easy and cheap, and didn't require anyone to be particularly innovative. They thought they were the smartest people around, and because these products were the best they could do, they were the best anyone could do. It's just a thing that happens in entrenched markets, when people get comfortable.

    • He started from the idea, "this is what a customer would like to buy," rather than, "this is what our company makes." Even Apple can't make a Steve Jobs product anymore.

      This is incredibly insightful. It's not that people didn't see the future, it's that very few people understand what the future is. It wasn't Blackberry who predicted the failure of the iPhone, it was the entire world. WTF was a computer company that has a single success of an MP3 player doing getting into the phone market! And where where the buttons. That won't ever take off, LOL!

      It's worth remembering all the failures that come with successes and it is definitely correct to not jump and freak out at ever

  • I consulted briefly for Palm, doing an Open Source training that literally nobody who was invited was interested in hearing. I think they mostly invited the wrong folks. People were really angry that I did things like use examples, rather than just stating the point so that they could get out of there. I usually get good feedback on trainings.

    One of their largest problems was that they were unwilling to abandon the 250,000 applications that they stated were built for their original Motorola 68000 architecture. So, when they came out with an ARM-based Palm, that ARM ran a 68000 emulator, and their entire operating system ran in the emulator along with all apps. So, it was obvious this company wasn't agile enough to keep up with new technology.

    Of course, I suggested that they base on Linux and build their APIs on top of it. But then, I suggested this to Symbian, too, and they listened just as well - which was not at all. All of those folks thought they had some sort of magic in their kernel and invested unspeakable amounts of money in it. In Palm's case, they had a shared memory architecture that they felt would be difficult to implement on Linux.

    Eventually, one of their business successors took on Linux, but way to late to salvage the business.

    • by sinij ( 911942 )
      There is nothing unique to Linux that makes it particularly suitable to mobile space. Sure, what you suggested was better than what Palm end up running at the end of its life, but this is coincidence. For example, iOS was still inferior to what BlackBerry (QNX) run by the time BB died. So it isn't only about kernel.
      • That's the point. It's not about the kernel. User's don't see kernels at all, don't care about them. Blackberry certainly learned that lesson. All they spent on QNX and the customers yawned.

        The point of having them build on Linux was that rather than investing in kernel development, they could move all of that money to things that mattered to the user experience.

        I think around the time I got to HP they had just done a Billion dollar investment in new development of HP/UX. IBM in contrast de-emphasized AIX in favor of Linux, understanding the economics better than HP did. Not that this was HP's only problem.

        • Blackberry certainly learned that lesson. All they spent on QNX and the customers yawned.

          It was a great system, too bad it failed in the marketplace. It was better than iPhone when iPhone was released, and the certificate system was better than Apple's when Blackberry-QNX was released.

          Anyway, as you said, better kernel technology (or even better systems for developers) doesn't win the game.

          • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

            They killed themselves. First they ignored the consumer market, then they had things too expensive. when they finally pulled their heads out of their butts it was too late. Along with them giving governments keys to dig into the security and read texts and email, that was the nail in the coffin for them.

  • Jeff Bezos got up in the morning, was feeling lousy and wanted to make his mom's best comfort food, chicken soup. So he mumbled "Alexa! buy Whole Foods Chicken Stock". That damned machine bought Whole Foods instead. Not willing to concede Alexa is horribly broken he is trying to act as if he always meant to buy the company.
  • So Amazon went and bought yet another company. AFAIK they're still not profitable and AFAICT organic foodies like buying local and from people they know and can meet in person. Also the newest bottleneck Amazon an Co aparently are facing ist existing delivery infrastructure.

    So unless this delivery robot/drone thingie takes off, food delivery might just hit a wall soon.

    • So unless this delivery robot/drone thingie takes off, food delivery might just hit a wall soon.

      If only there was some way to get a whole bunch of delivery hubs located where people are wealthy enough to pay extra for delivery. Like, say, purchasing a supermarket chain that caters to wealthy shoppers.

  • He knows Amazon is flush with cash. Full of investor infused cash being used to undercut the competition. So he took the best way out. Sold the company out to Amazon to get his share of the investor cash. Now he will leave Whole Foods soon and start a Complete Foods or Whole Fools company. He got the seed money from Amazon.

    Amazon, Uber etc are very innovative in creative lawyering. Like Uber's drivers are not its employess and how Uber is not a taxi company. Amazon will call Whole Foods not a grocery stor

  • I got back from a trip to Asia and bought an unlocked Nokia N-80 I had seen advertised there, which at the time was pretty cutting edge. Within something like 2 months of purchasing of the Nokia, the iPhone came out and Nokia got left in the dust - permanently. They never really recovered. Nokia made a lot of half-hearted attempts to compete with Apple but the whole "touch screen thing" seemed to be something they never really grasped and Nokia would, at best, hold onto the "garbage phone" market for a w
  • by NEDHead ( 1651195 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @03:28PM (#54649573)

    For those of us old enough to remember, Ken Olsen laughed at IBM, and the PC makers laughed at him (and don't forget Wang).

  • A number of organizations want to deliver groceries. But delivery isn't free. Especially for produce and frozen products! My understanding is that groceries is typically a real low-margin proposition anyway, and that's leaving the last mile to the customer. Except for Whole Foods. It's high price, which I expect means high margin -- a good place to hide delivery costs. AND everyone who shops there has demonstrated the willingness to pay high prices for groceries if you can find the reason that trips t

  • This article may be useful for what it tells *us* about how to interpret statements by CEO's, but it makes the mistake of treating a CEO's statement as some objective analytical statement that's meant to stand the test of time like something out of a university. CEO's are never trying to speak "truth". They are always pushing their company's agenda. So when TFA says, "The similarities go deeper, though: both Colligan and Mackey made the same analytical mistakes", the article's author is misunderstanding

    • Exactly. Of course a CEO is going to say that their company is still viable in the market. Who would ever hire a CEO who would say "dangit, you're right, we're done for, good thing I sold all my stock this morning!"?
  • And while Colligan's prediction was far worse -- Apple simply left Palm in the dust, unable to compete

    We must have different definitions of worse, at least for the CEO. Getting bought out by a megacorp sounds like a way better ending than getting left in the dust and ultimately forgotten.

  • If a new idea is obvious, someone else will have tried and failed.

    Real innovation almost always is surprisingly simplistic after it is done, but totally unthinkable before it is done.

    Which is why the old guard thought the new guard would fail, they had no concept of the new guard's new idea.

  • "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." --Western Union internal memo, 1876
  • So, Palm dismisses Apple. Apple iPhone drives Palm out of business.

    Whole Foods dismisses Amazon. Amazon buys Whole Foods.

    Sounds like Whole Foods turned out to be a necessary solution, unlike Palm. I don't think there is a good analogy between Palm and Whole Foods.
  • Don't take public statements by CEOs too literally. Anything they say in public is directed at investors. What kind of CEO is going to say in public, "I don't think we can compete, Apple/Amazon/whoever is going to come in and crush us?" Even if they're really worried, they have to sound confident to keep up the stock price. And then (if they're good), they make plans for how they'll either try to compete or, if that doesn't work, sell out to the giant company instead.

  • They've only just announced the purchase. We have yet to see what they do with it. It isn't yet time for back patting nor "I told you so's".

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