“What I can’t figure out is why Steve Jobs is even trying to be the CEO of Apple? He knows he can’t win.” –Bill Gates, June 1998*
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in mid-90s, the tech industry dumped on his attempts to bring the company back from the dead – even his frenemy Bill Gates. And with good reason. At the time, Microsoft’s stock was valued at $29 with “a market capitalization of $250 billion,” while Apple’s barely peaked at $7.25.
Gates obviously ignored one of the 10 tech commandments: Thou shalt never underestimate Steve Jobs. Years later, Apple’s become the most profitable company in the world with a market value of $921 billion in 2018.
Now Apple ranks #4 on the Fortune 500 with a stock price of $190.18 and Microsoft, well they are ranked #30 on Fortune with a stock price of $105.23.
*Never-published article for Vanity Fair
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–KEN OLSEN, PRESIDENT OF DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION IN 1977
Ken Olsen was the co-founder and CEO of Digital (also known as Digital Equipment Corporation, or DEC), a company launched out of an old wool mill in Massachusetts in 1957, which at its peak the late 1980s was the number two computer company in the United States with sales revenues of $14 billion.
Digital faltered in the 1990s, however; in 1992 Olsen was replaced as CEO, and in 1998 the company was sold to Compaq (which in turn was bought up by Hewlett-Packard in 2002). Part of the reason for Digital’s downfall is often blamed on Olsen’s failure to anticipate or understand the burgeoning personal computer market, a failure supposedly exemplified by his having disparaged the PC as something no individual needed to have in his home.
During a talk at a 1977 meeting of the World Future Society in Boston, Olsen reportedly said he saw “no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home,” a statement that was supposedly publicized quite widely when Time magazine repeated it.
“$500 for a fully subsidized cellphone with a plan? 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.”
–STEVE BALLMER (Microsoft CEO) ON THE INTRODUCTION OF THE FIRST IPHONE
“TWO YEARS FROM NOW, SPAM WILL BE SOLVED.”
–BILL GATES AT THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM IN 2004
Ahhh… Bill? Most of our email is spam. It’s 2018.