Monkey Boy Ballmer’s math on Apple innovation doesn’t add up

“In the videos from his talk at Oxford’s Said Business School, Steve Ballmer said that most tech companies fail — like restaurants, I guess — and that the genius companies are ‘one-trick ponies,’ which invent a business worth billons,” David Morgenstern writes for ZDNet.

“For Microsoft, Ballmer counted 2.5 tricks: firstly, the modern PC platform, which comprises Windows software along with the Office software platform; and secondly the Windows Server platform (he described this as Microsoft in the datacenter). And finally, just a half a trick for Redmond’s Xbox gaming system,” Morgenstern writes. “Ballmer granted that Apple had accomplished two tricks: Macintosh, by which he must also include the popularizing of the first widely available GUI OS; and the iOS mobile computing platform, which spans iPod, iPhone (smartphones), and now iPad (tablet computing).”

Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer. Numbers confuse him.
Morgenstern writes, “His math of Apple innovation appears lacking to this longtime Mac user. Let me add a few more ‘tricks’ to the list: The Apple II platform. Ballmer appears to believe that personal computing began with the launch of the IBM PC, which was Microsoft’s big start. Of course, the Apple II platform was one of the first great hardware and software platforms… Desktop publishing… The Apple [Retail] Store… There could be others: The transition to Mac OS X, as an example. What about the iTunes Store? Yes, it’s the vital service side of iOS, but it’s more than that, since it spans Macs and Windows and Apple TV platforms.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There are even more for Apple: iPod, for just one screaming example. The App Store for another.

But, this is hardly surprising. Monkey Boy’s math has never added up; hence the reason he’s currently “spending time with his family.”


  1. Ballsmear is trying to revise history. Too bad that most Real Journalist are gone. Now the wannabe so called Journalist will regurgitate his false information and pass it on without a blink of an eye.

  2. MDN, stop it with the disparaging remarks about Mr. Ballmer. You need to be pumping him up for his return as iCEO, after this sabbatical to refresh and reenergize.

    And from a business perspective, you need the hit counts that you got whenever BLN posted (have you noticed he left with Steve?!) or you posted the “☝︎Dummy!☝︎” pictures!

  3. Balmer is shorting Apple and Microsoft. I think Office should be a trick in of itself. Prior to MS Office, all apps were individually sold. After Office, everyone else was forced to follow. But I am not here to defend Microsoft or Balmer.

    His over simplification disrespects everyone. I think any product which nets a billion dollars or more, should be considered a trick. Some tricks last some don’t.

    One trick on a life time, I can believe that, but when your company has thousands of employees, there’s plenty of opportunity for new tricks. It all depends on if your employees are Type 1 or Type 2.

    Apple switching from Power PC to Intel was a trick, and inspired by a Type 2 employee who did most of the work himself. (as an example)

  4. I’m pretty sure it was IBM that invented the modern PC platform. Microcrotch was contracted to provide the DOS to run the darned thing. At the time, everyone used WordPerfect or Displaywrite for documents and Lotus 1,2,3 for spreadsheets. It wasn’t until IBM came out with the PS/2 (not playstation), that MS showed its true form and taught Big Blue how not to write a contract and how to play dirty. IBM walked away from the table at a very slow rate.

    Not sure about server – but they probably didn’t invent that either.

      1. right again, as always, but i guess this is showing our age or our early adoption or… wait, uh, what? oh well only people susceptible to forgetfullness will remember OS/2 anyway, so pay no attention to me……

        BTW, i like the evolution of your avatar, i have trouble deciding on one and your “moving target” keeps me baffled as to which way to go…. again maybe age related !-)

  5. Microsoft most important trick was fooling IBM into thinking that QDOS (renamed PC-DOS) was MS’ own creation and keeping the right to sell it to other manufacturers (as MS-DOS)

  6. Ballmer is the 34th richest person in the world and when you start at the top of that list and look down, he is the least deserving of that wealth. He basically was in the right place at the right time. NONE of HIS ideas led to that wealth.

    Even the members of the Walton family can point to the fact they have inherited their wealth and that wealth is due to the overwhelming success of Walmart. Their father came up with the way merchandising is done today.

    Even the two blatant “crooks” on that list, Carlos Slim and Aliko Dangote from Nigeria, did it “legally” in the context of their country’s laws.

  7. Agree. IBM asked MS for an operating system for their new PCs. MS did not have one. But they found one called “QDOS” — Quick & Dirty Operating System — that was developed by a hippie software programmer in Berkeley. He would not sell to MS because he believed it belonged in the public domain for everyone to use. Instead, MS “reverse engineered” QDOS (cough, cough) and called it MS DOS. Apparently, the only difference between MS-DOS and the original QDOS was the drive letter at the DOS prompt command line. Microsoft totally ripped off this guy’s software. Then made billions. Apparently they don’t teach ethics at Harvard… but I guess Bill Gates gets off the hook since he never graduated from Harvard. Oh, well.

    But Microsoft’s treachery did not end there. Later, MS was developing word processing and spreadsheet software for Apple Macs, so had a team with access to Apple’s revolutionary GUI for this purpose. There was supposed to be a “Chinese Wall” between the Mac application software development team and the MS team developing MS’s new operating system, Windows. Bill Gates mantra to the Windows development team the whole time was: “Make it more like the Mac. MAKE IT MORE LIKE THE MAC! So sleazy. I am surprised more people are not familiar with this revealing backstory.

    Anyone interesting in a fun book that describes some of this (in the context of a novel) should pick up _Microserfs_ by the Canadian author, Douglas Coupland. (Incidentally, he coined the term “Generation X”.)

    1. Yes this is true. Even If you provide relevant links/Sources the iHaters and so called Journalist fails to recognize or even believe the data is true. It’s sheer stupidity but they continue to ignore these facts.

    2. [citation needed]

      Wikipedia’s article, which has citations, says MS paid $50K (which was my recollection) for all rights to QDOS.

      (BTW, I’ve never owned any IBM PCs nor clones.)

  8. Wow, for a site called “MacDailyNews”, this sure isn’t … uh… news. Just editorializing.

    What Balmer was was of course an oversimplification for both bustinesses. I’m sure if you went through the list of Dodge’s innovations for example, it would read as one or two tricks while the company’s own fanboys would tout things like “Cab Forward” as one of their “many” innovations.

    Just lighten up, people. Jeez. It’s 2014. Stop wasting time being a fanboy and go outside.

    1. just wait while xbox becomes x-xbox and apple tv becomes even more mainstream, it just has not been recognized yet, since still just a hobby.

      will be a huge thing where xbox is on its way to the footnote of history once games are unleashed

  9. I miss Ballmer. It was nice knowing that each month he’d come out with the most absurd statement about something. Truly an entertainment master. Lets create a petition to have Ballmer reinstated at Microsoft. I miss the guy!

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