Ballmer upset by Apple cart
Plans to compete with 'thriving' rival
Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer yesterday openly acknowledged Apple's "thriving" success in the lucrative consumer market.
Ballmer outlined his “priorities” in an internal memo to all Microsoft employees. But the real message is for original equipment manufacturers – Ballmer expects them to do more to provide the hardware so Microsoft can better compete with Apple.
"In the competition between PCs and Macs, we outsell Apple 30-to-1. But there is no doubt that Apple is thriving. Why? Because they are good at providing an experience that is narrow but complete, while our commitment to choice often comes with some compromises to the end-to-end experience," said Ballmer.
"Today, we’re changing the way we work with hardware vendors to ensure that we can provide complete experiences with absolutely no compromises. We’ll do the same with phones – providing choice as we work to create great end-to-end experiences."
Ballmer readies troops for Apple onslaught
He told staff that the company will address "any lingering doubts our customers may have about Windows Vista”. The sluggish take up – particularly among businesses – of Microsoft’s OS continues to be a major headache for Redmond execs.
Meanwhile, Apple has been snatching customers in the economically gloomy North American region, Ballmer concedes. Just last week the Mac maker grabbed the number three US PC market slot, according to analyst house Gartner.
He added that Microsoft “must continue to compete against Linux in key workloads such as web servers and high performance computing” in the business and enterprise space.
Ballmer also claimed yesterday that the software vendor will, eventually, win its battle for online supremacy. Apparently, the small detail of its failed attempt to buy Yahoo! has just slowed the company's plans down a tad.
“Search is the key to unlocking the enormous market opportunities in advertising, and it is an area that is ripe for innovation,” he said. “In the coming years, we'll make progress against Google in search first by upping the ante in R&D through organic innovation and strategic acquisitions.”
Over the past few weeks a shunned Microsoft has continued its rounds of the software singles scene after Yahoo!'s rejection of its $40bn overtures. Late last month it bought Silicon Valley semantic search engine start-up Powerset for around $100m.
“We want to accelerate our share of search queries and create a bigger pool of advertisers, and Yahoo! would have helped us get there faster. But we will get there with or without Yahoo!”, said Ballmer.
Ballmer ended his tirade against Microsoft's rivals by claiming to be "the best in the world at doing software and nobody should be confused about this. It doesn't mean that we can't improve, but nobody is better than we are. Nobody works harder than we do. Nobody is more tenacious that we are... Our opportunities to change the world have never been greater." ®
First, the investment MS made in Apple back in the 90s was not a present but part of an out of court settlement over a long standing intellectual property dispute. Apple agreed to drop all their claims and waive all rights to go to court about the matter. In return Microsoft agreed to invest and commit to a Mac version of MS Office for at least 5 years. In another universe this would have just been a licensing deal but Microsoft did not want to be seen to pay license fees to Apple and needed to keep face, hence this deal the way it was structured.
Second, Microsoft sold their non-voting Apple stock from this deal as soon as the agreement allowed them to, IIRC three years later.
Steve's clone was the irAki infoRmation miniStEr! I love hist stuff!
I think they sold their 50 million stock in Apple.
I think they sold their 50 million stock in Apple.
"I wonder how the M$ war machine feels about that one-time gift of money to Apple to keep them alive? My memory is not to clear but I seem to remember $5M maybe fifteen years ago or something like that."
It was $150m in 1997. The stock at that time was at about 19. A quick look today says it's now at 162. So Microsoft's 'gift' to Apple has netted them over a billion so far without lifting a finger. Now also bear in mind that the number one software package for the Mac is MS Office, the iPhone just got Exchange support (also due in the OS next year)... and you'll realise that yeah, MS must be kicking themselves. All the way to the bank.
You can't beat the Borg. Even when you think it's losing, it's still winning.
FAIL. Retry, ignore or cancel?
“Search is the key to unlocking the enormous market opportunities in advertising, and it is an area that is ripe for innovation,”
As proven so ably by Google, who went from zero to hero in no time flat by innovating.
If Microsoft were as capable of that as Steve-o says they are, they'd already have the search and advertising markets wrapped up with their superior technology.
The crazy thing is, a company with their financial and engineering resources should be able to produce great products and innovate in everything they do. It speaks volumes that they do not, in fact, do this very often.
Maybe they need to take a step back and decide to be really incredibly good at one or two things, instead of trying to dominate every aspect of the technology industry and largely failing.
Webster, that's some run of bad luck you had there. You must have had a massive overdose of Apple Kool-Aid way back when to stick with them through all that, surely no sane person would stick with the same company that's given them such grief.
Or maybe you're just rattling off a list of known issues with certain Apple products and you really haven't personally experienced all of that bad luck.