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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer shows Ina Fried his "delightful user interface".  (Source: CNET)
Microsoft chief disses on Apple's strategy, but begrudgingly praises its tablet success

If there was one party ideally poised to deride, mock, or otherwise belittle Apple's strategy, it would be Google who is surpassingng Apple in terms of smartphone growth.  However, Google has for the most part taken the higher road.  

Microsoft, on the other hand, is on much more tenuous footing, with its own mobile market share in shambles and its hopes solely pinned on this month's launch of Windows Phone 7 (next month for U.S. customers).  That didn't stop its CEO Steve Ballmer from ripping into his Cupertino rival in a recent question and answer session with Ina Fried, writer of 
CNET's "Beyond Binary" column.

In the video interview Fried asks Mr. Ballmer about why Microsoft is forcing Windows Phone 7 partners to adopt a minimum hardware spec.  Fried presses Mr. Ballmer on whether this limits choices.  

Mr. Ballmer replies, "I think you clearly have a lot more variety than Apple has. There's really only one choice in the Apple world.  I think the problem, if you don't have a minimum kind of standard […] the brand means nothing to the user. Our brand means something to the user. It means something to the developer. It implies a certain level of consistency and high quality, which I think is important for the Windows Phone."

Mr. Ballmer, who has in the past derisively compared Macs to Mac Trucks and said that Apple users pay $500 extra for a logo, did begrudgingly admit that his fruity foe is doing exceptionally well in the tablet sector.  He comments, "You certainly see more. You certainly see more than I would like. One is more than I would like."

Despite recent studies that show the iPad to be cannibalizing users' PC time, Mr. Ballmer is confident that the tablet will not replace the PC.  He states, "Certainly someone who wants to sit and do an interview and take notes and scroll around, they are unlikely to find that device very comfortable. It doesn't stand up on its own. It doesn't have a big screen and keyboard. I'm not taking anything away from what Apple has done and certainly we have our work cut out for us."

Mr. Ballmer refused to answer questions on how Microsoft might match Apple's instant-on iPad capability and the device's long battery life.  He would only say that you would see tablets "essentially around the holiday", a little bit of an ambiguous statement, to say the least.  He was full of optimism and enthusiasm, though, about Windows Phone 7.  

After be docked part of his bonus for the failure of the Kin smartphone line, Mr. Ballmer is convinced the new OS will be a hit with customers.  He comments, "I think we're moving fast. We've got to see how the market responds. I think we are going to get great response to the new Windows Phones and that's the key. If we get that done and we keep up the pace of good work that we are doing, I feel pretty good."

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RE: It appears my medicine has worn off....
By Luticus on 10/13/2010 10:57:24 AM , Rating: 2
It appears my medicine has worn off because I could sworn I just saw Microsoft defending choice in the market place

The only difference between now and before with windows phone 7 is that they are actually forcing a minimum spec. They have always had recommended specs but it was the companies choice to listen or not. Microsoft has always been a software company. They make the os and leave it to everyone else to make the hardware thus the customer gets more choice be default! I know Microsoft has had a bloody past full of taking out competitors but seriously... it's in the past now... has been for a while. I think it's time to move on.
Microsoft seems to have made a decent competitor in the smart phone market, even though some aspects concern me. The only weak point at the moment seems to be the tablet side which I believe they will soon correct. I think they are right to focus on one thing at a time.

Anyway… my $0.02

RE: It appears my medicine has worn off....
By finbarqs on 10/13/10, Rating: -1
By Luticus on 10/13/2010 11:31:53 AM , Rating: 4
meh, they're just playing the game. personally i don't find much fault with vista... anyone who says they love 7 and hate vista i promply stop listening to because they obviously don't know what they are talking about. Just like people who say osx is "different"... obviously have no idea what they are talking about... or have never looked at a linux/unix system before.

Anyhow, everyone's entitled to a bad predition... it's just a prediction. you're splitting hairs...

RE: It appears my medicine has worn off....
By Dingmatt on 10/13/2010 12:14:22 PM , Rating: 2
Actually he said that the Iphone 4 was Apple's Windows Vista, this was during the Antenna-gate where everyone was agreeing that Apple hires monkeys as design engineers.

By finbarqs on 10/14/2010 6:42:22 PM , Rating: 2
oh wait... I think he says that the ipad was "unimpressive"... but once it starts making sales numbers recorded by apple, they're gonna stick their foot in their mouths and copy apple.

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