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Ballmer speaks on Internet advertising, the economy, mobile phones and more

It's odd to hear the Microsoft juggernaut describe itself as the David to anyone's Goliath. Yet that is exactly what Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said to BBC News.

Ballmer was interviewed by BBC News and talked openly about Microsoft, the economy, and the firms search goals. Speaking on internet advertising Ballmer said, "Do I wish we'd started the investment in search a few years earlier? Yes. We may be the David up against Goliath but we're working on it."

According to Ballmer, the big concern for Microsoft is the lead that Google has built in the online advertising market. Microsoft still plans to challenge Google in the advertising and search arenas, even after the much ballyhooed and publicized failed talks of purchasing Yahoo.

Ballmer sounded more like the Microsoft most are used to when speaking about rival Smartphone operating systems. He stated, "You've got to remember Android is version one....and it looks like version one. They've got one handset maker, we've got 55. They're available through one operator, we've got 175."

Ballmer maintains that Microsoft will hold other mobile operating systems at bay and remarked that open-source is not the most attractive solution to phone manufacturers. The open source operating system Ballmer was referring to was Google's recently released Android OS.

Google has said that it went open source with its OS to allow phone makers and mobile carriers to change Android to their needs. Google is much more interested in opening new advertising mediums on Internet enabled mobile phones than charging phone makers for using Android.

When asked about the maligned Vista operating system Ballmer said, "With their Windows PCs people have what I would call a love/hate relationship. There are things they'd like us to do better but if you asked them if they loved what they're able to do with their PC, I think they'd say 'Yes'."

Ballmer says that Vista has been Microsoft's most popular operating system to date.

Speaking about the economy in the U.S., Ballmer stated, "I don't think there's any confusion in Washington that they need to make smart choices to help the US economy." Ballmer warned that the poor economy could impact technology spending.

Many of the largest computer makers including Dell have already announced that the slow economy led to the inability to meet Wall Street profit projections. HP still maintains that it will be able to hit projections for the quarter. Retail stalwart Best Buy was also unable to meet projections for the quarter. When the computer market that relies on Windows products for the vast majority of their computers sees slowing sales, it makes sense that Microsoft would see sales lag as well.

One could see slowing sales of Microsoft's Vista operating system on the back of slowing overall PC sales as a reason Microsoft recently relaxed the requirements for using Windows XP on netbook computers. The netbook segment is surging thanks to the lower average cost for a netbook compared to a traditional notebook. Many netbook computers run Windows XP and expanding the amount of systems that can use XP would be a benefit to Microsoft in a sluggish economy.

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RE: Advertising
By silversound on 10/2/2008 3:05:39 PM , Rating: -1
"Ballmer says that Vista has been Microsoft's most popular operating system to date."

They force PC to install vista OS only, duh... and plus, they count every copy of downgraded XP sales from DELL or HP
sites as an vista OS sale. So added 2 OS sales together as vista sales, stop misleading consumers! hurry up window 7 beta, and say bye bye to vista...

RE: Advertising
By FITCamaro on 10/2/2008 3:14:20 PM , Rating: 5
Windows 7 is a retuned Vista man. Get off it. Vista is a good OS. A bit memory hungry, but a good OS.

RE: Advertising
By AnnihilatorX on 10/2/2008 3:22:14 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. Vista isn't that bad. It's just not that revolutionary to the users (not really the case technically, like new driver model) when they compare the switch from ME to XP, and XP to Vista.

RE: Advertising
By chmilz on 10/2/2008 4:04:22 PM , Rating: 5
Oops, forgot the article had the word "Vista" in it, and didn't do the symbolic let's-get-this-out-of-the-way post:

1: Vista sux
2: Have you even used it? Vista is good
1: I pwns joo
2: Great, another useless a$$hat that spews uninformed blather
1: Your mom...
2: No wonder Macs sell so well, simple computers for simple folks

RE: Advertising
By kristof007 on 10/2/2008 4:12:47 PM , Rating: 5
You forgot:

3:No I use linux and its free and its better than both!

