Woz: Android Phones Are Failures Like The Lisa Or Apple III



Apple co-founder and burly all-around cuddle bear Steve Wozniak was in India last week to talk to up-and-coming entrepreneurs a thing or two about becoming a technology legend, and while he was there, he gave a great interview in which he said that competing smartphones were “failures,” just like the Apple III and the Lisa.

Speaking on an Indian television program called Sunday MIDDAY, Woz said:

The Apple III was a failure, the LISA was a failure, and the Macintosh was a failure. It was only by modifying the Macintosh hugely and over time that we made it a good computer.

If the guys at Apple had built the machine that they would love, it would have been successful. It came instead from formulas from Apple executives.

Marketing people were in charge and some very bad decisions got made, in my opinion. There were hardware failures. You put out a product that has failures right away, and even if you fix it a year later, it just doesn’t sell. It’s the same thing with any smartphone today. It comes out and it has something horribly wrong about it. You can fix everything wrong about it, and it still won’t sell. It has missed its window of opportunity.

I think that smartphone comparison is actually pretty astute. Most Android phones seem born out of the necessity of suits to have a flavor of phone for every possible member of any possible demographic. Apple’s best products, on the other hand, have tried to be the best possible experience for everyone.

[via Macworld]

  • Stephen Brain

    Why did you leave the bombshell out of the headline? Woz said that the Macintosh was a failure, too!

  • anotherlab

    How did you get Android from Wozniak’s “…It’s the same thing with any smartphone today….”?  That’s a very different interpretation of his comments.  He was talking about how a hardware failure at the launch of a smartphone will close the window of opportunity to sell that device.  I read that as the launch of a specific model of a phone, not of a product line, brand, or even platform. 

    I understand the natural bias of this site, but to title this post “Woz: Android Phones Are Failures Like The Lisa Or Apple III” makes it sound like he specifically said that.  He didn’t even say “competing”, you added that without any reference to him making that statement.  Do you have reference from that interview where he specifically makes the statement that Android phones are failures?

  • csman

    Exhilarating comments by Mr. Wozniak.

  • gareth edwards

    Hmmm, looks like 9to5mac are doing much better at reporting the same news. I thought the same thing looking at this headline, where did the ‘android’ ref come from?

  • Asszem

    550.000 failures activated daily… and I can’t wait to get my Ice Cream Sandwich Galaxy Nexus failure and sell my outdated iPhone 4

  • k-size

    Where do You see Android in the source text: http://www.macworld.co.uk/mac/news/?n... ?

  • Dave Greene

    John’s interpretation of Woz’s comments are a real stretch. Isn’t Woz also referring to the iPhone?

  • anotherlab

    The article on this site also managed to leave out Wozniak’s appreciation and ownership of Android devices.  The more researched posting on the 9to5 site did include that.  Of course neither CultOfMac or 9To5Mac did any actual reporting, they are commenting on reporting from their cited sources.  The source,gadgets.ndtv.com , that 9to5Mac used was much more thorough than the MacWorld post that CultOfMac excerpted from. 

    There are so many legitimate things that you knock Android on, why make up something?  That’s the part that I don’t understand.

  • joltguy


  • Pete Yagmin

    The original article doesn’t reference Android anywhere. This ‘article’ is a work of fiction.

  • Ed_Kel

    I understand the bias, but your reporting isn’t even close to the spectrum of truth that news reports require.

  • Alexandre Mello

    I’d pay US$50 for your outdated iPhone 4… :-) 

  • Kayneeezy

    There is no way you own an iPhone talking like that.. 

  • Steve Wozniak

    Weird to read – not like any comment I ever made. The most negative thing I’ve said about Android phones is that I like my iPhone more. Scratching my head. LISA and Mac failures were in terms of sales (Mac at the start) and that reasoning doesn’t apply to Android phones. I don’t have time to figure out where things got miscommunicated. It’s odd when you read things far from what you think and say.

