Feeds

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

Phooey to Apple and Google

Recommendations for simplifying OS migration

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms
Readers chat to the pair who flog the tech
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?