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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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The Bigger Man
By clovell on 10/13/2010 12:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
The bigger news story is that Microsoft is working towards allowing WP7 to synch with iTunes.

If that isn't a self-confident middle finger to Steve Jobs & co., then I don't know what is.




RE: The Bigger Man
By BailoutBenny on 10/13/2010 2:55:48 PM , Rating: 2
This is actually a really good move by MS if they do it. The Zune interface and software is infinitely better than iTunes. If the user can import their iTunes library to Zune, I could see this really taking a bite out of Apple.


"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)














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