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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Microsoft's CEO is full of colorful, yet insightful commentary

Interviews with Microsoft's vocal chief executive, Steve Ballmer, are always entertaining.  A recent chat with The Seattle Times' Sharon Pian Chan was no exception.

In response to a question about Google CEO Eric Schmidt saying Bing was Google's chief competitor, and "a well-run, highly competitive search engine", Mr. Ballmer enthuses, "Welcome to our world, man. It's a competitive world out there. We're competing, other guys are going to compete with them. We have good competitors. Apple is a good competitor, Google is a good competitor, Oracle is a good competitor, VMware is a good competitor. We partner with Facebook, but we also compete in some dimensions with them. Hey, it's OK, just get out there and work. ... We're his best competitor, and we're a very good competitor and we're going to do a very good job."

While he might be excited to "welcome" Google to "his" world of search/competition (two things Google seems pretty well acquainted with already), he also talked about a more sober topic -- Kin.  The Kin phone project was a massive failure, with perhaps under 10,000 handsets sold after millions in investment and engineering costs.

In the interview Mr. Ballmer admits that Kin was a mess, commenting, "The No. 1 message from Kin is a message of focus. You only get so many things you can really talk about, communicate, work on with the consumer. You've got to be bold, you've got to look forward and you've got to stay focused. Kin was neither -- with 20-20 hindsight -- bold enough relative to where the market's going, and it just defocused activity from Windows Phone."

While certainly a colorful character, Mr. Ballmer seems to have a good feel about Microsoft's most promising upcoming products at least.  He states that "Windows Phone 7 or Kinect or IE9 (Internet Explorer 9)" are some of Microsoft's most exciting upcoming offerings."

Mr. Ballmer is also eagerly awaiting the launch of Windows slates to take on the iPad.

When asked about how long he would stay with the company, he replies, "I don't know. I'm working away doing the best job I know how to do. The company continues to grow. Outside my family, this is my baby. I want to make sure that, whenever I go, the baby's in great health. It's not a baby, it must be at least a teenager by now, young adult. I want to make sure the place is in very good shape."

And apparently Mr. Ballmer has a real Facebook (though there are numerous imposter Ballmer pages -- 11 by his count).  How often does he check his Facebook?  "Every day."



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RE: Search?
By Smilin on 9/30/2010 1:57:51 PM , Rating: 3
Yes lack of competition incites complacency for sure. IE6 is one of the bigger examples. Windows Phone is another big example.

With Office they've had a surprising amount of competition from themselves and that got them through to Office 2007. Now Google apps is the first viable competitor they've had in that space and MSFT has come out swinging. Office 2010 + BPOS (and to a lesser degree the free consumer equivalent on live) is impressive and they are immediately stealing customers back from google in droves.

I'm really more worried about Google than Microsoft. People talk about the "cash cows" of Windows and Office but they have many many (like 900?) viable products that *make money* and only a few deliberate money sinks like search. Google on the other hand has ONE cash cow.

You think MS is threatened by Google Apps competing with Office? Sure. They don't like that one bit and that's why we have Bing.
Think Google is threatened by Bing? Even more so. It's a direct (and serious) attack against their only source of profit.
If Bing can get under Googles skin it will give Google less time to play with their never ending pile of unprofitable beta toys.


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














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