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Steve Jobs built iPhone due to ‘Microsoft exec rivalry’

Steve Jobs' passion to build the iPhone was allegedly fuelled by a rivalry with Microsoft
Steve Jobs’ passion to build the iPhone was allegedly fuelled by a rivalry with Microsoft

Steve Jobs’ biggest motivation for building the first iPhone was a rivalry with an unnamed Microsoft executive, according to Apple’s former iOS head.

According to Scott Forstall, the executive, who was apparently the husband of a friend of Jobs’s wife Laurene Powell Jobs, continuously bragged about the Redmond-based firm’s plans to develop tablets and styluses.

According to Forstall, this was enough to force Jobs to launch a counter-offensive.

After being told how Microsoft was going to change the world with its tablet PC software and stylus over dinner, Jobs lost patience and, as recounted in Walter Isaacson’s Jobs biography, said: “F*** this, let’s show him what a tablet can really be”.

Recounting the story of the birth of the iPhone at a talk at the Computer History Museum in California, Forstall said, “The iPhone had a very circuitous route. We’d been working on a tablet project. It began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft. Any time Steve had any interaction with the guy, he’d come back p***ed off.”

Despite the iPad having the Apple Pencil today, Jobs famously hated styluses. Forstall recounted Jobs as saying, “You don’t use a stylus … we’re born with 10 styluses”.

During the development of the iPad, Apple identified that smartphones were becoming a threat to its iPod business and so diverted efforts towards what was to become the iPhone.

Forstall recounted Jobs saying, “‘Do you think you could take that demo that we’re doing with the tablet and the multi-touch and shrink it down to something small enough to fit in your pocket?’

“We went back to the design team and they took it and they carved out a corner of it,” said Forstall. “Steve saw it and said ‘put the tablet on hold, let’s build a phone.’ And that’s what we did.”

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