Ballmer: ‘Apple, because they went through the valley of the shadow of death, are the darling again’

Microsoft’s chief executive officer recently sat down with CNET for a Q&A session.

Mike Ricciuti reports for CNET on one of the quetsions:

CNET: Thinking about the Windows Live announcement, there were some pretty harsh comments from analysts and from other sources around the Web. By contrast, Apple Computer usually gets this overwhelmingly positive response to almost anything it does–ditto for Google. Does that make you angry at times? How can you fix that?

Ballmer: There’s sort of the good news and the bad news. The good news is, the expectations are higher for us–frankly, I think–than for anyone else. These people think a lot of us, and it’s hard to always meet those demands. And we’re the big guy. We were the little guy for a while, we had a 10-year run where we were the darling. Apple, because they kind of went through the valley of the shadow of death and have emerged, they are the darling again, even though they have been around for a while. And Google is still in that early phase. I know we’re doing good work. As long as we are doing good work and innovative work and exciting work, the customers are going to look at that, and they are not going to start and end with the analyst reports. They’ll start and end with the actual products we deliver.

Full article here.

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MacDailyNews Take: This is why you don’t hire the sales guy to run a company. It all sounds great until you realize this is Microsoft we’re talking about here and the phrases Ballmer spews mean about as much as any politician’s on the stump. Clear-eyed customers have looked and are looking at Microsoft’s work and seeing a morass of bloat and security failures that cost users billions of dollars. (Why hasn’t there been a massive class action lawsuit against Microsoft for Windows’ obvious problems that cost customers so much valuable time and money? If there’s one thing Microsoft has, besides a mountain range of ill-gotten dollars, it’s a stable of lawyers who know how to write EULAs exempting Microsoft from any and all responsibility.)

How Ballmer thinks Microsoft is doing “good, innovative, and exciting” work is beyond comprehension – until your realize he’s a sales guy. Those are obviously his replacement words for the ones that don’t really sell very well, yet are nonetheless much closer to reality: “mediocre-at-best, derivative, boring, late, bloated, counterintuitive, time-wasting, and insecure.” In his closing line, Ballmer gets it right, smart customers will “start and end with the actual products” Microsoft delivers; mainly “end.”

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Analyst: ‘there are definitely a lot of people joining Apple Mac ecosystem for the first time’ – November 08, 2005
Analyst estimates over a million Windows to Mac switchers during 2005’s first three quarters – November 07, 2005
Windows sufferers: It’s not your fault, but it is your problem – switch to Mac – November 07, 2005
Tech writer: Windows PCs highly vulnerable to zombie hijacking; get an Apple Mac instead – November 06, 2005
Windows switchers, now’s your chance: Apple Mac mini with Mac OS X Tiger for $379 – November 03, 2005
Microsoft announces, er, Web-based services – November 02, 2005
Computer columnist: anti-virus software purely optional for Apple Macs, not so for Windows – November 01, 2005
Microsoft apologists and why Apple’s Mac OS X has zero viruses – October 24, 2005
$500 bounty offered for proof of first Apple Mac OS X virus – September 27, 2005
Symantec: 10,866 new Microsoft Windows virus and worm variants in first half 2005 – September 19, 2005
Hackers already targeting viruses for Microsoft’s Windows Vista – August 04, 2005
16-percent of computer users are unaffected by viruses, malware because they use Apple Macs – June 15, 2005
ZDNet: How many Mac OS X users affected by the last 100 viruses? None, zero, not one, not ever – August 18, 2005
Intel CEO Otellini: If you want security now, buy a Macintosh instead of a Wintel PC – May 25, 2005
97,467 Microsoft Windows viruses vs. zero for Apple Mac’s OS X – April 05, 2005
Millions of Windows PC’s hijacked by hackers, turned into zombies; Macintosh unaffected – September 08, 2004
Defending Windows over Mac a sign of mental illness – December 21, 2003


  1. Well nothing this guy says surprises any of us here. The MDN take is right on the money again…this is the sales guy, so he’s going to talk a lot of rubbish and put a positive spin on everything.
    Emil and Ruth are right too.

    Stay tune to MDN for breaking news that matters!

  2. He’s right to say the largest arse will get fired at first, but what he couldn’t say is that Microsoft has been on a five year negative spiral.. and it’s few attempts to stop the spin downwards are not looking great. Which means it will continue and the more at risk they are of perception becoming reality.

    Glad I switched horses all those years ago…though I don’t know about you, but I do get irritated when some vehement Windoze defenders have come over to Mac to become more self-righteous and smart-arsed than ever they were before! Guess folk who started with Lisa and Apple II think that about me too!

  3. Forget expectations, higher or not. Forget even the quality of the products. The fact is that the “Live” introduction was rubbish, the powerpoint slides particularly so. When Jobs does an intro it’s well done. Apple do their presentations right, they let their products speak for them just as much as Jobs does – luckily their products can then go on to back them up.

  4. MDN, thanks for the article and all, but do you have to post that disgusting picture of Ballmer The Hutt? It so closely resembles his deceased cousin, Jabba, that I nearly lost my breakfast. It reminds me of how Jabba used to stick his tongue out and swirl it around right before he ate that frog. Gross!

    MW: nature, as in “Ballmer The Hutt is not a product of nature.”

  5. Microsoft chose the wrong time to initiate their “Live” product. It was much too soon. No small company will trust sending data over the internet on a server based application when Microsoft is still plagued by so many security issues. I wouldn’t trust it either, no mater how many people say that it is safe because it uses VPN or somthing.

    Microsoft will loose money on this project. In a few years, Apple will then enter the fray with a new office suite that will be server based, intuative, easy, and secure. It will just work and be oh so consumer friendly. It will quickly become the package consumers use the most, and Apple will emerge as the vicor while Microsoft falters further.

  6. Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!


    Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Expectations!

    *wipes sweat from forehead*

    Microsoft! Microsoft! Microsoft! Microsoft! Microsoft! Microsoft! Microsoft! Microsoft! Quality! Quality! Quality! Quality! Quality! Apple! Apple! Apple! Apple! Apple!

    *passes out and sees whilte light at the end of the tunnel — its a white, shining apple*

  7. MDN asks…

    “Why hasn’t there been a massive class action lawsuit against Microsoft for Windows’ obvious problems that cost customers so much valuable time and money?”


    Because it doesn’t rank nowhere near as serious as having your iPod screen get scratched.

    – Mark

  8. “Damn, Apple… I’ll fscking bury them”. Looks around feverishly for a chair but the room is bare.

    “Damn it, somebody get me a clue. I need a fscking clue! Get that little weener Rob Glaser in here. What’s he doing with all that money we gave Real”.

    “Get me that Wong guy on the phone. Lets partner up with Creative to bury Apple. We’ll give away free music and put RealPlayer on Creative hardware. God I’m good”.

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