  • Steve Wozniak

    You got it exactly right an what I woud say. I would say that Apple’s best shot with the Apple /// after it’s initial failure would have been to rebrand it as the Apple IV after it was largely fixed a year later.

  • SamuelBrock

    It is important to note that Woz did actually buy a Galaxy Nexus.
    I think that Android phones aren’t failures and that android phones as a whole are not failures, but the point must be made that individual phones do not sell nearly as much as the iPhone. There’s a new “awesome” Android phone out every f’ing month—or week for that matter. The fact that Apple can sell an iPhone 4S that mimics tech from 6 months ago and still makes a blockbuster hit really says something about the iPhone.

  • Aaron

    Off topic: I wonder what characters they’d use for an Apple IV. 
    Apple I
    Apple ][
    Apple ///
    Apple IV seems so plain… Apple ////? Apple ][x2?

  • Stephen Brain

    Although it would be very easy for someone to pretend to be Steve Wozniak here, for some reason, I think this note really was written by the legend who designed the Apple ][. And that’s awesome.

  • Gregintosh

    Enjoy your 3-6 months of updates before your phone is left out in the cold. By the time your contract is over your OS will be 2 or 3 generations out of date.

  • The Don

    All I can say is, I hope you’re the real thing.

  • mduncanvm

    Yes, he is the real Steve Wozniak.

  • Phil

    He’s right. But I wouldn’t call Android a failure. I’m an apple boy but they are our biggest competitor. If anything, RIM is a failure lol.

  • cassandralite

    Cult of Mac: Where unicorns live…if Steve ever said so.  Really, this fanboy perversion is making this site increasingly difficult to parse. 

  • Ed_Kel

    Woz, is that really you?

  • Diocleziano Carletti

    Dear John Brownlee
    You are only a fanboy! Woz never said that! He speak about all smartphone! Not only Android phones!

  • jeanlouisnguyen

    Is it April 1st?

  • Goldie20

    too funny by half,

    Brownlee your pants are down, and what we are seeing is pretty small

  • Asszem

    Enjoy your OS that even after a major update looks almost the same it looked in 2007 and whose biggest selling point (Siri) works only on the newest device even if it could perfectly run on iPhone 4, iPad2, iPhone 3GS…

    Also ICS will run on Nexus S, so the Galaxy Nexus will get the next 2 or 3 generations of Android.

  • Asszem

    there are more things in heaven and earth Kayneeezy than are dreamt of in your philosophy

  • Asszem

    so you think that is what an iPhone 4 worth…:)

  • jonk

    because no one in the cult of mac wants to hear that

  • Brandon Dillon

    So you’re saying to have visibly change the UI of the OS for it to be “up-to-date”?

    The only reason Android has changed so dramatically over the years is because they simply got it wrong. The UI wasn’t up to par with competition, and the people that developed it knew they had to change it, but they didn’t get it right, right way. They had to keep changing it.

    Apple got the UI right the first time. I don’t see any demand for a new UI, well, at all. Why keep changing it if consumers are satisfied with it?

    Me > fandroid logic

  • Asszem

    If the UI gets boring then yes, it needs to have some visibly changes. Android was ugly (and I think ICS is still not as pretty as iOS) so they changed it and now it is beautiful and smart. 

    When I got my first iPhone (it was the iPhone 4, before that I had a HTC Desire) my first impression was that wow, it is so beautiful. But after a while I started to realise that I miss a lot of functionality that my not-so-beutiful Android phone had (notification system, widgets, customization, apps integrating to the OS, etc.). 

    Apple got the UI right the first time, true, but it what was right in 2007 is not necessary right in 2011. I think somehow Apple got stuck in the past while Android is going to be the future. 

    But this is only my personal opinion and preference, I hope you don’t think I’m trolling here, I’m just a disappointed iPhone user with developing Android envy :-)

  • Ed_Kel

    Your idiotic rants lack one thing – people who use the iPhone want it to work in the most simplistic way possible. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

    Your desire for a phone that has widgets and allows 3rd party developers to integrate their shitty software into your OS is a valid point, but most people (especially on this site) don’t care to have pointless clocks and weatherbugs interfering with their productivity. You’re fighting a fight that you will never win.

