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"IDK, my BFF Bill?"
Ballmer talks of his departing pal Bill Gates and Microsoft's vision for the future

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has a deep fondness and appreciation for Bill Gates. Ballmer has worked beside Microsoft's founder since 1980 – before that, the two were friends at Harvard -- and has been one the company’s most vocal and enthusiastic champions.

The close relationship that the two have was even more apparent in a recent interview with the UK's Telegraph newspaper. Ballmer conversed with Josephine Moulds over Microsoft's future endeavors including its expanded reach into online software applications and large-scale advertising

However, it was Ballmer's thoughts on Bill Gates -- and his children -- which seemed to take center stage.

"We have been like parents or brothers in this thing for a long time," said Ballmer. "Partners, spouses, whatever, we participated together in giving birth to this amazing thing called Microsoft. We always work well together, we do not always agree, we always work through our disagreements."

Ballmer went on to explain the spousal nature of his relationship with Gates. "That is why I say there is a certain husband-wife, brothers thing, where you have an ability to agree, resolve issues, a fundamental respect, admiration, good feeling. All that lets you make one plus one equal three, in terms of getting the best from two people."

Ballmer didn't stop there, however. He then brought his children into the discussion to highlight the progress that Microsoft is making with its products.

"We happen to have two children that are a little older, and they are great kids, they are still developing," said Ballmer. "They are in high school, they are wonderful, they have got their whole future in front of them. That is our desktop -- Windows and Office -- and our server business."

"Then we have got these two young kids. They are four or five, they are really at a formative stage, and they are building their muscles. That is where we are in online and devices."

Microsoft is indeed trying to react and adapt to changing market conditions. The company followed Google's lead with the introduction of Office Live Workspace -- an effort to branch out into the field of web-based applications.

The company also announced changed to its product lifecycles due to corporate and consumer demand. Microsoft's Windows Vista was supposed to stifle demand for the company's aging Windows XP operating system, but the 6-year-old OS instead received a few more months to live.

When it comes to devices, Microsoft has found plenty of success with its Xbox 360 platform despite RRoD failures. The company is looking to strengthen its position in the console wars this holiday season with beefed up Premium and Elite bundles and a value-packed Arcade model.

In addition, Microsoft is looking to improve on the lukewarm reception given to its original Zune with the Zune 4, Zune 8 and Zune 80. All will go head-to-head with Apple's popular iPod family and are priced accordingly.

Ballmer is at the helm of what is likely America's most high-profile software companies. He's shared the limelight with his buddy Bill Gates for the past 17 years. When Gates leaves his Microsoft ties behind next year, Ballmer will be without his "spouse" when it comes time to make big decisions.

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Refresh my Microsoft history
By sliderule on 10/15/2007 10:55:08 AM , Rating: 1
What exactly has Ballmer brought to Microsoft through the years? When I think of him all I see is that guy who jumps around the stage screaming like a lunatic.

Is he just some dude who's been riding the coat tales all these years, or has he made significant contributions to the company?

RE: Refresh my Microsoft history
By Chris Peredun on 10/15/2007 11:09:25 AM , Rating: 3
What exactly has Ballmer brought to Microsoft through the years? When I think of him all I see is that guy who jumps around the stage screaming like a lunatic.

Developers, Developers, Developers

RE: Refresh my Microsoft history
By Polynikes on 10/15/2007 1:19:00 PM , Rating: 3
It looks like he's contributed a lot of sweat to Microsoft.

He must wring it out and feed it to the DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS.

RE: Refresh my Microsoft history
By ATC on 10/15/2007 3:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know much about Ballmer and how successful he's been or what kind of asset he is at MSFT, but if sweating profusely on stage is what drives business for MSFT then Ballmer is owed a big thank you from Bill.

By Gul Westfale on 10/15/2007 11:10:12 AM , Rating: 1
he was fired 12 years ago, but he just hasn't accepted it yet.

RE: Refresh my Microsoft history
By iFX on 10/15/2007 11:44:16 AM , Rating: 4
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing. Deals, Deals, Deals. Ballmer is a master salesman and could sell ice to an eskimo. Microsoft owes it's commercial and retail sucess to Ballmer, period.

