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Ballmer Defends Xbox, Bing as Key Microsoft Components

By - Source: GeekWire | B 40 comments

Ballmer's last speech to shareholders made sure the Bing and Xbox departments remained in place.

GeekWire reports that on Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke at the company's annual shareholder meeting for the very last time. He made a point to highlight the company's need for the Xbox and Bing divisions, calling them key parts of Microsoft's broader vision. This topic arrives after previous reports indicated that Stephen Elop may do away with the two divisions altogether if appointed as CEO.

As previously reported, sources claimed that as CEO, Elop would actually sell off or shut down major businesses such as Bing, which has been a costly effort to take on Google's own search engine. The Xbox business could also be sold off if deemed not critical to the company's strategy. He would even sharpen the company's focus by maximizing the sales of Office rather than use the software to sell Windows-based devices.

When talking about the upcoming Xbox One launching next week, Ballmer said it was an example of the company's unified strategy, as Bing and SkyDrive are integrated into the console. The Xbox One is "a reflection of what is possible when a company, our company, is unified under a common vision,” he said. He also pointed out that Bing is key to helping test and improve the Windows Azure service.

He went on to talk about the company's pending Nokia Devices & Services acquisition, which was approved by Nokia shareholders on Tuesday morning. "This is really a signature moment in the transformation of the company," he said, adding that by bringing Nokia's teams to Redmond, the move will accelerate the company's position in Windows phones, tablets and PCs.

After concluding his speech by saying that Microsoft is positioned to drive and define "the next big thing," one of the shareholder questions from the audience asked why Microsoft's share price wasn't going up. Ballmer said there's a disconnection between share price and profits.

"Our stock price is 60 percent of what it was when I took over as CEO and profits are three times," he said. "I trust the company will continue to focus in on what's real, which is long-term profit creation. [If that happens], the share price will go up. I feel confident about that."

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  • 7 Hide
    jhansonxi , November 23, 2013 3:04 PM
    Xbox and Bing may be key components but Ballmer is optional.
  • 0 Hide
    beayn , November 23, 2013 3:19 PM
    Profit being up 3x and share price down 60% just shows that the stock market is really based on panic, popularity and hopefulness, not actual money. People see Apple rising up and think Microsoft is going down while ignoring the real numbers. Unfortunately MS is fulfilling these prophecies by releasing crap products such as Windows Phone, and Windows 8.
  • 4 Hide
    jimmysmitty , November 23, 2013 3:41 PM
    Quote:
    Profit being up 3x and share price down 60% just shows that the stock market is really based on panic, popularity and hopefulness, not actual money. People see Apple rising up and think Microsoft is going down while ignoring the real numbers. Unfortunately MS is fulfilling these prophecies by releasing crap products such as Windows Phone, and Windows 8.


    It's actually quite funny as the people who I have met who have Windows Phone love it. There are a few issues, but what OS doesn't have them.

    As well, I am tired of people calling Windows 8 a crap OS when there is only one thing they consistently moan about, Metro. They act like Metro makes it worse than Windows ME that BSoD on a regular basis. Or that it makes it sluggish and slow like Vista on lower end hardware, I can say that 8/8.1 is very fast even on a Atom with 2GB of RAM.

    Then there is the fact that a lot of people who hate on it, much like the Vista haters, are all just to be with the cool crowd and have never actually used it. And I don't mean tried it in a store or on a friends PC for 10 minutes. I mean actually have it installed and learn what it can do.
  • Display all 40 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    davmazin , November 23, 2013 3:55 PM
    If Elop will take Ballmer's place then its better that Ballmer stays than getting Elop as chairman, in my point of view if Ballmer was bad, Elop's comments were outright worse than anything Ballmer did and also i cant be sure a guy that was responsible of sinking Nokia more than it was its already an extreme bad point
  • 2 Hide
    jacobdrj , November 23, 2013 4:05 PM
    I like my Windows Phone. Windows 8 is actually a welcome step up in many ways from previous revs. 8.1 fixed most of the problems. I actually agree with Ballmer: Clean bing and XBOX, along with their integration with W8 and WP8 are essential to the experience those OSs provide. It just takes time for the apps to develop.
  • 0 Hide
    MarioJP , November 23, 2013 4:34 PM
    All i can say i am never going back to Windows 7. Though 7 is nice and is a perfect balance for businesses and a replacement for XP. Windows 8/8.1 is truly lightweight on the resources. My laptop that was meant for Vista and 7 really runs nice on Windows 8 and 8.1. The new UI does not bother me one bit. Though it is a change for some but It is still windows and the desktop is still there. Quite frankly i do like the windows store. So many apps that compliments Windows 8 in general. I just don't understand when people say. Windows 8 is "crap" that it is "unusable". Its one thing not liking the new OS. Its another to say that its "unusable".
  • 8 Hide
    bmwman91 , November 23, 2013 4:42 PM
    There we have it. The reason why so many US companies are being gutted and iconic names are mere shells of their former selves. The board wants the stock price up. Long term anything, employees, the host nation, all be damned. Gotta get that stock price up to sate the Wall Street masters, until there is nothing left. Then the locusts spread elsewhere and print/devalue the currency to get interest rates down so that all the people that lost their jobs can still consume on credit.
  • 2 Hide
    jerm1027 , November 23, 2013 6:26 PM
    Quote:

    As well, I am tired of people calling Windows 8 a crap OS when there is only one thing they consistently moan about, Metro. They act like Metro makes it worse than Windows ME that BSoD on a regular basis. Or that it makes it sluggish and slow like Vista on lower end hardware, I can say that 8/8.1 is very fast even on a Atom with 2GB of RAM.

