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To be fair, one of the greatest "see the future" CEOs has said similar things. Just off the top of my head, I know that Steve Jobs said that no one would want a larger screen than the original iPhone had, and he said that 7" tablets didn't make any sense. Now Apple has a larger iPhone screen and 7" tablet.

That's not to say that Steve Jobs was wrong about the future, but he had to sell devices in the present which meant pretending that they were perfect even though they weren't. Ballmer may have been doing the same. It's likely that his failures occurred much earlier in the process, and then he had to try to sell doomed products which is where those silly statements come from.

Also don't forget Apple has had it's share of failures under Jobs (MobileMe, arguably AppleTV, their desktop peripherals always sucked, plenty of failed products, etc.).

How on earth is Apple TV a failure? It's a product they don't really seem to care about and they have the majority marketshare[1] (in 2012) and have been selling millions of the things each year.

They have had failures though, of course. Ping was another, for example.

[1] http://9to5mac.com/2013/07/16/report-at-56-apple-tv-takes-ma...

Apple TV should be replacing cable set top boxes, the same way iTunes replaced music stores. It has yet to do that (Netflix has gotten closer than Apple has though).

It seems like they're moving towards it. They've been signing deals with cable companies and hiring people related to TV. It's certainly not an easy process, especially as people in TV are wary of Apple.

Well, judging by the number of iMessages that arrive in a correct order on my iPhone/Mac and their inability to make iTunes Match stable, it's hard to believe that iCloud will be a success in the end.

Under Jobs Apple made stellar hardware and good-enough software.

Ehh, I think Apple's software is pretty good - note that this is speaking as someone who writes iOS apps for a living.

Where they fail is web services. Apple cannot engineer a decent web service to save their sorry lives. The Cocoa API is pretty well thought out, generally well-documented, and pretty well-engineered.

Then you get into things where you have to talk to Apple via a network. StoreKit? [shudder]. iCloud? [terrified scream]. iMessage? Oh lord.

The Cocoa API is pretty well thought out, generally well-documented, and pretty well-engineered.

I agree, their APIs are generally very nice. But the last few releases of OS X haven't been great. Multi-monitor support will finally be fixed in 10.9, after having been broken in 10.7 and 10.8. Also, recent releases have become very slow. A 2009 Mac Mini running 10.8 is unbearably slow, while the same machine is on 10.6 is almost as fast as a recent machine machine with a SSD on 10.8.

Apple didn't invent Cocoa, it was bought in with NextStep to replace Apple's failing Copland development.

And along with NextStep, Apple got its new iCEO, its new head of hardware, and its new head of software ;-)

Right. Everybody knows this. But does it really matter? Both were the brainchild of Steve Jobs (Apple and NextStep) and arguably post-1996 Apple is NextStep.

Everybody doesn't know it. Agree about the reverse-takeover....

I'm still pissed off about my Newton...

That wasn't under Jobs. He put it out of its misery.

Ever watch Steve Jobs promote Mac OS 8 or 9? Rumour is, he didn't use either (he used NextStep until Mac OS X). He also spoke negatively about video being on iPods while it was being developed.

Ultimately, you have to remember that he had an agenda, and if he wasn't selling it that day, then he would probably say something negative about the idea or implementation (of a competitor's product).

Here's a page that has more examples: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/02/steve-jobs/

Of course, I don't like this kind of thing or other results of the legacy PR/sales mindset.

Exactly. Jobs said nobody wants X,Y,Z but then when it turned out they did, Apple was right there with an X,Y,Z product perfectly timed to capture the market.

When Ballmer said nobody wants a phone with a keyboard, or that Zune would kill iPod he acted on that until reality was exhausted from beating him mercilessly over the head with proof he was wrong.

Yes, probably. But then again, Ballmer failed quite often. Also I wouldn't really think of any CEO bashing another companies product just for the sake of rivalry and then fail. Its a huge risk to take.

Also having to sell silly products again is the CEOs problem for having to decided to sell those. Its just that the past 10-13 years have been cluttered with bad products and I would assume the ceo had a major role to play in it.

Apple doesn't have a 7" tablet...the iPad Mini is a 7.9" tablet. Quite a difference screen area-wise.

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