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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 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.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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