Clayton Christensen says Apple iPhone will fail!

It is 10 years since the Innovator’s Dilemma was published. Businessweek interviewed Clayton Christensen to commemorate the event.  Christensen predicts during the interview that Apple iPhone will fail.

Christensen bases his argument on the fact that iPhone doesn’t disrupt anything.   I don’t understand why a new product should disrupt anything to be successful.  Previously Christensen argued that the iPod will fail because of its proprietary architecture and we had argued against that.

What do you all think will the iPhone succeed?


  1. Anonymous said June 18, 2007, 9:40 am:

    Well Sukumar. You just stirred the still waters.
    My take – Having a disruptive idea is one thing, market success is another. While there is a strong correlation, we cannot speak for success until at least 3 months in market.
    a) iPhone is a convergence device. It is first time phone, internet and ipod are brought into one device where all the three are placed at the same level.
    b) Unlike Symbian OS and Windows Mobile, here the OS is a first class entity a stripped down Unix. It will be interesting to see the kind of software Apple allows to be marketed around iPhone. That will ensure long term success, whereas the interest in Apple’s fans will ensure that there is a demand for the initial few months.
    One factor that may work against iPhone is “usability”. Yes. The transition between traditional keypad to touch sensitive keyboard may not be that easy. It could be a single risk factor. But like iPod revolutionized the UI of mobile music, iPhone may trigger more rich touch sensitive UI devices that may forever change the way we interact with gadgets.
    Let us wait and see.

  2. Anonymous said June 19, 2007, 10:06 am:

    Good points Vamsi. Yes, it will be interesting to see how the multi-touch interface is going to work.

  3. Anonymous said June 29, 2007, 4:12 am:

    I wonder why doing away with the traditional keypad / stylus / joystick type of input devices doesn’t count for disruptiveness. The pinch / tap kind of features will surely create a new device, and one thinks that these features will be refined and eventually be used on handheld devices in time to come.

    Having said that, the current release is only with AT&T, and that may slow down the offtake of the product. However, this isn’t a product that rests on Apple’s brand equity, rather it strives to give a new experience to the user, and as long as there are no major flaws, it should be a big hit in the high end phone / PDA segment.

    The hype is already there, it’s time for the bite (of the apple)!

  4. Anonymous said June 29, 2007, 11:34 pm:

    Good point Rohan. I think Christensen doesn’t count these innovations as disruptive. My point though is, why should anything be disruptive? Google is simply the better search engine and ipod simply a better mp3player. By christen’s definition neither of these were disruptive per se but are game changers. – Sukumar