“We could have been better than the iPhone”: Symbian creator reveals how he underestimated Steve Jobs and the price he had to pay

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There is no doubt that the iPhone has revolutionized the telephone industry. But there are also other actors who participated in one way or another in the great change of the smartphones of 2007 and 2008. Proof of this are the comments of David Wood, co-founder of Symbian Software and considered one of the fathers of the so-called PDA.

Some of you will remember those PDAs: mobile devices with a very reduced version of Windows or the Symbian system – among others such as the BlackBerry system – that could connect to the Internet but with an experience that today’s young people can consider pre-historic. All this could have changed if from that PDA industry They would have known how to react better to the iPhone.

“Steve Jobs did some things tremendously well”

Wood recently visited the Digital Enterprise Show in Malaga, where he gave an interview to Confidencial. In it, Wood gives his opinion on what should have been done from Symbian and was not done after Steve Jobs surprised everyone with the iPhone.

The executive believes that Symbian did not have “enough flexibility” to adapt to the change that iOS brought about, and that otherwise “they could have been better than the iPhone”:

“Steve Jobs did some things tremendously well, like putting a lot more power hardware on these devices. And the network operators told him (and told us): “Make your devices small and make them cheap.” But he said no, that he was going to make the device big and expensive out of it. We wondered who was going to pay for an expensive device, but he saw clearly that it was going to be a disruptive business. We will have the cost of the device spread over two years. And that was part of what made it successful.”


What caught Apple’s rivals off guard, Wood then believes, is that their strategy of selling an expensive device for the time was not going to work. In Cupertino they did not rely solely on being convinced that it would be purchased regardless of the price: it was a financial strategy to amortize that cost adequately over time. AND Not only did it work, but Apple built a huge market around it.

The possibility that Symbian or other players like BlackBerry is a What If very interesting which could have given us a market with more competition than Apple has right now with Android. Because, let’s be honest: beyond Samsung in North America and OPPO and Huawei in China, the iPhone has no rival. It leads in the high range with 7 out of 10 products among the best-selling models. But history is what it is, and the iPhone was the mobile device that laid the foundations on which we stand today.

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