A Tale of Two Steves: Apple’s Jobs vs. Microsoft’s Ballmer

“If you picked up The New York Times in December 2000, you would have seen very different headlines than exist today. Microsoft was projected to generate revenue of $6.4 billion for the last fiscal quarter of 2000, whereas Apple, the company’s almost-lifeless competitor, was clawing to reach $1 billion in revenue,” Nick Bilton reports for The New York Times.

“‘I’m not proud of this,’ Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive said at the time, while also noting that the company would not make its quarterly revenue goals. This was same year that Steven A. Ballmer, who joined Microsoft in 1980 as the company’s first sales manager, had taken over as chief executive of Microsoft after its co-founder, Bill Gates, stepped down,” Bilton reports. “Now, it seems that Microsoft is having a moment it is not proud of. Mr. Ballmer, 57, announced on Friday that he would retire from the company within the next 12 months.”

MacDailyNews Take: Enough with the “retire” bullshit. Ballmer finally lost Gates’ protection and was pushed out.

Big Dummy BallmerBilton reports, “Under Mr. Ballmer’s leadership for the last 13 years, Microsoft has struggled to transition from a PC-driven company to a mobile-centric one. Observing his attempts to move into new product categories has been like watching someone try to run a marathon with her shoelaces tied together. Each step has ended with a fall. As Nicholas Thompson of The New Yorker wrote: ‘Ballmer proved to be the anti-Steve Jobs’ in his tenure. ‘He missed every major trend in technology…'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A Tale of Two Steves. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

Related articles:
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s $16 billion albatross – August 23, 2013
Microsoft stock surges on Ballmer retirement news – August 23, 2013
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months as BoD initiates succession process – August 23, 2013

63 Comments

    1. I love the Bilton comment “like watching someone try to run a marathon with HER shoelaces tied together” in regards to Ballmer’s stumbling and bumbling as CEO. And missing every tech trend along the way (as did the equally culpable Gates which is why the press giving him credit as a visionary is such a joke.) Apropos. Even though we all wish for as long as it takes, we knew that the Microsoft Board wouldn’t be somnific forever.

      1. I know we would all have wanted Ballmy to stick around

        for as long as it takes…

        but I think Windows 8 may have done the job

        (coyote over the cliff takes a few seconds to realize its gonna fall… beep beep!)

    1. Enough already! We’ve had to put up with your incessant whining about bigger screens for what seems like a fucking eternity! It got real old, real quick, so go and buy the Galaxy Note we all know you want, and piss off.

    2. …the latest trends of larger phones

      I think you mean the latest FAD in FABLETS, aka Embarrasing Large Smartphones, aka Monster Monoliths, Slobbery Slabs, Blether Bricks, etc.

      NOT a large or lasting niche of mobile technology.
      Just a Temporary Trend of the Tasteless.
      :-Q***

        1. You may not be correct very often but you do seem to remember all the naysayers about the iPad mini. One in particular. Seems to be a lot of defensive people when you mention the larger screen iPhone. I have never understood that? I do believe that the iPhone 5 is larger than the 4S? Apple is not going to bring out a larger iPhone until they have another run on the current form factor manufacturing. That’s just business economics. Has nothing to do with demand. By spring or summer there will be a larger iPhone. They will drop the 4 S and will have the iPhone 6 iPhone 5 S and iPhone 5 C available. Something for everyone. There is a demand for a larger iPhone. Probably around 4.8 inches to 5 inches. Not a paphlet like so many like to use as an example to bolster their defense. And it will be a larger iPhone, not a larger Android or Windows phone. There is a difference. A huge difference. Surveys don’t mean shit! Those surveys are not about a larger iPhone. I’m not certain why all the pushback about a larger iPhone? I guess it’s cool to defend Apple for not having a larger phone by now? Kinda silly. There will still be the current size for those with small hands. It’s just another line of product for Apple. How could that possibly be bad? It can’t be. If Apple had it now it would sell like crazy. But the 5S should do very well next month. There is a lot of pent-up demand for another iPhone from all those who qualify for a new phone. And I think the fingerprint sensor will be a game changer. So Lefty, you (and millions) will just have to wait until next year for that larger iPhone. But just like the iPad mini, it will be here. And I know what you’re thinking, what will they say then? Just as when the iPad mini arrived, the silence will be deafening. You won’t hear from any of them then. So eventually you will be vindicated. Let’s face it, that doesn’t happen that often.

          1. I do remember the scepticism surrounding screen size, and as 3.5 inches was ideal for me, I was indifferent at first. But the arguments continued to boil, and I became increasingly curious as to why. It was BLN whose reasoning made the most sense to me, but it was couched in provocative language that infuriated many of the faithful. A similar scenario played out with the iPad mini, as you noted.

