Ford Predictions of Niche Cybertruck Will Echo Predictions of iPhone Failure

During an interview with CNBC/Mad Money/Jim Cramer, Ford CEO Jim Farley dismissed the Tesla Cybertruck as a high-end product targeted at Silicon Valley rather than a truck for real working people.

In the United States, Ford F-Series deliveries totaled 170,377 units in Q1 2023, an increase of about 21 percent compared to 140,701 units sold in Q1 2022. Ford F-150 Lightning sales totaled 4,291 units in Q1 2023.

I predict the Ford CEO predictions of Tesla Cybertruck being a niche product will end up the same as cellphone competitors to Apple predicting the iPhone would be a niche product.

We will see what the pricing is for the Cybertruck in August or September, 2023. The pricing, range and production specifications will be big factor in how Tesla compares to the Ford Lightning and the Rivian R1T and R1S.

Microsoft x-CEO Balmer and the Apple iPhone

“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item,” said then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

In 2014, Balmer expressed his regret that Microsoft did not get into cellphone hardware earlier.

Blackberry Response to Apple IPhone

Mike Lazaridis, the founder and vice chairman of BlackBerry at the time, was watching the 2007 televised report of the Apple iPhone announcement from his treadmill.

“How did they do that?” he wondered.

Lazaridis’ response along with that of his company are detailed in a new book out today, showing in detail how BlackBerry went from being the seemingly unstoppable king of smartphones, to an also-ran.

BlackBerry’s executives were at first in awe of Apple’s ability to pack so many features into one phone, but they weren’t impressed enough to race to build a consumer device that was just as useful and aesthetically pleasing.

Instead they comforted themselves with reminders that the iPhone’s keyboard was difficult to use and the battery life, terrible. BlackBerry was leading the pack, after all.

The next day Mr. Lazaridis grabbed his co-CEO Jim Balsillie at the office and pulled him in front of a computer.

“Jim, I want you to watch this,” he said, pointing to a webcast of the iPhone unveiling. “They put a full Web browser on that thing. The carriers aren’t letting us put a full browser on our products.”

Mr. Balsillie’s first thought was RIM was losing AT&T as a customer.

“Apple’s got a better deal,” Mr. Balsillie said. “We were never allowed that. The U.S. market is going to be tougher.”

“These guys are really, really good,” Mr. Lazaridis replied. “This is different.”

“It’s OK—we’ll be fine,” Mr. Balsillie responded.

Nokia and Techcrunch Also Predicted Niche iPhone

“The development of mobile phones will be similar in PCs. Even with the Mac, Apple has attracted much attention at first, but they have still remained a niche manufacturer. That will be in mobile phones as well,” Nokia chief strategist Anssi Vanjoki told a German newspaper at the time.

Techcrunch predicted that when the iPhone is rushed to market. Digg [the Internet] will be full of horror stories from the poor saps who camped out at their local AT&T store, only to find their purchase was buggier than a camp cabin.

9 thoughts on “Ford Predictions of Niche Cybertruck Will Echo Predictions of iPhone Failure”

  1. I’m not sure if I’m reading this right, but I think the author is predicting that the niche truck market will be a failure just like the iPhone market was. I’m not sure if I’m understanding the reasoning behind this,

  2. The people on here evidently know nothing about the average 30, 40, and 50 year olds who grew up playing Xbox’s main franchise, the video game ‘Halo’.

    As long as the truck has enough of the required features (can haul a crew’s tools to a worksite and back, plus have hours of juice to run power tools, it will be a huge seller after production ramps up and quality issues are addressed.

    Two caveats: it will need to be priced less than the F150 Lighting, while still providing a 20% margin for Tesla.

    As of this moment, it looks like Tesla can pull those off.

  3. Your iPhone comparison is unconvincing. When the iPhone debuted its design was generally viewed as sleek and elegant but importantly the result of the simple and refined experience Apple was so successful in creating. Had there been a sizable number of people who hated the iPhone’s design when it came out, it wouldn’t have mattered; Apple was so far ahead of the competition that there was no alternative that could compare for many years. By contrast the CT’s radical design has a limited appeal and no real purpose other than to distinguish it from everything else. When Tesla finally does launch CT it will be behind several already established competitors (with more on the way) so those folks who don’t love the CT design will have plenty of other options. Sure there’s other factors like price, range, and features like MW charging and FSD, but it’s not clear at this point that CT will have broad appeal to corner the EV truck market.

  4. Its hard to judge from pictures but it looks so understated and yet so tasteless. I am sure a few grand could get them a designer that can make it look good at least on paper. Judging from the pictures the corners look too sharp and will have safety problems in some markets. Uncoated stainless steel is quite a bugger to keep clean, unless highly polished. Stainless steel welds and vibrations don’t go well together.

  5. Honestly, if I had money burning a hole in my pocket, say I won Powerball, a Cybertruck is on my list of purchases.

    But I’d find it more attractive if it weren’t electric. It’s really the stainless steel construction and low poly style that attracts me.

    • I’m withholding judgement until I see one in person. I like the Rivian’s looks but Rivians are really expensive relative to most every other vehicle.

  6. As long as they never launch the CT like they never launch a working fsd,or a semi, no one can can it a failure.
    I’m sure the solar roof is right around 3,000 a week.

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