Which Phone Warren Buffett uses could have changed history: It’s widely known that Warren Buffett isn’t exactly a technology guru. In fact, his cell phone preference doesn’t usually get that much attention from Wall Street analysts, but at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, it should have.
Buffett, who used a Samsung and interestingly not an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone back at this time according to Time, told the magazine that if not for a missed phone call shortly before Lehman Brothers’ collapse, it would have been possible that Buffett might have provided insurance to Barclays so it could have saved the firm.
According to Buffett, it wasn’t until nearly a year later that he realized his Samsung had “a little indicator he had noticed on the screen,” but never opened. It was a voicemail from Barclays’ then-CEO Bob Diamond, giving the details of a Lehman transaction that had piqued Buffett’s interest in the past.
The obvious, but unanswerable question is: what if Buffett had used an Apple iPhone instead of a Samsung that night?
According to the man himself, this probably wouldn’t have mattered one bit. On the topic of what would happen if his financial assistance is needed in a future crisis, Buffett told the Telegraph, “Don’t try to get in touch with me by cell phone.” He prefers to conduct business discussions via fax machine.
Within the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio, Buffett is a shareholder in neither Apple nor Samsung stock, and his historical unwillingness to hold tech companies of this nature indicates he probably won’t in the future. The closest Buffett has come to even talking about Apple is about its finances.
In an interview earlier this year, Buffett told CNBC of a conversation he’d once had with Steve Jobs on the nature of the company’s cash: “When Steve called me, I said, Is your stock cheap? He said, yes. I said, Do you have more cash than you need? He said, a little bit [laughs]. I said, then buy back your stock. He didn’t.”
This is a sentiment shared by hedge fund activist Carl Icahn, who wants Apple to expand its existing share buyback program. With an active presence on social networking platform Twitter, it’s assumed that Icahn is a bit more tech savvy than Warren Buffett, whether it comes to Samsung or iPhone news. In the next financial calamity, perhaps any inquiring executives seeking a loan would be best served by calling Icahn first, and saving the fax machine for Buffett.