  • Ed_Kel

    I agree with Kayneeezy, I you actually owned an iPhone, especially after suffering through an HTC, you wouldn’t be talking like this.

  • liveTexas

    Whatever happened to just ” enjoy your choice “. I can understand, if not appreciate, a ” cult ” website ranting & raving about just how much superior their decision-making process is against all others, but to reduce yourselves with fat-out Blatant Lies truly lessens your standing as a place to surf for truth & facts. If I Was an advertiser on your site I would seriously rethink my choices. Needless to say, I’ll pay more attention to the sites my aggregator leads me to …

  • on_es

    I owned an IPhone and an HTC and I can’t stand my IPhone “most simplistic way possible”….meaning boring.  Maybe I like being creative then plain. Don’t judge something because you never use it.

  • Asszem

    use google translate and read my blog, i wrote many articles what i like and what i dont like in my iphone. im not going to prove you that i have an iphone (and an ipad), believe it or not, i dont care.

  • Asszem

    have you ever used SBSettings? can you imagine how convenient to reach and actually change system settings with a widget? do you know how much it increases your productivity when you don’t have to open you apps, just take a glance on your phone and you can see your todo-list widget, or your calendar widget or a list of your Gmail labels with the number of unread messages, and all of these on one screen? I guess not.

    It is true, that there are a lot of crappy widgets, but not all of them are. 

    Software integration: do you use Dropbox? Evernote? Google+? Facebook? wouldnt it be great that you were able to have different sharing options in your photo app or browser? 

    Try to be a little bit more open minded. iOS is slowly turning this way (see Twitter integration).

    There are rumors that Apple will disable the settings shortcuts from your browser (you know, the one that let you create icons with IconProject that will take you to specific menus in the Settings app) because they want to integrate it to the Navigation tray (which is already done by SBSettings i think, but I dont know because i will not waste my time anymore with jailbreaking)

  • Ed_Kel

    You’re missing the point my friend. iOS did integrate Twitter but the difference is that Apple did the integrating!

    There is a huge difference between the OS maker integrating apps and the OS maker allowing others to freely integrate their apps.. A third party integration system like Android has failed to create a simplistic and user-friendly ecosystem because it allows third party developers to alter the end-user’s experience. This leads to fragmentation, poor battery life, etc. Same is true for Windows.

    There has been talk from Google closing their OS in a stride to alleviate some of the Android frustrations and Windows is taking the same approach as Apple in trying to close their OS in Win8.

    So the question is, big name OS makers get it, why don’t you?

  • Asszem

    Personally I find it more convenient to have third party apps integrate to my OS, if those apps are not crappy, it will not result in a bad user experience.

    I guess you have never experienced how convenient it is. It is good that now you can see how Twitter integration makes your life easier. 

    Now imagine, you could do (but you don’t have to, because you always have a choice) the same with any app you prefer.

    My predicition is that Apple will eventually loosen up and be more open. Let’s save this article and get back to this question when iOS6 will be introduced, we will see who was right.

  • Ed_Kel

    I have experienced the “convenience”; I had used an Android phone until the mid cycle iPhone 4. And I don’t use Twitter.

    Again, you’re fighting a fight that you won’t win. I ask again, since you think Apple will “loosen up”… Why are Microsoft and Google beginning to close their operating systems? They realize the problems with open OSes, why can’t you?

  • Ed_Kel

    Don’t make assumptions that I have “never use[d] [something]” before making a point that I shouldn’t judge something.. I have plenty of years experience with HTC to know that Sense is complete garbage.

  • Ed_Kel

    If only Google had a “translate horrible grammar” tool….

    Maybe you should be more concerned about not wasting your money since, according to your comment threads, you hate Apple and their “closed system” rather than wasting your time arguing with a stranger.

  • HerbalEd

    Then why did they put Woz’s Mac quote in the article for you to read and comment on?

  • I like the whole discussion!