RE: Advertising
By quiksilvr on 10/2/2008 7:43:52 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that Linux is definitely on the verge towards being the best operating system out there. However there are a few problems that I feel needs to be addressed:

1) YouTube on Windows runs smooth and watching it in high quality with the h.264 format (just add &fmt=18 at the end of the URL) runs smooth on the browser as well. Ubuntu YouTube is a different story; it chugs at full screen. Ubuntu needs better flash support and hopefully Ubuntu 8.10 will address this issue.

2) I can say with full confidence that Media Player Classic along with the K-Lite Codec pack destroys any video player on Windows, Mac or Ubuntu. Divx, WMVs and even the space hog MOVs run incredibly well (even at 1080p). Ubuntu? They run, but cut down the bitrate to compensate for framerate. Again, Ubuntu needs better drivers for HD playback.

3) An easier way for game support. I know that you can utilize the drivers by typing away in the terminal (that's Linux c-prompt for those that don't know) but it's far from perfect.

I know that if I upgrade my computer alot of these issues will go away but if I can do it now using Windows why not with Linux? Linux is faster, more stable and has better software for alot of the other applications and gives me cool ways to navigate (cube, wiggly windows, multiple and amazing ways to cascade windows), but for video and gaming playback it has a ways to go before I can say "Linux is the only OS I use".

RE: Advertising
By Alexvrb on 10/2/2008 11:57:47 PM , Rating: 1
Linux is faster, more stable and has better software for alot of the other applications

Faster? You just pointed out multiple speed issues with Ubuntu, and yet its faster. Better software? If it runs on Linux and is open source, who says it can't run on Windows? Chances are, it already does. You can't always say the reverse.

Windows hardly has a problem with software selection or speed. I have some concerns with Vista, but those aren't it, some can be fixed simply by changing a few settings, and the rest will probably be addressed by Windows 7.

RE: Advertising
By Radnor on 10/3/2008 5:33:11 AM , Rating: 2
Although there are some issues with linux, witch several are being adressed each version, thus, improved, linux is a much better OS.

Much faster, safer, stable.

What runs in Linux will not run in Windows.
What runs in Windows ussually runs in WINE (Is not a Emulator).

Your post only reveals a bit of ignorance. Try Ubuntu 8.10.
Really. You will be surprised.

RE: Advertising
By B3an on 10/3/2008 8:12:21 AM , Rating: 2
Linux is so great that many many people use it.

Oh wait... no they dont because it's not so great, and no where near as user friendly as Windows. Even the most basic things are usually less simple. Then theres the facts already pointed out, like not being able to do pretty simple things like run youtube and HD videos smoothly.

It has a long way to go before the average computer user would be comfortable with it. And at the rate it's improving i cant see that any time soon.

RE: Advertising
By Nekrik on 10/3/2008 3:24:31 PM , Rating: 3
It's been making improvements for over 15 fricken years and they still, as great as an OS it is deemed to be, cannot seem to make any real traction. Hundred's of more distros are out there now (whoopee), and finally one has kinda seperated itself from the pack, but that's all we've really seen. They now seem to have a favorite distro amongst themselves (or at least one that has a decided majority of users). But all this seems to do is confuse college kids and make them wonder why it hasn't replaced all those other shitty OSes in the world

RE: Advertising
By mindless1 on 10/5/2008 11:01:05 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, no that's all nonsense. Windows is dominant because of the shady deals MS made with OEMs to gain popularity. Popularity, user familiarity, was all that really mattered for an OS to snowball. After that, the world just settled on supporting the winning OS regardless of whether it should've won or not.

The thing you are missing is how much more development there would have been for 'nix OS and apps if the userbase was what windows is now.

Last, the average computer user would be comfortable with anything they can have the equivalent of a start menu on, run the browser, email client, and an office app they are familiar with. To the average person the OS is a distraction, not the central feature.

RE: Advertising
By therealnickdanger on 10/3/2008 12:20:07 AM , Rating: 2
(just add &fmt=18 at the end of the URL)

Rather than do that every time, go into your settings (assuming you have a Youtube account) and change your default to high quality video. All videos will be HQ (if available).

