Based on his own experience Jobs knew what he was talking about!
Steve Jobs knew success but also failure very closely. Already with several years in the world of technology, the co-founder of Apple had the knack for predict when a project was destined to succeed or not. And that was what happened precisely when he met the idea of Mobile ESPN.
Mobile ESPN was intended as a service that provided constant information on different sports disciplines, tournaments and many more. However, it was an idea with many shortcomings, a somewhat high price and presented at an inopportune moment. Aware of its characteristics, Jobs could not keep his appreciation on the matter.
Jobs knew what he was saying
According to the book “These Guys Have All The Fun,” based on the ESPN story, Josb told ESPN president George Bodenheimer, “Your phone is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard”in the middle of a Disney board meeting in 2006.
Of course Jobs was right. And it is that, the device launched in 2005 and withdrawn from the market only a year laterhad everything to lose.
The service basically consisted of offering information for sports fans, who would have to buy a special phone. Here they could receive scores updates, launch GameCast, browse ESPN.com content, and a host of other features. Thus, customers had to pay up to $300 for the phone and between $65 and $225 a month for content.
At a time of transition in technology when mobiles focus on offering bigger screens or email ESPN’s idea was not appealing. Even, and according to the same book, quoting the former president of ESPN, Steve Bornstein:
“The phone was a stupid idea. I told George that [Bodenheimer] ya john [Skipper, entonces director ejecutivo de ESPN]. It was a great gamble that was destined to fail.”
Of course, just as Jobs predicted, the project was a failure, a huge failure. One so big, that today it occupies a position in the Museum of Failure that exhibits the worst inventions in history. When we assure that Jobs knew what he was saying, we are not exaggerating. Well, close to ESPN Móvil is also the Apple Pippin, considered one of the worst inventions in history.