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5/27/2010
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Ballmer Unfazed By Apple's Gains

Microsoft chief says the fact his company now lags rival in terms of market capitalization is no big deal.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is shrugging off news that his company has been surpassed by rival Apple in terms of market value.

"We are executing very well, that's going to lead to great products and great success," said Ballmer, at a press conference Thursday in New Delhi.




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"I will make more profits and certainly there is no technology company on the planet which is as profitable as we are," Ballmer said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Stock markets will take care of the rest," Ballmer added.

Ballmer's remarks came a day after Microsoft closed the trading day with a market capitalization of $219 billion, compared to $221 for Apple. When Ballmer assumed Microsoft's corner office a decade ago, the company was worth $556 billion, while Apple's market cap at the time was just $15.6 billion.

But while Ballmer is publicly downplaying his rival's gains, there's no question he sees Apple's inroads in the mobile and tablet markets—on the strength of the iPhone and iPad--as a clear and present threat to Microsoft's dominance in personal computing.

Faced with flop after flop in the consumer device space—the most recent being the poorly received KIN line of feature phones—Ballmer earlier this week imploded the unit that oversees those products.

Gone in the shakeup are Entertainment and Devices Division president Robbie Bach, a 22-year Redmond veteran who is "retiring" at age 48, and design and development senior VP J Allard.

With no replacement named for Bach, Ballmer now assumes more direct oversight of E&DD—which houses key consumer products like the Xbox, Zune, and Windows Mobile. Ballmer's revamp of the unit may be a last ditch effort to reverse its fortunes.

In the first nine months of Microsoft's 2010 fiscal year, hardware and hardware-related sales were down 5% year-over-year, to $6.5 billion. Xbox and PC game revenue fell 5% during that period, while Windows Mobile and Zune revenue was off 4%.

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