RE: Advertising
By Reclaimer77 on 10/3/2008 6:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that Linux is definitely on the verge towards being the best operating system out there

The best OS that can't run jack shit in terms of app's and games that everyone uses ?

RE: Advertising
By jmurbank on 10/5/2008 6:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
1) It is not Ubuntu's fault. It is mainly Adobe writing the Flash plug-in poorly. It mainly uses X11 to draw objects instead of using OpenGL. Flash video does not use H.264 codec.

2) That is false that with the k-codec pack and Windows Media Player is better than what Linux or Mac has to offer. Linux supports the codecs equally. Pre-compiled distributions do not show what Linux has to offer, so please do not compare Linux using Ubuntu. Since mplayer is supported an 80x86 based Mac can have the same support.

The bit rate does not slow down to handle 1080p content. If you think it is gets low is because your bandwidth does not allow the full bandwidth that 1080p needs, so it reduces video quality. Bit rate is the same.

FYI, there is no HD hardware decoding in Linux that is done in Windows. I doubt Mac OS X have such feature too. nVidia left out XVmc for GeForce8 cards and probably GeForce9 cards. Though Xorg is working on a hardware decoding infrastructure that will be modular to handle video codec and leaving out XVmc.

Quicktime or MOV files are not space hogs. They have different features that makes them for editing compared to AVI and stamps each frame, so video and audio are near perfect. MOV files can contain almost the same video codecs that AVI can use. MOV files does have its data out of order like AVI files, so the media player does not have to create its own ways for syncing.

3) I can strongly say, Linux is the only OS that I use. You have a lot to learn about Linux. Ubuntu just holds you back. It is bash not terminal. Do not have to manually load modules (drivers).

An easier way to do game development is using QT library from TrollTech. It can simplify the tasks to create a program and compile for any OS with out changing the code and having multiple teams for each OS that the developer is supporting. Though SDL makes it harder for game developers to write games because of its limited design, but SFML might be a better alternative.

Sorry went off topic, but there were some misconceptions of Linux that needs to be corrected.

RE: Advertising
By N Aunimus of ECC on 10/4/2008 9:56:18 AM , Rating: 2
nah, linux is probably something best used for priority hardware i.e. psp and mobile software as opposed to something that of an os. I've tried various software and nothing saves me more time than vista in general.

RE: Advertising
By omnicronx on 10/2/2008 4:30:51 PM , Rating: 2
You say this as though you have tested the OS.. Microsoft has actually managed to keep its testers quiet this time around, we have no idea what exactly is in store for windows 7. Basically all they have said is that it will follow the Windows Vista kernel approach and driver model, that does not mean re-tuned Vista. Looking back at Windows XP, Microsoft said the same thing when comparing 2000 to XP, and although similar, I would definitely consider XP the superior all around OS, although I found that W2K was the stability king.

RE: Advertising
By mikefarinha on 10/2/2008 5:55:44 PM , Rating: 3
Yes Microsoft has keept a tight lid on Win7 however there is still quite a bit of info out there. Paul Thurott just published a summary of what we currently know about Win7... lots of good stuff here!

It is hard to label how evolutionary/revolutionary Win7 is.

Here is how I understand it. Windows Vista's underpinnings were revolutionary compared to XP. This is why it was such a big jump for hardware manufactures and software manufactures. They had to rewrite their drivers to cope with the new driver model and app developers needed to rewrite their apps to properly deal with the new security model. There are also many more 'under the hood' enhancements to Vista like SuperFetch and Previous Version(aka updated shadow copy) plus many more I probably don't know about... it was a huge step technology wise.

However the user experience didn't advance as much as the underlying technology.

Win7's underpinnings is going to stay close to Vista's however the whole user experience in Win7 is going to be completely revolutionized. Although it will have the same underpinnings as Vista people are going to be blown away by the Win7 experience... watch out Apple!

