THE EXPERTS SPEAK: Here's What People Predicted Would Happen When The iPhone Came Out...

Steve Ballmer

Photo: By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It has been five years to the day since the iPhone first went on sale.While it might seem like a product that was destined for greatness from the beginning, not everyone thought so.

Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone on January 9, 2007 and the phone went on sale a little more than five months later.

In the time between, analysts, writers and industry leaders made plenty of predictions.

Some proved prescient.

Others, well, you’ll see…

In an opinion piece in Bloomberg, Matthew Lynn predicted that the iPhone's impact on the wireless industry would be minimal, arguing that the smartphone would really only appeal to 'a few gadget freaks.'

'The big competitors in the mobile-phone industry such as Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. won't be whispering nervously into their clam shells over a new threat to their business,' he wrote.

Fast fo ward to the first quarter of this year, when Apple's share of the worldwide mobile phone market nearly doubled from the year before, while Nokia's share continued to decline.

PC MAGAZINE: The iPhone is deeply flawed. Apple will sell lots at first and then sales will plummet.

Jim Louderback, the current CEO of Revision3, wrote a piece in PC Magazine predicting that iPhone sales would start strong thanks to 'pent-up demand' but then fade in the U.S. 'once the initial fever wears off.'

Louderback argued that the phone had too many flaws, including a slow Internet connection and the lack of buttons.

Just the opposite proved to be the case, as iPhone sales started off gradually and then skyrocketed.

GENE MUNSTER: The iPhone will be a blockbuster. Sales will steadily increase and top 45 million annually in 2009.

On the flip side, noted Apple analyst Gene Munster predicted that Apple's iPhone sales would steadily increase and top 45 million by 2009.

That proved to be a little too optimistic.

In reality, it took until 2010 for the company to sell more than 45 million iPhones.

Soon enough, the company might end up shipping that many in a single quarter.

A few months before the iPhone was released, John Dvorak wrote a piece in Marketwatch slamming Apple's chances in the mobile phone industry and predicted that the company would need to churn out new phone models quickly in order to compete.

Dvorak said Apple would need 'half a dozen variants in the pipeline' to keep the phone popular. Otherwise, he said it would be 'passe within 3 months.'

Apple has released fewer than six iPhone models to date (not counting different the white phones separately). Clearly, they seem to be doing just fine.

WEDBUSH MORGAN: The iPhone won't affect the handheld gaming industry.

Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities, predicted that the iPhone wouldn't ever really compete with hand-held gaming devices like the Nintendo DS.

Two years later, Nintendo came out and blamed the iPhone for declining sales of the DS.

To be fair, when the iPhone launched, it didn't have an App Store so it makes sense that people wouldn't have seen the full potential of the product for gaming.

iSUPPLI: Apple will cut the price of the iPhone.

A report from iSuppli put out shortly after the iPhone was unveiled estimated that Apple had enough of a profit margin that it would likely cut prices down the road.

In fact, Apple didn't wait very long at all to cut prices.

Three months after the iPhone came out, the company killed off the 4 GB model and slashed the price of the 8 GB model by $200.

CAPITAL GROUP: The Motorola RAZR is a great phone at a great price (free). There's no way the overpriced iPhone can compete with it.

Before the iPhone came out five years ago, the Motorola RAZR was the hot phone to have, and some predicted that Apple would have a pretty tough time competing against it.

Ashok Kumar with Capital Group argued that the iPhone's price tag would be a 'serious impediment' to competing against what was essentially a no-cost phone like the RAZR.

So just ask yourself which phone do you see more often these days?

BUSINESSWEEK: The iPhone will never be a threat to the BlackBerry.

Stephen Wildstrom argued in BusinessWeek that the iPhone would not be a BlackBerry killer as some had predicted because the two devices were intended for two different markets.

'People get BlackBerrys to get mail, specifically corporate e-mail,' he wrote 'People are going to buy iPhones to get entertainment, with mail as a bonus. The products live in almost totally disjoint worlds.'

In recent years though, the iPhone has come to dominate the workplace and BlackBerry sales have plummeted. Now RIM, the company behind the Blackberry, is in desperate times.

RIM CEO JIM BALSILLIE: The iPhone's impact on our business will be minimal.

Wildstrom wasn't the only one to think BlackBerry would be left mostly unscathed by the introduction of the iPhone.

In February, 2007, then co-CEO of RIM Jim Balsillie predicted the impact of the phone on his business would be minimal.

'It's kind of one more entrant into an already very busy space with lots of choice for consumers,' he said at the time. 'But in terms of a sort of sea-change for BlackBerry, I would think that's overstating it.'

MICROSOFT CEO STEVE BALLMER: There's 'no chance' the iPhone will get a significant share of the market. 'No chance.'

Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, was similarly in denial about the potential for the iPhone.

When asked about the iPhone back in 2007, Ballmer said, 'There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.'

MICROSOFT'S SENIOR MARKETING DIRECTOR: Mark my words, Apple will not sell 10 million iPhones in 2008.

So much for the experts. Did you know that Apple first started thinking about the iPhone five years before it launched?

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