Nathan Myhrvold Tried To Convince Microsoft To Make An iPhone-Like Device In 1991


Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft CTO and co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, was recently interviewed in Men’s Journal in an article called “How a Geek Grills a Burger.” In the article, Myhrvold is considered a “mad scientist” that was living out a “nerd fantasy.” He also works as a chef and is known for having a six-volume cookbook.

Among some of the nerdy projects he has worked on are studying astrophysics with Stephen Hawking and having a giant Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in front of his home.

During his tenure at Microsoft, Myhrvold supposedly tried to convince the company to make an iPhone-like device in 1991. He had predicted an iPhone-like device would be huge. Back then he described it as a “digital wallet” that would consolidate all personal communication including a phone, contacts, notepad, schedule manager, books, and music library. He also said that the could would not be very high ($400-$1,000) as the retail.

Microsoft was cost conscious at the time though. “Hey, it was better than predicting the wrong thing,” states Myhrvold.

Myhrvold was portrayed as using patents owned by Intellectual Ventures for “mafia-style shakedowns” in a piece by This American Life / Planet Money. The Men’s Journal decided to portray Myhrvold as a geeky genius.

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at
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