Print 39 comment(s) - last by Pirks.. on Mar 26 at 12:42 PM

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gives more color commentary

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, known for his tendency to make interesting remarks, recently delivered some stinging words of criticism on competitor Apple, which he says charges users $500 extra "for a logo".  Now Ballmer is back on the record, delivering more commentary and there are even more nuggets in this recent interview with BusinessWeek editor Stephen Adler at the McGraw-Hill media conference.

Ballmer critiqued Apple's iPhone versus Microsoft's “touch” offerings in Windows Mobile 6.5, stating, "Windows Mobile 6.5 has touch on it. The way Apple does touch drives cost. They way they do it on the iPhone is not an inexpensive component. We’ll do it in a way that you can afford to do it on most phones."

On Apple's spending he comments, "There are plenty of areas where we spend less than the competition. Apple, for instance, spends much more (proportionally) on marketing than we do."

Yet, he also had some words of praise here and there for his competitor, stating, "No doubt that Apple does a nice job in video and music services," and later noting that the new Microsoft stores pay some homage to Apple; "Apple actually sells about half of all Apple machines through its stores or online."

Still, his comments clearly convey that he believes Microsoft is the superior competitor, not only in the OS and PC industry, but in the gaming, search, and cell phone industries as well, where Microsoft has yet to obtain a dominant market share.

Ballmer laid some criticism on Yahoo and the state of innovation in the search business in general, stating, "We had to start essentially from scratch about 6 years ago. Essential thesis: Most of the innovation is still come in search. Search hasn’t changed much in the last 5 years, 10 years. It’s gotten somewhat better, but at the end of the day you search to do something, you don’t search to find links to web pages.”

“We think there’s a lot of innovation yet to come. We’ve learned that cost of just getting into the game - the table stakes - is a lot higher than we realized in R&D, capex. Google (GOOG) is making that investment, Yahoo can’t, we are."

He says that he would be pleased with even minor search share growth stating, "If we can just get 15 or 20% in the next few years, that’s a big step up."

Kumo, Microsoft's upcoming successor to Live Search was hinted at, but few details were dropped by Ballmer.

For those wondering on a Yahoo-Microsoft partnership retry, they're left guessing as Ballmer played his cards close to his chest, stating,

Principles first: Whether or not there’s a partnership to be had with Yahoo, we think our own innovation… it’s not about Yahoo’s technology. It’s really about getting the pooled volume, because you actually can improve your product faster if you have more users. If you have more advertisers, you can improve the product as well. There are returns to scale. And putting the scale together is valuable.

With that as context, we’re largely on the same strategy, with or without a partnership with Yahoo. I’ve talked with Carol briefly, over the phone. I’m sure when it’s appropriate, we’ll have a chance to sit down and talk. I’ve known her for years. She’s straightforward and friendly and when she’s ready, we’ll have that type of discussion. Whether a deal gets done or not, who knows. People at our two companies talk all the time.

A final note and one of the more interesting items in the interview when the interviewer queried "Whither Zune?" referring to Microsoft's MP3 player offering, which, while full-featured, has struggled to gain market share.  Ballmer after much previous praise for some of Microsoft's other struggling products like Live Search actually seems reticent for the first time in the interview, responding, "We’re going to keep going I won’t say full steam ahead, because that implies acceleration of investment, but we’re going to sustain our investment. We like it and the future may be the software/ecosystem on other devices."

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Let's save alot of space
By Whaaambulance on 3/24/2009 1:35:51 PM , Rating: 5
By summing up all of Pirks comments into one, condensed posting:

Knowledgabe User: This was a very useful news article, I like it for this reason.

Pirks: I disagree with your statement. Why do I disagree with it? Because it doesn't matter what your opinion is, my opinion is the correct one. It doesn't matter if I back my opinion up with facts or not, yours is wrong.

Knowledgable User: But I provided links backing up my statements with facts.

Pirks: Hahahhaha your such an idiot :))) ~Lolz!!*** Everyone here know that your comments mean nothing and that everyone should only pay attention to mine.

Knowledgable User: What's wrong with you dude?

Pirks: Whats wrong with YOU LOL :)))) hheheh my little KnowledgeableUserclown :))))))))

Knowledgable User: Anyways, let's get back on topic. I think <insert well thought out comment regarding this topic of the articel>.

Pirks: <Insert long-winded speech about how I know more than you, and regardless of facts, my opinion > all.>

Knowledgable User: Sigh... I give up...

Pirks: Wooohooo I win at the interwebs again!! :)))))) LOLZ! :P

RE: Let's save alot of space
By quiksilvr on 3/24/2009 1:45:42 PM , Rating: 2
Pirks: because someone has to get it up. Think about it ;)

By Mojo the Monkey on 3/24/2009 1:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
what does this have to do with the article? I dont even see a comment from this Pirks person.

RE: Let's save alot of space
By omnicronx on 3/24/2009 1:53:07 PM , Rating: 4
While Pirks is a giant douchebag, there is no need to hijack an article before he even makes a comment.

