Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer chats with BusinessWeek editors about Web 2.0’s sky-high valuations and the new competition the company faces.
Some questions and answers involved Apple:
BW: Who are Microsoft’s top competitors?
Ballmer: Guys who can touch us in multiple places probably matter more than guys who can touch us in any one place. And actually we don’t really have our big competition from any one company. Any one company, we know how to compete with… there are cases where software gets monetized through hardware. That’s what an iPod is. iPod is a software thing. You just happen to collect the money on the hardware.
BW: Does Zune fit into the hardware piece of this?
Ballmer: Sure it does. Because the value of Zune, if we’re successful, is all in the software. It’s in community [the ability to share music and pictures with other Zune users]. I want to squirt you a picture of my kids. You want to squirt me back a video of your vacation. That’s a software experience. The truth is, though, if it makes money, it will be built into the gross margin on the hardware. We’ll figure out how to make money on the community perhaps later though advertising or other means.
BW: How much money will you lose per Zune?
Ballmer: None. Apple put the hammer down there, dropped the price down to $249. If they had been $299, it would have been nicer. They have the advantage of scale. So we’re at $249, too. We don’t make a lot of money, not to start out.
Full article here.
Chunky Zunes can squirt brown, er.. brown Zunes can squirt chunks? What’s chunky and brown and squirts, again? Each Zune should come with a free bottle of Kaopectate in the box. And, excellent business plan you have there, Balmy: “If it makes money… We don’t make a lot of money, not to start out… We’ll figure out how to make money on the community perhaps later.” What a joke.
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