Today, Tuesday the 5th of October Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft who once likened Linux to cancer and who did that funny dance on the stage ridiculed so often on Youtube, went to the London School of Economics to talk about his favorite subject – Microsoft.
Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches…
Steve Ballmer – Microsoft CEO (source: The Register 2001)
The Time was 830-930, the venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building (and if you are interested you can see the announcement here)
For those expecting a “monkey boy dance” (see end of article) they were in for a disappointment and an X-factor style display was not on the cards for attendees – in fact its being commented on by many who were in attendance that the talk was somewhat….lacking. As you can imagine though, Steve Ballmer apparently was full of enthusiasm that one could expect from a used car salesman and he covered many topics from China to Tablets to Windows Mobile 7 and the cloud. When I say cover though, its appears in the very loosest sense of the word.
Since this is a topic that’s currently in the headlines, let start with that (which Steve Ballmer said)
Piracy in China is eight times worse than in India and 20 times worse than in UK. Enforcement of the law needs to be stepped up
So far so good? Well no, lets cast our minds back a few years and hear Bill Gates on China and Piracy:
… about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don’t pay for the software, someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.
So one could argue that if there is a “piracy” problem in China, it’s because of encouragement by Microsoft? Well not any more, its time to pay the up. The “addicts” have been given “free software” for long enough?
Ballmer on Windows 7 Mobile
I think with our new Windows phone that when we launch people will look at them and say wow…
Really? Are you sure Mr Ballmer? I’m certainly not seeing much excitement on the Web for your “new” product and certainly from my own observations of the average consumer, they are not even aware of it, let alone that it’s coming out in about a week. Please don’t take my word for it, ask the average mainstream consumer – I think you will find that they want an iPhone or the Android platform.
To be fair to Microsoft (and those who actually remember the Kin) people did say “wow” when that was released (then killed after a few weeks) but wasn’t that more of a “wow, Microsoft thinks they can sell this?” and its alleged that the Kin was responsible for Ballmer only getting approximately 50% of the bonus he could have received. If you missed reading about the Kin (and nobody would blame you it was so short-lived) you can catch up here.
Ballmer on Software patents
We think that the law ought to be reformed to reflect modern times. But if you ask me in general ‘are we better off with today’s patent system, or no system?’ We’re better off with today’s patent system….
Yes Ballmer, we see that with the way you sign “deals” with HTC et al in regards to alleged patent infringements. It seems the current system is working very nicely for you since it’s a way you can attempt to tackle competition, competition I may add which doesn’t produce disasters like the Kin or sends its bloggers off to a Linux powered competitor because it wants to kill off another of its services (and you can read about the Microsoft Live spaces closing here)
Thoughts from the net
One thing that stands out from the articles I have read is that Ballmer is not taken seriously. There have been numerous reports of Steve Ballmer avoiding questions (which is no surprise in the face of the competitors products). Lets examine a few points that I think are pertinent to this article:
El Reg asked Ballmer if he thought the operating system was effectively dead, given the company’s shift into cloud computing. We also wanted to know what that meant for development of Windows 8, and finally to his thoughts on Google’s Chrome OS……The Microsoft boss chose to stonewall our questions.
and the same reporter concludes with:
Redmond’s top man – whose favourite game on the Xbox is “volleyball, baby” – now finds himself in the unenviable position of having to convince Wall Street investors that MS stock is worth buying again
With titles such as “Ballmer stutters on questions at LSE” and comments that he avoided questions, one could be forgiven for getting the impression that the talk did not go that well.
Lets now look at what is being said on Twitter by Tim Anderson:
Ballmer has been asked some good questions but not answered them other with woolly generatlisations
Which comes as little surprise to me, as when you ask difficult questions to some of the Microsoft faithful all you get are “woolly generalizations” he goes on:
someone ought to list all the questions Ballmer has not answered here at the LSE
I think you get the idea and I stand by my prediction that Ballmer will be gone by mid 2011. One worrying thing that was reported:
……Ballmer seemed to suggest he himself would return to London for the world launch of the platform ……
Return to London? Thanks for the warning. Lets hope Windows 7 Mobile goes the way of the Kin before then.
Talking of London though (and my prediction) maybe there is hope for Ballmer in a West End show after Microsoft is finished with him? To end on a lighter note, lets remind ourselves of whats dubbed “The Monkey Boy Dance” and maybe look forward to Steve Ballmer appearing on stage in a pantomime in the near future?
Goblin – email@example.com
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