‘The PC Guys Are Not Going to Just, You Know, Knock This Out’

Speaking of Dieter Bohn, Palm, and yours truly, it turns out Ed Colligan didn’t say what we thought he said about Apple’s then-imminent iPhone in December 2006. Bohn:

All of this context is in service to correcting the record on one of Colligan’s responses. Somewhat famously, a line of his has been quoted over and over — most often by John Gruber at Daring Fireball in a post titled “Palm CEO Ed Colligan’s Head Seems to be Stuck Somewhere.” He quotes the following real-time transcription — which, as it turns out, is inaccurate:

Responding to questions from New York Times correspondent John Markoff at a Churchill Club breakfast gathering Thursday morning, Colligan laughed off the idea that any company — including the wildly popular Apple Computer — could easily win customers in the finicky smartphone sector.

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” he said. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

We’ve gotten the original recording of the interview — our thanks to the Computer History Museum, which has received the Churchill Club’s archives after it sadly had to shut down. Here’s the actual exchange, which begins after the Apple speculation.

Colligan’s actual quote: “And so I just would caution people that think they’re going to walk in here and just and do these. We’ve struggled for a few years here, figuring out how to make a decent phone. The PC guys are not going to just, you know, knock this out. I guarantee it. So, look, welcome, let’s go for it. We can’t stop all that. It’s going to happen, but it’s going to be, I don’t think it’ll be so easy for everybody, as everybody thinks to enter it. It’s a tough space.”

Not quite as juicy as the original (para)phrasing, but the sentiment is still there. It’s good to have the actual quote on the record now.

Saturday, 8 January 2022