Its easy to poke fun at Apple's naysayers in retrospect, but perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to judge.
In January of 2007, not long after Steve Jobs unveiled Apple's first iPhone at that year's Macworld conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sat down for an interview with CNBC in which he was asked about his initial reaction to his competitor's new device.
He guffawed. Really, whole-heartedly guffawed.
"$500 full-subsidized with a plan!" he said, guffawing. "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."
We all know how this story turned out. Five years ago today, the iPhone went on sale, and proceeded to transform our relationship with personal technology. Ballmer's unfortunate laugh, meanwhile, would become a symbol for all the short-sighted criticisms of Apple's game-changing gadget.
Yet, while its easy to poke fun at Apple's naysayers in retrospect, perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to judge. Sure, there were plenty of fans who correctly predicted the iPhone's success. And yes, Matthew Lynn's confident declaration in Bloomberg that the "iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks" was a magnificently wrong piece of business punditry. So was John Dvorak's predication that there was "no likelihood" Apple could succeed in the phone business. But writing off as myopic all those companies that didn't invent the iPhone, as well as all the writers who didn't buy into it, undersells just how audacious Apple's move into mobile really was.