Microsoft CEO Ballmer grilled about Apple at annual shareholders meeting

MacMall 96 Hour Apple SaleMicrosoft held their annual meeting with shareholders this morning. These are presumably a group of people for whom rapid rises in the value of their shares is anathema.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer “had plenty to say—particularly in response to shareholder questions about Macs, Windows, and the company’s struggle to regain its footing in the market for mobile phones,” Todd Bishop reports for Portfolio.

“One shareholder told Ballmer that he believes Microsoft has a poor reputation compared with Apple among younger computer users, and particularly college students. ‘I’m just wondering why your marketing group can’t do something to try to rein in this next generation, because you’ve got a real bad image out there,’ the shareholder said, saying that Apple’s ads make the Redmond company look ‘like a buffoon,'” Bishop reports.

MacDailyNews Take: As if Microsoft’s choice of an actual buffoon for CEO hasn’t had any impact whatsoever.

“[Ballmer said] ‘There’s certainly always opportunities for improvement,’ acknowledging that there ‘is a group of people with whom our market share is less,'” Bishop reports. “[Ballmer said ‘]It is important to remember that 96 times out of 100 worldwide, people choose a PC with Windows, that’s a good thing. Even in the toughest market, which would be the high end of the consumer market here in the U.S., 83 times out of 100 people choose a Windows PC over a Mac.’ He added, ‘We’re working hard on it. Windows 7 I think gives us a real opportunity to come back again at some audiences that have been tougher for us. Frankly, the economy is good for us, because people do understand that Macintoshes are quite a bit more expensive for essentially the same computer…but we have opportunities to improve among exactly the constituency that you identify.'”

MacDailyNews Take: “Essentially the same computer?” Ballmer can’t really believe that, can he?

Bishop reports, “Later, another shareholder asked why Microsoft and Nokia don’t team up to try to topple the iPhone and fend off Google’s Android. Ballmer focused initially on the latter, saying he’s dedicated to keeping higher market share than the new Google mobile operating system.”

MacDailyNews Take: At least Ballmer T. Clown understands that “toppling iPhone” is an unrealistic goal.

Bishop reports, “[Ballmer said] ‘I think we’re on the right strategy, which is to focus on the software that goes into phones, as opposed to building phones.'”

MacDailyNews Take: He “thinks.” He still likes his strategy. He likes it a lot. May Steve Ballmer remain Microsoft CEO (and may MSFT shareholders remain clueless) for as long as it takes!

Full article here.


  1. This Ballmer guy needs help immediately!!! Living in denial for more than 5 years is something to worry about. Shareholders and/or board doing nothing about it is also very strange. Group therapy is in order here.

    Maybe… Hopefully not.

    Agree. May Ballmer stay as long as it takes.

  2. That’s right, just keep harping on those 96 out of 100, 83 out of 100 numbers… nevermind that those customers aren’t actually “choosing” Windows. More often than not, they “choose” a computer based on hardware specs, which just happens to come with Windows preinstalled. In fact, that’s exactly the scenario Microsoft themselves painted in their Laptop Hunter ads.

    And for many of them, they’re choosing a computer that will be used primarily to access the internet. Based on the forthcoming Chrome OS, Microsoft’s going to start getting squeezed out of the bottom of the market by Google, along with Apple squeezing them out of the top. I wonder if the MS shareholders realize the nature of the coming threat.

    Ah well… for as long as it takes!

  3. “96 times out of 100 worldwide, people choose a PC with Windows”

    More often than not, people get a PC with Windows because they are just plain ignorant of something better. They are not “choosing” they are “blindly following”.

  4. Ah yes, Microsoft, constantly worried about what Apple is doing. The shareholders should be more concerned about MS finding it’s own direction, developing it’s own excellence (har har) and working on products that can re-define the company’s future. Being a “me too” and throwing money at the problem in the form of advertising, marketing and rebranding while trying to fool the customer into thinking MS makes cool stuff. Stop worrying about what Apple is doing. Fire your executive staff, break up the company into smaller divisions, and let the coders and engineers run the company.


    How many years has this crap fallen from those lips? And yet they all still seem to buy into it. The biggest problem is their monopoly position doesn’t give them the security anymore. They can’t get away with Windows only technology and have people buy into it. Look how screwed all those companies are that decided to jump onto IE6 and write web-based applications around it. They’re stuck in the past. Or those others that decided to use Microsoft’s PlaysForSure. They are all but dead. Even the stagnation of the entire computer market that centered around one OS, Windows. They lost potential upgrade sales due to the lack of inspiring software released out of Redmond. If you don’t create the software to push the hardware, then the hardware doesn’t move.

    And I’m not saying Apple is the answer. They should’ve looked for open alternatives that could be sustained and supported by more than just one company. And that’s exactly what is happening today in the smartphone market. Microsoft becomes the big loser. If you fail to move forward and advance, you only keep those willing to stay behind with you. New generations are always looking for the next thing and will inevitably move on without you.

  6. I thought it was something like 80% of sales of the ‘Premium’ computer market (say, systems costing $999 and above) were Apple machines?

    Or does this wishful thinking show us Balmer secretly ‘thinks’ he’s in charge of Apple..?

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