Feeds

Ballmer again: AT&T and Verizon should rule the airwaves

Phooey to Apple and Google

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

CTIA In a none-too-subtle jab at two of his biggest competitors - Apple and Google - Steve Ballmer has said that Microsoft will not bid for a prime portion of the US wireless spectrum.

Following his keynote at CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment, a mammoth mobile tradeshow underway in San Francisco, the Microsoft CEO sat down to answer several canned questions from the show's master of ceremonies, ex-American football star and CTIA CEO Steve Largent. With question number two, Largent asked whether Ballmer had any intention of bidding for the so-called 700-MHz band, a slice of wireless spectrum due to be auctioned off by the Federal Communications Commission early next year.

"No, we don't, as a matter of fact," Ballmer answered. "Terrible as it is to our competition, we don't have plans to participate in spectrum auctions."

You see, Google has openly flirted with a bid for the band, and the rumor mill says that Apple is toying with the idea as well.

But Ballmer believes that wide-area wireless services should be left in the hands of companies like AT&T and Verizon. He thinks they're better suited to the task. "[Microsoft] may be broader in what we do than almost any company out there, but we think we have a core competence, and we think that the telecom industry and the service providers have a core competence," he said.

At this point, someone in the audience started clapping. "Thanks, Dad," Ballmer said. But he quickly pointed out this was just a joke. And we're inclined to believe him. No one would clap at such a thing unless they worked for a big telco. Not even Ballmer's Dad.

"It takes a real expertise to set-up networks, to invest in capital expenditure, to do the servicing of the networks, to provide the customer service 7 by 24," Ballmer continued. "That is a core capability."

He also said that if Microsoft placed a bid, the telcos would get angry. "It would probably do a lot to alienate the telecom industry. It doesn't advance our goal, which is to take some very exciting [mobile] technology and put it everywhere."

This goal was the running theme of Ballmer's keynote. Unlike his competitors, he said again and again, Microsoft plays so very nicely with rest of the mobile market.

But in arguing that the big telcos should own the airwaves, Ballmer is satisfying his partners at the expense of the American consumer.

Google doesn't want to run its own wireless network. It wants to sell spectrum to third-party ISPs, hoping to finally create some competition in the broadband internet market. That's the broadband market as a whole, not just the wireless market. Remember, the likes of AT&T and Verizon control not only the airwaves, but all those wired lines as well.

Meanwhile, Steve Ballmer is arguing that we should maintain this status quo. Verizon and AT&T may agree with him. But that's about it. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?