Great story in The Atlantic by Alexis C. Madrigal about how Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini passed on an opportunity to provide CPUs for Apple’s iPhone. A few tidbits:
Intel generated more revenue during his eight-year tenure as CEO than it did during the rest of the company’s 45-year history.
Under his watch since 2005, it created the world’s best chips for laptops, assumed a dominant position in the server market, vanquished long-time rival AMD, retained a vertically integrated business model that’s unique in the industry, and maintained profitability throughout the global economic meltdown.
And, Otellini himself on the iPhone:
The thing you have to remember is that this was before the iPhone was introduced and no one knew what the iPhone would do… At the end of the day, there was a chip that they were interested in that they wanted to pay a certain price for and not a nickel more and that price was below our forecasted cost. I couldn’t see it. It wasn’t one of these things you can make up on volume. And in hindsight, the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100x what anyone thought.
The rest is history.