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10/19/2011
01:51 AM
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Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype

At the Web 2.0 Summit Tuesday, Steve Ballmer took aim at Google, calling Android an OS for computer scientists. But that's not all he had to say.

Back when Microsoft was just slinging its Windows operating system and its Office productivity applications, Web 2.0 Summit would have been the last place that the company's CEO would have found himself. But there Steve Ballmer was on Tuesday in San Francisco, closing down the day with a fire, charm, and wit that the audience hadn't seen in two days. He battled conference chairman and host John Battelle, dished a little dirt toward Apple and Google, and proclaimed Skype the company's social play.

Ballmer

Battelle and Ballmer began their duel with Bing: Battelle reminded Ballmer that he had said Bing would one day grow up and surprise us all, and in fact, through Microsoft's partnership with Yahoo, Bing is now the number two player behind Google. Ballmer issued a challenge to the audience, saying to compare the search engines. He's betting that 70 percent of people won't care, 15 percent would like Bing's results, and the other 15 percent would like Google's. His point: Bing has raised its relevance.

Battelle then pressed Ballmer on social, asking whether that market had officially passed Microsoft by, but Ballmer responded: "We picked our play--connectivity to people." In other words, Skype offers a more one-on-one, or personal approach to social. When asked if Google Hangouts was a potential threat to Skype, Ballmer noted Skype's integration with Facebook.

Ballmer and Battelle shared a few laughs about Microsoft's failed attempt to acquire Yahoo years ago for more than $40 billion. "We would have closed that deal just about post-Lehman Brothers," Ballmer without masking the irony; "sometimes...you're lucky."

On the cloud, Ballmer said "all in, baby," adding that in the enterprise "we are winning, winning, winning, winning." When asked to clarify, he said Microsoft was beating Google 98 percent of the time, but narrowed that just to applications in the cloud, saying that market in particular was where customers were more accepting of the cloud.

Platform as a service, Ballmer said, still has a long road ahead. But he said Microsoft is well positioned to capitalize now (through its virtualization technology) and in the future (with Azure).

Ballmer also touted the evolution of Kinect, citing deals Microsoft has signed with National Geographic, Sesame Street, and other companies that would bring new Kinect and Bing-powered experiences to the XBox platform in time for the holiday season. New experiences are also coming--ones that will enable gesture and voice-based search using Kinect.

Finally Ballmer took aim at Google and Apple, first touting the beauty of Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8, but also calling Android an operating system for computer scientists, and perhaps referencing Apple when he talked about products that presented "a sea of icons." He did acknowledge that Microsoft needs to do more to drive down the price of mobile devices.

See more of what Ballmer had to say at Web 2.0:

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fireball74
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fireball74,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/28/2011 | 11:05:25 PM
re: Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype
So if you can't beat them, trash talk and act cocky? Seems to be the strategy of MS these days.

I don't use Bing. I won't use Bing. I have tried it, and I have found it lacking good context search for my purposes. I tried two searches side by side, one on Bing, and one on Google. Google pulled up exactly what I wanted. That was enough for me on that.

Windows 7 is much more stable these days than it's predecessors, but I miss Mac OS X for some things that Windows is without.

I have both LibreOffice and MS Office 2010. I use LibreOffice most of the time because I like it better and it's much more familiar than the latest Office interface. Office is just there for compatibility.

I have yet to play with the latest Winphone, but I enjoy my Android phone a lot. It's relatively stable, and I have the apps I need for everyday work and play.

When Ballmer took over as MS CEO, I pretty much lost faith in the company. At least the smart fellows in that organization are keeping it afloat. Ballmer just comes across as a redneck buffoon to me.
jrodriguez95101
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jrodriguez95101,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2011 | 4:33:34 AM
re: Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype
What MS needs a a CEO reboot. Mr Ballmer doesn't do MS any favors. MS has good products, and good engineer but it just need better leaders.
ajones320
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ajones320,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2011 | 11:13:46 AM
re: Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype
Well, he really wanted to trash Windows Phone 7, but someone told him that this wouldn't be a good idea.
whitehat
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whitehat,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2011 | 6:52:06 AM
re: Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype
Mr. Ballmer should not trash Microsoft's most profitable mobile operating system. Thanks to the extortion racket, Android helps pay Mr. Ballmer's salary - even if it was developed by Google and Linux contributors. Didn't they teach Ballmer to not look a gift horse in the mouth?
KMT
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KMT,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2011 | 6:33:44 AM
re: Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype
If we were to believe Steve Balmer about those using Android we would have millions of computer scientists in this world. Including my 8 years boy who loves playing Android apps on his tablet and phone.
Fill
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Fill,
User Rank: Strategist
10/20/2011 | 4:35:02 AM
re: Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype
When a CEO says he's "lucky" his plan failed (buying Yahoo) and plays the room like a comic, he's jumped the shark.
daniael
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daniael,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2011 | 9:15:16 PM
re: Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype
Sure hope that Mr Ballmer will continue to share his enthusiasm and energy with Microsoft, us as developers and finally (that last and not the least) as customers!
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
10/19/2011 | 9:08:29 PM
re: Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype
If you search using Yahoo, you are going "to Bing". I use Google and Bing about equally, but Yahoo Search the most. Results are similar in all, but Bing has some nice features and is a great search tool. Google is like Kleenix, they all wipe the same.
ANON1237925156805
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ANON1237925156805,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2011 | 8:48:12 PM
re: Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype
Call me when "to bing" is in the dictionary and/or when Office and Windows become lean and mean and/or when Microsoft has a truly innovative core idea in any of these spaces. (Tiny things like different metaphors on a mobile phone touch screen don't count.)

Don't worry, I won't hold my breath. I will hold my iPhone at the ready hoping for some good news out of Redmond. When it comes I promise to google and read all about it.

All humor aside, this is very sad. The fact is that Microsoft never prepared for the inevitable end of the hegemonic model where dominance in the enterprise begat dominance in the enterprise and in turn in the home. It's kind of like IBM in the 80s or Apple in the 80s-90s. You can't take your core market for granted while you coast. Simple as th at.

Alas Mr. Ballmer has not shown the right stuff and Bill Gates as chairman enables this by not bringing in better talent. These are smart caring people. They have to know on some level that at its core Microsoft lacks the culture to win on nimbleness, innovation, and execution. Mr. Gates in particular is too smart not to see this. He's still chairman and he's got a lot invested in Microsoft-literally and figuratively.

Excellence and innovation are what Apple and Google have in abundance. Neither of them is perfect by a long chalk, but excellence is a great filler in of imperfections while shoddiness and mediocrity of execution accentuate every flaw. We all benefit from having Microsoft at the table. So please please make the big leap. This ain't it. Denying it doesn't change the facts any more than pretending that your favorite NFL team has a shot at the Super Bowl with a 4 and 10 record.
Tronman
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Tronman,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2011 | 6:21:22 PM
re: Microsoft's Ballmer Trashes Android, Touts Skype
Why does MS keep this albatross around its neck? He hasn't a shread of credibility. That being said, I'll put my W7 PC up against a Mac any time.
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