Steve Ballmer calls Apple’s Mac market share growth a ‘rounding error’

“Speaking to a group of market analysts this week, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer repeatedly mentioned Apple, including a suggestion that a growing rate of Mac adoption is statistically insignificant,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider. ‘Share versus Apple, you know, we think we may have ticked up a little tick,’ Ballmer said at the 2009 Financial Analyst Meeting, ‘but when you get right down to it, it’s a rounding error. Apple’s share change, plus or minus from ours, they took a little share a couple quarters, we took share back a couple quarters.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Ballmer’s head is a round error. And his fear is palpable.

Hughes continues, “The Microsoft executive said he expects Windows to continue to trade market share with Mac OS X back and forth, though he added he feels taking customers from Apple is a limited resource.”

MacDailyNews Take: Because, all together now: Once you go Mac you never go back, baby!

Hughes continues, “‘Apple’s share globally cost us nothing,’ Ballmer said. ‘Now, hopefully, we will take share back from Apple, but you know, Apple still only sells about 10 million PCs, so it is a limited opportunity.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, stellar businessman, that Ballmer. After all of these years, we still can’t tell if he’s stupid, delusional, a liar, or all three rolled up into one sweaty, unkempt mess. Really, now, who’d want the smartest customers; the cream of the crop, who’ve proven to repeatedly and routinely spend their money on quality (oops, therein lies Microsoft’s problem) versus those who’d rather settle for junk hardware and a derivative problematic OS in order to “save” a few bucks upfront and who are then highly likely to “trade” software with their friends, “borrow” it from work, etc. rather than buy a legit copies? (Microsoft’s other problem.)

Educated computer buyers overwhelmingly invest in Apple Macs. Cheap, uncool (as Microsoft’s own ads describe them) computer buyers wander aimlessly into Wal-Mart and shortsightedly saddle themselves with Windows PC junk. They also tend not to buy software. Certainly not like Mac users do. Software developers should take note; the smart ones have already.

Steve Ballmer never learns:

Direct link here.


  1. Maybe Balmer needs to remind himself of Newton’s Law of Motion. The law of inertia states an object that is not moving will not move until a net force acts upon it. Microsoft is not moving and Apple is a force acting upon it. The problem for Microsoft is where Apple’s force is moving them…into obsolescence.

  2. So why does Microsoft spend hundreds of millions yearly to compete against a “rounding error”? And why is that “rounding error” cleaning its clock in mobile electronics, media sales and mind share?

  3. Please don’t get too elitist on me, MDN. It is not necessary to denigrate subgroups of the human population (skinflints, clueless, uneducated, uncool, etc.) in order to make your point.

    Be realistic – for a large number of folks there is a huge difference between $500 and $1200. Some of these folks may indeed be uninformed about the true cost (and pain) of Windows PC ownership. Others may harbor valid reservations on whether or not to risk hard earned cash on an unfamiliar Mac computing environment.

    I am proud to be a Mac user. I am a Mac user by choice and inclination. And I often enjoy your pithy takes with respect to analysts, Ballmer, etc. But I really don’t care for your oft rehashed elistist take.

  4. I guess market share is like body heat – the bigger you are, the easier it is to retain. Analysts keep asking what is Apple going to create next to keep up its momentum, like all the innovation Apple has brought forth in the last decade still weren’t good enough. Meanwhile MSFT hasn’t created anything new or exciting in a decade, and yet still is the largest software peddler.

  5. The possibilities are narrowing. Either the man’s an idiot or he thinks all the rest of us are. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smirk” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Of course Ballmer doesn’t care about a few licenses, because one license is much like any other. However, the PC mfrs, like Dell and HP, care about those few percent that Apple takes, because Apple is skimming off the most profitable customers.

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