Don't poke the bear ;)

RE: Let's save alot of space
By Whaaambulance on 3/24/2009 1:56:37 PM , Rating: 4
Omni, this is a preemptive strike. You know he will post here, I am just trying to save space ahead of time.


RE: Let's save alot of space
By jjmcubed on 3/24/2009 4:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but I'm in complete agreement with the comment. Why? Well because people acting improper without any input from Daily Tech.

This site is my favorite comments section to read. Every time I visit the comments section there are thoughtful answers about the industry I love. I tend to learn from the commenters almost everyday about the hobby I love. This comments section is turning into the type of sites that you visit once, notice the immature and lack of knowledgeable comments, and then never return.

Please stop the "My company is better because I said so" comments and inject something useful. Please don't destroy one of my favorite websites with this!!

RE: Let's save alot of space
By Yaron on 3/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: Let's save alot of space
By Pirks on 3/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: Let's save alot of space
By OwnedYou on 3/24/2009 10:25:15 PM , Rating: 2
Not obsessed, just trying to hopefully get the message across that people don't care to see your ridiculous bickering and idiotic comments. Like I said, my posts = +.... your posts = -.

Keep on topic.

RE: Let's save alot of space
By Pirks on 3/25/2009 2:43:41 AM , Rating: 1
People care even less about idiotic Whaaabickering and even more idiotic Whaaacomments, so what's the point?

RE: Let's save alot of space
By B3an on 3/25/2009 3:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
Thats funny because i see Whaaambulance getting +5 and your comments all going into the minus zone... as usual.

I honestly think you have a mental problem pirks. I'm not trying to be mean here, but you're clearly not all there in the head.

RE: Let's save alot of space
By Pirks on 3/25/2009 7:34:59 PM , Rating: 2
At least I'm not as f@cked up in the head as you B3an :P

RE: Let's save alot of space
By Whaaambulance on 3/26/2009 11:05:32 AM , Rating: 2
He isn't hard to figure out. Of course, he responded to you with his typical "I know you are, but what am I" nonsense.

Anyways, on to the next thread, this one is done.

RE: Let's save alot of space
By Pirks on 3/26/2009 12:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder who the Whaaaclown going to perform for in the next thread? For me again or will he find a new person to become obsessed with? What do you think guys? ;-)

RE: Let's save alot of space
By kyleb2112 on 3/25/2009 5:03:30 AM , Rating: 2
But he's sure got you down to a T...for a sick fanatic.

RE: Let's save alot of space
By Pirks on 3/25/2009 6:32:15 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, he's a decent clown. Types more words than chicko though, that's not good. Chicko's performances are usually more funny than Whaaa's. Well, I guess he'll learn the trade from chicko eventually.

RE: Let's save alot of space
By scrapsma54 on 3/25/2009 9:30:50 PM , Rating: 2
True, if we burnt you at the stake and argued about how we think grape soda is better and you say pepsi blue is the shiznaz. Im sure you would still think you are winning.

RE: Let's save alot of space
By Pirks on 3/26/2009 1:36:35 AM , Rating: 2
I can't win competition with a professional Whaaa-clown even if I want to ;-)

one thing is true about Microsoft
By Moishe on 3/24/2009 1:24:45 PM , Rating: 5
They try and when things don't work out, they adjust and keep trying. This is the real path to success.

Their products are not generally worse than any of their competitors products. A lot of Microsoft's problem is their image.

RE: one thing is true about Microsoft
By orgy08 on 3/24/2009 1:44:09 PM , Rating: 4
I tend to agree, I actually prefer the Zune software over itunes any day. Of course ipod has the "cool look", but I prefer the zune, even if its slightly bigger. Also, I agree with their adjusting strategy. They have the money to spend, so they buy their way to the market, much like the xbox and buying up exclusives. First xbox wasn't too great, xbox360 did things much better, with the exception of RRoD, which they fix for free. I believe the third console won't have the same problems because it won't be rushed to the market, but only time will tell.

RE: one thing is true about Microsoft
By Pirks on 3/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: one thing is true about Microsoft
By Whaaambulance on 3/24/2009 4:08:09 PM , Rating: 1
I will freely admit, that I do own an iPhone and while Steve here makes a valid argument on price points, if you have ever actually used the touch interface on an iPhone vs. a Winmobile phone, you will clearly see why there is a premium for the iPhone.

For people who are budget minded and want the most 'bang for the buck', will undoubtedly opt for the windows-based PDA/Phone/MP3 player. It has all of the same functionality (sometimes more), just less of the finesse and artistic quality of the Apple version.

RE: one thing is true about Microsoft
By Pirks on 3/24/09, Rating: -1
By Whaaambulance on 3/24/2009 4:19:29 PM , Rating: 1
I also own a Macbook pro. Like I said, people that can appreciate what Apple stands for, will continue to purchase their products. But I am neither an Apple nor a Microsoft fanatic. I know that I have my reasoning behind everything I purchase.

I use my Macbook for video and audio editing at work, and I use my PC for gaming and everything else.

