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Ballmer tries to blow Jobs at the WSJ D8 conference but just sucks instead

Wednesday, 9 June 2010 — by

Look around you — people with gadgets. Many of them sporting an Apple logo. If you owned a Microsoft gadget, would you even know, or even care? And therein lines the digital divide between Apple and Microsoft — the former is all about people and latter is all about numbers…

Technology pundits come in two flavours; those who have some clue and those that don’t. It’s 2010 and we still have comments like:

“Apple’s iPad is sure to face stiff competition from the soon-to-hit onslaught of Android-based tablets…”

Yes, in exactly the same way the entire PC industry is hot on the on the slow heals of that expensive boutique PC company Apple. That wasn’t even true when Apple really only did PCs, but now they’re a consumer electronics company.

In essence, Apple are about people and Microsoft are all about numbers. And as a testimony to Microsoft, that’s always been the case. In the past, it didn’t matter that their software was crap because no one could get at the air supply to breathe life into their own businesses — Microsoft just stood there with a baleful grin on their faces, with a foot on the hose.

Steve Ballmer is a perfect example of how truly out of touch the Microsoft animal is. Sure, they have the successful Xbox and the up-coming Natal, but these are triumphs in spite of Microsoft and not because of them. Stories of their interdepartmental in fighting are folk lore.

Ballmer is so badly out of touch, he, like the tech’ pundits just can’t see what’s in front of them, not even when the arrogant and dictatorial Steve Jobs paints a very clear picture of a bleak future for the PC as a device: “PCs are going to be like trucks.” To be only used by “one out of ‘x’ people”.

Ballmer fired back. OK, first off, he shouldn’t have even bitten, but he’s an idiot, so you can expect that. Instead of talking up Microsoft, he instead gets drawn into a defensive posture and then dissin’ the iPad. To what end? Who the hell knows. Jobs presses the button and Ballmer dances. Stupid.

“I think there will exist a general purpose device that does everything you want, because I don’t think the whole world’s going to be able to afford five devices per person,” Ballmer said.

Ballmer makes two claims and ends up being wrong on all three. No, I’ve not lost my ability to count, but Ballmer’s doesn’t have the ability of foresight, which Jobs does. Why? Apple are about people and Microsoft are about numbers.

Firstly, I don’t have PC anymore. It’s too much hassle having one around the house when for a little more, you get mobility thrown in. That’s not just my thinking, it’s the thinking of a ton more people who want something that fits in a pocket that’ll let them do the web / email thing while out and about.

Secondly, while Jobs would surely love for lots of people to keep buying their products, I find myself yet again pulling people back years in time to remind them of a comparison Jobs made of Apple to BMW. Not everyone owns a BMW, nor do you hear people making endless criticisms of BMW because they don’t sell as many cars as Ford. There’s a really good reason for this, people.

And thirdly, Apple won’t (and currently aren’t) the only gadget manufacturer in town. So not every one of your five gadgets per person will have an Apple logo on it. You can’t exactly drag your PC into a nightclub to use the webcam just to film some of your friends, now can you? That’s why we have video cameras on our mobile phones. A poor example, perhaps. But I’m sure you can fill in the rest.

Ballmer is probably partially sighted in so far as the depth of his perception; he has to believe that Microsoft’s business model will persist. The problem for Microsoft is, they’re just not at the centre of things any more. Yes, they have a mobile OS, but as a percentage of the mobile operating system market, Microsoft is losing ground to Apple and Google’s Android, even shrinking back as of last year.

And since the future is all about the mobile OS and consumer electronics, this does not bode well for Microsoft at all. Remember the Zune? Do you even remember the Kin? They launched that thing only a few months ago! Microsoft totally undermine their own people, crushing the life out of the innovative men and women who could — if nurtured and left to their own devices (literally), instead of having their ideas and idealism sucked out into spreadsheets and customer clinics —easily move Microsoft forward.

Devices? Some of you may recall Courier, a truly innovative stab at a tablet device that actually didn’t look, feel and work like laminated dog shit. Where’s that now? Gone. It really is anyone’s guess why they killed it, but I’m willing to bet my pound / dollar / yen / euro to your penny that some heavy-weight department went whining to some executive to execute the device for some insubstantial and fabulously stupid reason, as has been the case many a time in the past.

Apple recently breezed passed Microsoft in market capitalization. OK, market cap’ is a little like fantasy numbers, but there’s enough seriously-minded financial people taking this indicator seriously.

Innovation, true innovation, begins and ends with people. Microsoft have innovative people, but they’re trodden under foot by the sales men and women eyeing ever more market share. Apple on the other hand are squeezing every last ounce of creativity out of their army of innovators. Both want market share, but only understands the power of people…

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Regulars


Comment and be known


Mike → Saturday, 26 June 2010 @ 13:40 BDT

To be fair they both suck as hard as each other.

Andrew MacDonald → Saturday, 19 February 2011 @ 23:30 BDT

Great article Wayne.

You should consider putting a Facebook Like button on your blog mate. I was looking for one to share this post, and didn’t because I couldn’t find a button. :-)

Mark W. → Thursday, 28 April 2011 @ 8:42 BDT

When Ballmer upon the release of the original iPhone said that it wouldn’t catch on with business people. That proved he doesn’t have a clue about certain things.

Sorry Comments are close. Quite possibly for a good reason. Share your thoughts on some of my other posts or contact me directly.

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