RE: Advertising
By Pirks on 10/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Advertising
By mikefarinha on 10/3/2008 11:40:27 AM , Rating: 2
Do you even know what the promiss of WinFS was?

All of the useable functionality they promissed through WinFS has been delievered in Vista.

RE: Advertising
By Pirks on 10/3/2008 4:25:30 PM , Rating: 2
Haven't seen any relational databases in place of file system in Vista. Have you?

RE: Advertising
By mikefarinha on 10/3/2008 9:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
Read this

"Why do you want WinFS?"

Every time I hear someone pining for the return of WinFS, I ask the same question as Larry. Why do you want WinFS? What problem are you trying to solve? Although it made for great PowerPoint slides, WinFS was a terrible idea, and killing it was one of the smartest things Microsoft ever did.
The reason WinFS was cut is that it didn’t actually solve a user need, it didn’t offer any compelling benefit to developers, and it dragged down overall system performance.

RE: Advertising
By Pirks on 10/4/2008 1:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
The reason WinFS was cut is that it didn’t actually solve a user need, it didn’t offer any compelling benefit to developers
Then why was MS boasting about this useless piece of crap in the first place?

RE: Advertising
By rdeegvainl on 10/4/2008 5:16:31 PM , Rating: 2
reading comprehension pal, he already answered that question. it was boasted cause it looked great on paper.

RE: Advertising
By Pirks on 10/5/2008 7:30:27 PM , Rating: 2
And so this is why I and Apple can't stop laughing - 'cause MS keeps boasting its paper towers :P Or should I say sand castles?

RE: Advertising
By kelmon on 10/3/2008 8:07:29 AM , Rating: 2
the whole user experience in Win7 is going to be completely revolutionized.

I bet that it is not. What you will almost certainly get is a version of Windows that looks a bit different but is ultimately Windows. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your opinion of the OS as a whole, but Microsoft risks a revolt if they make significant changes to the user experience. This is further compounded by Microsoft's need to keep both home and business users happy. Suffice to say, deployment of Office 2007 has not happened much in my corporation because it just looks so completely different to prior versions that users just feel lost. Users like familiarity and you can't change things too much when you have such a diverse range of users.

Revolution would be nice to see but most users don't want it. After all, who wants to learn Windows again?

And, no, I don't think that Apple has too much to worry about. Theoretically they should have been worried about Vista and look what happened there. A good release of Windows 7 may stem the defections from Windows to Mac but I can't see it reversing the trend, particularly since Apple is not standing still. If Microsoft wants switchers like myself to come back to the Windows platform then they really need to Apple to go into self-destruct again.

RE: Advertising
By Lord 666 on 10/2/2008 4:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
After one month of issues with Outlook 2003 slowness (E6600)in Vista Ultimate 32-bit and then upgrading to a Q9550 with minor improvement, I went to XP 64.

After some application issues (no Cisco VPN client for 64-bit), now happily back on XP 32

RE: Advertising
By omnicronx on 10/2/2008 5:03:16 PM , Rating: 2
The office 2003 slowness issue is usually due to add in's.. When I upgraded from XP to Vista, I had to disabled all addins. In fact if you have a Dell PC, Office 2003 comes preinstalled with the cyberlink add in, once you remove it outlook speeds up ten fold.

RE: Advertising
By Flunk on 10/2/2008 5:59:12 PM , Rating: 2
That's an office bug, if you upgrade to the newest version... they fixed that.

RE: Advertising
By mars777 on 10/6/2008 3:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
(If you pay, they fixed it) - no wonder.

RE: Advertising
By rudolphna on 10/2/08, Rating: 0
RE: Advertising
By mikefarinha on 10/2/2008 5:56:48 PM , Rating: 3
Vista SP1 has the same kernel as Server 2008

RE: Advertising
By Flunk on 10/2/2008 5:59:40 PM , Rating: 2
Most of the user space is the same too.

RE: Advertising
By codeThug on 10/2/2008 3:46:52 PM , Rating: 3
I think L. Ron Ballmer has been hitting the Ibogaine a little heavy as of late.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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