RE: Refresh my Microsoft history
By Conor026 on 10/15/2007 12:19:50 PM , Rating: 2
Its really hard to know what he brought to the company.

I far as i know, he has been there since day one with
bill gates and paul allen.
Whereas bill gates made some of the killer deals early on
that got microsoft on the PC/IBM money train, balmer never
seemed to have done anything amazing on the business side
of things.
Whereas paul allen brought most of the technical knowledge,
Balmer studyed business or something like that in harvard,
so he brought no technical knowledge to microsoft.

I`d say he might businessman but i have known to be wrong:

RE: Refresh my Microsoft history
By scrapsma54 on 10/15/2007 5:05:28 PM , Rating: 3
He may be crazy, but he is smart. He understands that marketing is a balance of ideas and compromises. A collaboration of more than 13 people from different backgrounds sitting at a table passing a rock, How can we make this rock attract real people and make them feel that our product is worth their money, until eventually the refine it to a diamond. In fact, his Developers Developers Developers are indeed very important, something Steve Jobs fails to understand.

RE: Refresh my Microsoft history
By Dactyl on 10/15/2007 6:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
Salesmen don't make rocks into diamonds, they convince potential customers that the rock is really a diamond.

What does Jobs want developers for? He wants to control 100% of development. If he could afford it, Apple would be the only company to develop software for Apple machines.

3rd-party programs would have to run on Hypercard.

RE: Refresh my Microsoft history
By mondo1234 on 10/15/07, Rating: 0
In other news...
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/15/2007 10:29:38 AM , Rating: 5
"We have been like parents"
..."there is a certain husband-wife [thing]."

Bill is ditching Melinda and moving with Ballmer to Vermont, where they plan to legally the knot.

Steve Jobs could not be reached for comments.

RE: In other news...
By Gul Westfale on 10/15/2007 11:09:14 AM , Rating: 1
i was just gonna say the same thing lol. :)

and have you noticed that ballmer looks kinda like odo in that picture... weird. keep an eye on him, just in case he shifts shape.

RE: In other news...
By Mitch101 on 10/15/2007 11:52:48 AM , Rating: 4
I too found the comments a little on the gay side but Steve Jobs is the one who wont come out of the closet.

For a while whenever I would see Steve Jobs I couldnt help thinking of the saturday night live skit of Sprockets.

RE: In other news...
By the goat on 10/15/2007 1:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
Bill is ditching Melinda and moving with Ballmer to Vermont, where they plan to legally the knot.

Don't you mean Massachusetts? It is illegal for two men to marry in Vermont.

"IDK, my BFF Bill?"
By Chris Peredun on 10/15/2007 11:08:28 AM , Rating: 2
Oh good lord. The meme has invaded DailyTech.

RE: "IDK, my BFF Bill?"
By AvidDailyTechie on 10/15/2007 11:15:06 AM , Rating: 3
"IDK, my BFF Bill?"


Examine the picture closely...
By porkpie on 10/15/2007 10:57:07 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone else see that large brown spot on the end of Ballmer's nose?

By AstroCreep on 10/15/2007 7:51:37 PM , Rating: 1
Ah, ya beat me to it. :(
Such a kiss-ass...

Although everything this a-hole says is to self-serving it's quite surprising to read about this. But at the same time, I can't take what he says seriously.
Ballmer is everything (well, the main thing) I hate about Microsoft.

Stevey looks a little vampiric...
By dflynchimp on 10/15/2007 11:43:14 AM , Rating: 2
as Craig Ferguson *might* say, "I think I know who Bob Barker's latest victim was..."

Steve's metaphor was...unique, but I think he pushed it too far.

Unnecessary Joke at Ballmer's Expense
By Sahrin on 10/15/2007 11:10:30 AM , Rating: 1
Alright, the metaphor may have been a little ill-advised (though actually, I think he has a good point w.r.t. comparing product families to children) - but did we relaly need a front-page news post to tell us that? Mayabe just - "Ballmer Interview Sheds New Light on Microsoft Product Families" - just as deceptive in drawing in readers to what amounts to no new information, but no childish joke with discriminatory undertones!

By Phynaz on 10/15/07, Rating: 0
"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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