            This is my understanding. It seems that new memes (such as the idea that Apple would never make a larger screen device) take form and become enshrined as holy policy after enough buy-in by the faithful. Successful memes extrapolate from past practices but must mesh with the mystique of the founders and their precepts. Thus, to oppose an established meme is to challenge gospel, however apocryphal; thereby arriving in emotional territory and escalating flame wars. It can happen that new facts emerge that instantly erase the belief and a new one begins to form. Very cyclical! And organic groupthink at its finest.

        2. Ok. You have an iPad with 3 or4g. You can do facetime – so how difficult can it be to enable it to be used as a phone – if required. Not holding it to your ear like a phone but as you would if you were Skyping etc.. That allows you to phone at any time – but does not replace the phone in any way.

        1. BLN: Your Apple logo and your notable and semi-clever appropriation of a famous tech figure’s name make your posts stand out amongst pretty much everyone else’s. Along with that notability comes a subliminal presumption that what you have to say somehow means something special.

          I’ve noted the quality of your posts decline over the years. Much of what you write now is a bunch of nonsense and smacks of trolling. Your Apple logo now pretty much serves as a warning flag meaning “skip that B.S.”

          You’d be wise to just change your nom de guerre and come back with pithier comments that read as if a modicum of thought was actually exercised before you started pounding away on your keyboard.

    3. As I get older, and my vision less acute, I would not mind a “little” bit bigger iPhone. I still use the 4 and am going to upgrade on the next iteration.

      Most people have cases on their phones which add size. My current phone/case is 2 7/16″ wide (width is only issue for me as long as ratio is proportional). My wife’s case is 3/16″ wider than mine. It would be nice if Apple were to come out with a phone that is right in the middle without the need for a case.

      I actually agree with BLN, there is nothing wrong having 2 sizes in the iPhone. Little-handed ladies and ham-fisted guys might agree.

    4. ” Unless Apple brings out a larger screen … “, “… and missing out on all the latest trends of larger phones.”

      What a load of bunk. There is no trend of larger phones. There is a trend of cheaper phones.

      People don’t buy them because they want a larger phone – they buy them because they’re cheap. These larger phones look f*ing ridiculous.

  1. “Pushed out?” I would say he was drop kicked out, grabbed by the scruff of the neck and given the bum’s rush out on his chair hugging and throwing keister. Man I would loved to have heard the Bill Gates bad news call to Monkey Boy telling him “You’re out fat boy.” Well the world could always use another used car salesman, even if he’s not very good at that either.

    1. Much as I enjoy your harsh and joyful scenario, having Monkey Boy stick around for 12 months while the board gets it’s lazy ass act together does not equate to The Bum’s Rush. Dammit.

      Meanwhile, the Internet is FULL of speculation about the future of Microsoft while pining for it’s nauseating past. Gag me.

      All the world is crying for the poor, sorry fate of Microsoft. NOT ME.

      🙈🙉🙊
      💣💥
      🇭🇺🇷🇷🇦🇾❗❗
      👻
      💋💕
      😍😍😍
      😀😂😅😆
      💩💩💩
      🚽🚽🚽
      bub-bye stevie-boy!
      🎉 😆 🎊 😆

      1. Neither do I. Yes there was a small element of fantasy in my abrupt ejection scenario in terms of time frame. But before you know it he’ll be gone and some other clueless dope equally hamstrung by Gates will assume the reins who we can then pick on. I wonder if chair throwing ability will be considered in the next round of CEO suspects? Or resemblance to Charles Addams cartoon characters?

  2. What tech news media will never admit is that MS got lucky when ripping of DOS and getting scullly to sign off Apple jewels. Under duress. Without those key shenanigans, MS would be nothing but a software Application company that would require real innovative work to compete in the market.

  3. I’ve been to two, smallish ed tech convos in the last two weeks. Microsoft has not been mentioned at either of them. Not once. Apple’s iPads and Google’s Chromebooks are the hardware of choice and various flavors of online CMS’s or LMS’s are where the education market is headed. Both Windows and Office are being dropped almost entirely, and no one is complaining at all.

  4. think about what it would be like if Steve Jobs hadn’t existed:

    — people would be typing on green screen command line MS DOS machines for years longer
    — the internet would have been delayed as it couldn’t exist in today’s form without a GUI
    — BB phones wold be the epitome of tech
    — Dell would be a booming and successful company and suing Samsung for copying it’s beige PC boxes….

    etc

    the vision is scary.

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