Apprentice boss Lord Sugar has revealed that his one big business regret is not sticking it out in the phone industry like Apple founder Steve Jobs.
The former Amstrad owner, valued at £1.04 billion on the Sunday Times Rich List, bought mobile company Dancall in 1993 for £6.3 million and sold it to German electronics giant Bosch in 1997 for £92 million, but said in hindsight he would not have “given up making mobile phones as early as we did” and also would have become an internet service provider.
“Was it a good deal? I don’t know. Looking back now, you think perhaps I should have held on to it and been in the smart phone business, apps and all that type of stuff,” he said.
“But I can’t complain, I’ve made a lot of money, it’s as simple as that.”
Lord Sugar praised the vision of Apple’s Steve Jobs and said that while Jobs would be remembered as a genius, his own immortal words “You’re fired” would probably haunt him after he was gone.
“Steve Jobs had a vision, he’s a marketing man. I met him quite a few times, we kind of grew up in the electronics industry together, with him and Bill Gates and myself.
“He had a vision and he gets a lot of the accolade for the Apple stuff, although there are a lot of people around him who did it too,” he said.
“I don’t know what I’ll be remembered for, most probably by the population for firing people,” he added.
Despite his regrets, Lord Sugar said rising from 101st in the Rich List was not on his list of New Year’s resolutions. “I’ve been a multi-millionaire since I was 31 years old and you get to a stage where it makes no difference really. It really makes no difference at all,” he said.
Lord Sugar faced criticism that he was out of touch after comments asking why people in poverty had mobile phones and microwaves.
“I’m not out of touch, that’s for sure,” said Lord Sugar, but refused to elaborate on the subject.