Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/17/ballmer_france/

Sarkozy: Microsoft represents all that is great about France

French prez sticks pin in Steve Ballmer

By Joe Fay

Posted in Bootnotes, 17th February 2011 12:26 GMT

French president Nicholas Sarkozy delivered a profound judgement on Microsoft yesterday, declaring that the company personifies the values of France and Europe.

While such a declaration would quicken the heart of US artists and filmmakers, it might not be the sort of endorsement that a nakedly capitalist, (sometimes) bleeding edge US firm would welcome.

Sarkozy made his declaration as he adorned Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer with the Legion D'Honneur, a knightly order originated by Napoleon. The beast of Redmond can now count himself amongst the greats such as Walt Disney, uber cook Julia Child, and of course actor and auteur, Jerry Lewis.

Ballmer's pal and boss Bill Gates got a British Knighthood back in 2005, meaning he can hang out with Paul McCartney and assorted British MPs.

As Google Translate puts it, Sarkozy told Steve: "I admire this company, which includes the humanistic values of France and Europe... We are proud that you are in France."

For his part, Ballmer declared en francais that we was "moved and proud" to decorated by the diminutive French Prez. Describing France as "a land of innovation" he said: "She is attractive. It has great potential to be on the leaders of international economic competition."

Which sounds like a bit of back-handed compliment to us - it's not that long since French was the international language of diplomacy.

Still, Microsoft could indeed have something to learn from the country that produced the Citroen Picasso, a car which manages to have more cupholders than it can carry passengers, all of which appear to be configured exclusively for French brands de l'eau.

Should you want to experience the joy of Steve getting his lips round the language of love, click here. ®