Microsoft CEO Ballmer: ‘Apple iPod users are music thieves’

“Speaking to an exclusive gathering of press in London on a number of issues, such as security, Steve Ballmer didn’t pass up the opportunity to take several digs at his company’s arch rival Apple,” Andy McCue reports for “At the heart of the debate is Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology which will let content providers such as record labels and movie studios keep control of their intellectual property (IP) – or at least ensure all royalties are paid and copyright observed.”

Andy McCue reports for, “Billing Microsoft as the good guys and Apple the villains of the piece – at least as far as corporate America, rather than users, is concerned, Ballmer said: ‘We’ve had DRM in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an iPod is ‘stolen.’ However, Ballmer conceded it isn’t going to be an easy battle to win. ‘Most people still steal music,’ he said. ‘We can build the technology, but there are still ways for people to steal music.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Ballmer’s correct about “stealing,” then any player capable of playing unprotected music would be the tools of thieves the world over. Interesting, Ballmer focuses only on Apple’s iPod and leaves the Dell DJ’s of the world out of his critique. And, unfortunately for Ballmer, Apple’s so far ahead, he needs a high powered telescope just to be able to see the iPod maker’s cloud of dust.


  1. This is rich! How come, a large part of the stolen digital contents are in .wma and .wmv format? How come video and audio piracy is strongest in countries that are not Apple strongholds?
    How do you know when Ballmer is lying? His lips are moving!

  2. Last time I checked the online authorities were more concerned with video and movie pirating than they were with illegal music. Guess who is releasing a portable video player to aid all those video pirates, well the master pirate of them all, M$. The hipocrazy is delicious.

  3. This totally scans

    The people I know who have PCs never purchase software, it is all pirate – games, applications, music, video – you name it.

    In fact, one of the reasons I commonly hear for justifying a decision for a PC over a Mac is that “oh well, (we/they/I) can copy more software from their friends at school/college/workplace’.

    For Ballmer to pitch MS Environments as some kind of haven from software/audio/video pirates … get real nutty break-dance boy!

  4. Mr. Ballmer should change his name to Richard Head.

    I have spent real money on over 8,000 legally purchased compact discs and my wife has spent well above $1000 on *legally* purchased iTunes tracks (and now she’s getting into Audible books). My wife and I both have Master’s degrees and we make enough money that we PAY for what we want; we NEVER steal. We also have 5 fully funtional Macs in our household and 3 iPods that we *legally* purchased. I’m sure that there are *many* other people who could say something similar.

    Oh, and by the way, I don’t use Microsoft products. Sorry Mr. Ballmer.

  5. Mer (he’s got no balls) says:

    “We�ve had DRM in Windows for years.”

    Oh…they can protect content, but not their operting system? Please. The most common software on WinDoze is “stolen.” It matches their GUI, most of their non-functionality, and the personal and financial information of people dumb enough to use it.

  6. It’s logical extension time.

    The majority of iPod customers are – somewhat ironically – Windows users.

    Therefore, Ballmer is – in effect – accusing his own customers of being thieves.

    Now I’ve never read any sales or marketing manuals, but I should imagine that calling your own customers’ honesty into question is not exactly taken from the pages of “How to win friends and influence people”.

  7. I am a first generation iPod user. My degree is in Radio Management and spent three years within the music industry. Since the iTMS opened up, I have used it as my new means of buying music. While I’ll lend out my CDs to people, I always tell them if they like what they hear, they should buy it. Yes, most artists make jack from CD sales and more money from their concerts and merchandise sales, but the only way they really get promoted is through the record labels which means they need the strong CD sales to get that advertising.

    To say that iPod users are thieves and to lump me in with that crowd is offensive. It could be thought of as libel.

  8. But hey isn’t the iPod’s library just a mirror of the user’s library on their computer. So it doesn’t matter what device they use, the actual pirated content is on their computer.

    And to think this man is in charge of a multi billion dollar business.

    It obvious he got his position through his dancing skills because that appears to be the only thing he is good at (insert sarcastic grin here)

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