RE: one thing is true about Microsoft
By Whaaambulance on 3/24/09, Rating: 0
RE: one thing is true about Microsoft
By Pirks on 3/24/09, Rating: -1
By Whaaambulance on 3/24/2009 4:02:41 PM , Rating: 5
Sort of like what people feel like doing after reading your posts.

RE: one thing is true about Microsoft
By tjr508 on 3/24/2009 6:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
What exactly does Apple "stand for" ?

RE: one thing is true about Microsoft
By Whaaambulance on 3/24/2009 6:14:06 PM , Rating: 2
Apple is all about presentation. It shows in the style of their products, as well as their OS. And before you go off about "apple lover" blah blah, I use both platforms.

Apple stands for enhanced visual quality through aesthetic design. For instance, I had the Samsung Instinct. While similar to the iPhone, you could just tell how much more refined the interface was on the iPhone. The Instinct was quite clunky in comparison.

There are alot of things that apple didn't create, just made better through superior aesthetics.

RE: one thing is true about Microsoft
By Pirks on 3/24/2009 7:10:13 PM , Rating: 1
Apple is all about presentation
Not all, there are also some advantages to Macs not visible on the outside. Better battery efficiency for example:

RE: one thing is true about Microsoft
By BZDTemp on 3/24/2009 5:44:42 PM , Rating: 2
The main problem with Microsoft is their way of doing business. To them it is war and that is in a sense where everything goes.

It is like Linux is a thread let us discredit it by paying other companies to talk bad about it or even go to court against it (google sco microsoft).

Or whoops we missed the boat on the internet. Let us use our OS lead to get the market. (google netscape microsoft settelment)

And hey now we have the internet browser market. Lets not follow open standard but instead do our own thing to use the lead to gain the upper hand elsewhere.

Plus there is the there fixing of votes to have the Microsoft controlled Open XML become a standard. The let us use our OS to try and get control of the media market with our Media player.

The list goes on and do not get me started on the dirty tricks played with APIs, the forcing of their OS on hardware makers... or their practice of vaporware!

Many Microsoft products are fine, some are great and others are damn awful but the real problem is they try to take over the world. That slows down real competition which again slows down development and hurts us all.

Just one small example. It seems Windows often uses more power than other OS does. A few percent may make little difference to your or mine electric bill but multiply but something like a billion computers and it is another matter.

By mondo1234 on 3/24/2009 7:03:20 PM , Rating: 2
That and Balmers crazy. Where has he been and who is doing his market research?
He says (from the linked article):

SB: Smartphones will go from 10% to 70 or 80% of market next few years. So what will people want? Good experience built in, w/out downloading stuff. You want good price range. iPhone is very expensive phone, without a keyboard. Some people can’t afford them. Sweet spot is phones that cost $150 to $200 to make — forget retail price. iPhone is about $500. We want to provide vendors with ability to make Windows phones up and down the price scale.

According to Isupply (from last summer), the Iphone costs $175 to make.

Is he implying that WinMo phones w/o keyboards do not exist? Also, isn't MS starting up an app store for downloading to WinMo?

The other thing is, if you have a Zune, forget playing your Zune downloads on your phone because (according to Balmer) people want "Good experience built in, w/out downloading stuff". I like WinMo, but once you add on the data plan, they are comparably priced to the Iphone. Plus, you dont have to buy an Ipod (or a Zune), since it is built into the phone.

Did anyone look at the picture?
By micha90210 on 3/24/2009 4:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
Why is he sweating so much?

By Whaaambulance on 3/24/2009 4:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
He is working really hard....


By mindless1 on 3/24/2009 5:24:50 PM , Rating: 2
Body fat is an insulator, and a heavy load to carry around. Excess heat causes additional sweating when an overweight person tries to maintain the same activity level.

Then again, he might be smoking too much crack or drinking too much coffee.

Ballmer is the man
By mfed3 on 3/24/2009 2:13:52 PM , Rating: 1
He's right on this one. Gotta agree with his statements on search technology.

RE: Ballmer is the man
By chrnochime on 3/25/2009 1:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
WTH are you talking about?

Ballmer: "...but at the end of the day you search to do something, you don’t search to find links to web pages.”

And the former is what I'm getting when I'm using google, instead of that sorry excuse of a search engine that MS puts out. I'm not a Google fanboy or anything close to that, but I am almost always able to find the info I need using Google, instead of looking at the irrelevant pages that Live throws at me.

They've tried since the msn search which was at least in the late 90's and they still have little marketshare. Their search engine was bad then. Not much better now.

just a typo
By CvP on 3/24/2009 2:21:38 PM , Rating: 2
They way they do it on the iPhone is not an inexpensive component.

By VaultDweller on 3/25/2009 8:25:15 AM , Rating: 2
Still, his comments clearly convey that he believes Microsoft is the superior competitor

Of course his comments convey this. There aren't many CEOs that would portray their competitors as superior, at least on the record. StarDock's Brad Wardell is the exception (he admits that Steam is better than Impulse).

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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