“So what does Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer do when he faces a room of press and financial analysts toting a bunch of Macs? He counts Apple logos,” Larry Dignan reports for ZDNet. “During his talk about search, netbooks, Windows 7 and the business climate, Ballmer took a detour into Apple-ville and how Microsoft tracks share versus Apple.”

Excerpts from Steve Ballmer’s speech:

We have low share, by the way, in the investor audience. I can see the Apple logos versus the PC logos. So we have more work to do, more work to do. Our share is lower in this audience than the average audience. Don’t hide it. I’ve already counted them. I have been doing that since we started talking.

Anyway, we got a bank them right here in the middle. I know where they all are. One over here on the side. But anyway… that’s okay, feel free as long as you are using Office to go right on ahead.

The primary attack that comes from Apple is, hey, at the end of the day, we have the coolest hardware. When you see the hardware, the PC design that is am come out this Christmas with Windows 7, I think that conventional wisdom can begin to really change. There is some really amazing, amazing work. So it is possible to get great hardware innovation, even when hardware and software comes from separate companies.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

By SteveJack

This, of course, is exactly what Ballmer wants his investors and his customers to think. Concentrate only on the hardware, not on the OS, which, BTW, is what Microsoft makes; not PC hardware. This is one of Microsoft’s weakest attempts to freeze the market in recent memory. Does he really think we’ll believe that Dell et al. are building factories to mill ultra-thin, precision unibody laptops out of solid aluminum like Apple? Puleeze. Not with their margins (or lack thereof). And, besides, no matter what they produce, they’ll still have crappy Windows and tons of other assorted crapware pre-installed. And, stickers; don’t forget the stickers.

So, why, some may ask, doesn’t Ballmer just say, “Hey, Apple makes cool, quality hardware, so run Windows on it!”

The reason he doesn’t say such a thing, especially in a room full of press and financial analysts, is because he knows that it’s death. If people did that, buy “cool” Macs to run Windows, then they’d also get to dabble in Mac OS X. In Microsoft’s land of mediocrity and worse, this is A Very Bad Thing™. The Very Worst Thing Of All™, in fact.

Obviously, as many of you know firsthand, Windows-only sufferers who are confronted with Mac OS X routinely and quite joyously end up dumping Windows. In fact, the Windows-to-Mac switchers end up being some of Apple’s very best salespeople. Ballmer knows all this, of course, but he can’t say it, so instead he pretends that this whole Apple Mac thing is only about “cool” hardware, as if Monkey Boy were actually capable of discerning cool. Ballmer’s spiel only works on those who’ve never really tried a Mac; the rest of us just laugh.

This is how Microsoft makes their money, it’s really the only way they’ve ever made their money, on the backs of the ignorant. Ignorance is the key to Microsoft’s success. Just look at their commercials in which Microsoft peddles cheap, junky, thick, heavy, and uncool (one of the actors even says she’s not cool enough for a Mac) laptops that they don’t even make. Microsoft ignores the OS – the actual part of the “PC” that they make – altogether. Microsoft avoids the Windows vs. Mac operating system comparison for one simple reason: They cannot compete. So, sticker price is all they have left. Ballmer, like the rest of us, knows that if you give people both Windows and Mac OSes to use, they overwhelmingly choose Mac. That’s why in a room full of people in-the-know, he’s facing a room full of Macs with glowing Apple logos.

This situation, of course, is why Microsoft will ultimately lose and Apple will win. In a head-to-head matchup of Windows vs. Mac, it’s no contest. Microsoft’s only remaining technique it to try to keep as many sheep as possible in the dark. Microsoft’s last refuge is to pretend that the people who buy Macs are somehow glamoured by a glowing Apple logo and not making a sensible choice, “paying $500 for a logo,” etc. Basing your business on a lie guarantees failure. Unfortunately for Microsoft, there are too many Apple retail stores, too many satisfied customers who talk way too much about their satisfaction, and far too many roomfuls of Mac-toting financial analysts and members of the press.

Oh, BTW, not content to merely fleece the ignorant sheep, Ballmer also promised to rape them, too:

Gavin Clarke reports for The Register, “Ballmer said Microsoft had got it wrong by selling low-priced Windows – Windows XP – on netbooks. These run Windows XP and account for 11 per cent of Microsoft’s PC business, but Microsoft’s tactic of using low price to win market share against Linux has hurt its revenue.”

“With Windows 7, Ballmer vowed prices would go up, and Microsoft had a ‘great chance’ to up-sell customers,” Clarke reports. “It sounded like the upsell will come from Windows XP on netbooks to Windows 7 on netbooks and from Windows 7 on netbooks to Windows Home Premium on ultra-thin machines. ‘In Windows 7, we are going re-adjust those prices north,’ Ballmer told analysts looking for the bottom line and dismayed by the impact of netbook sales on Microsoft’s business.”

Full article here.

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.