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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 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.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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