    Then there is the fact that a lot of people who hate on it, much like the Vista haters, are all just to be with the cool crowd and have never actually used it. And I don't mean tried it in a store or on a friends PC for 10 minutes. I mean actually have it installed and learn what it can do.


    I've used Windows 8 (beta) fairly extensively as my sole operating system on my old gaming laptop (which, in turn, became my primary computer when my desktop crapped out for a bit) and 8.1 briefly. Neither time was pleasurable. The user interface is arguably the most important feature of an OS. But even if that alone isn't enough to hate the operating system, and this could be easily forgivable if it was free. But it's the fact you have to fight it to get it do the things you want to do along with a $120-$200 price tag. But it goes even further, you have to fight the very company who makes it! If you want a proper start menu, MS won't give you one, you have download a third party program. Even then, most (free) start menu programs run as a service and use some extra resources; if you want a customizable menu that is deeply integrated into Windows 8, you have a pay a licensing fee for the proprietary StartIsBack. At a shocking retail of $200, the system damn well better do what I want, how a I want it, when I want it without the need for third party software to fulfill basic functions such as intuitive navigation. It may have many improvements, but there are significant downfalls in addition to the interface that simply make the $200 pricetag unjustifiable, such as the lack of shadow copy.
  • 0 Hide
    coolitic , November 23, 2013 6:36 PM
    No1 uses bing, but xbox is a very profitable thing even if it is a rip-off
  • 2 Hide
    razorskiss1000 , November 23, 2013 7:11 PM
    MS is just playing catch up. As for 8/8.1 for desktops it sucks. As for tablets and phones works great.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , November 23, 2013 7:30 PM
    I love Bing. Microsoft answered that most important problem with competing against Google. By the time people think that Bing is an alternative to google, they already loaded google.com from desktop by opening the browser and typing the name in the navbar.
    They did it through auto searches by just typing in what you want to search in the navbar and it loaded to Bing or your choice of search provider. Considering you get subscriptions or gift cards by searching with bing, it makes more sense to use it as a consumer.
  • 0 Hide
    drwho1 , November 23, 2013 7:32 PM
    bing needs to die.
    don't care about Xbox but I know players that do, so I guess is OK for Xbox to continue.
    but bing needs to go.
  • 0 Hide
    jameskatt , November 23, 2013 8:41 PM
    Elop will kill Microsoft just like he did Nokia.
  • -4 Hide
    ta152h , November 23, 2013 9:10 PM
    Microsoft is clearly a dying company, that's why the stock price is depressed. People who trade stocks put values going forward. In 2000 or so, the company was obviously growing, and the future was bright, so it was trading in excess of its current situation.

    Now, it's a rotting giant, with no way out. Windows is losing market share even in the PC space, every month. Chromebooks and Android devices have invaded Microsoft's last stronghold, and continue to eat this decaying corpse alive.

    Microsoft has already lowered the OEM price, and you know that's got to hurt. They know the model doesn't work anymore. They know they can't get the same money for Windows. Of course, it may slow market share loss, but it certainly hasn't stopped it. Every company is talking about how they are moving away from the Windows eco-system, and looking to put more into Chromebooks and Android. You read it every day, the only thing is which company is saying it that day.

    So, we know Windows is dying. It will runt on for a while, particularly in the business world, but it's eroding, and will accelerate its erosion as its masters gain critical mass. Microsoft must runt off and like it. They're defeated. They've tasted the loss, and now have to acquire the taste for it, because it's all that's on the plate.

    Windows 8 blows, but it didn't cause this. Once a free, or nearly so, OS came out that was viable, the expensive OS model was bound to crash. Chromebooks and Android are gaining validity, and with it, the Windows model dies. Of course, Windows 8 helped this along. Sure, you have the brainless zombie that tries to pretend they like a tablet OS on their desktop, because they can't think for themselves, and need Microsoft to tell them what's good - a touchscreen OS for your keyboard and mouse. Apple won because they were never so stupid, and Mac OS/X sucks balls. But, they knew to keep their desktop OS on the desktop, and their touch-screen OS where there were touch screens. Shamble on, Microsoft Zombies, as brainless fodder, but the majority don't like it, and that's bringing down your undead master. Fast. The one with the bald head.

    Bing and X-Box are the two businesses they SHOULD keep. Bing has struggled, but at least it has a chance to be successful. X-Box already is. Windows is dying. Office is losing market share, and again runs into the problem where people will not want to pay for functionality they can get for free. It's a hard sell, and is failing, albeit more slowly than Windows.

    That's why Microsoft is depressed. They're losing market share in a shrinking market. The cause is their business model has collapsed, and it can't be reversed. It's just a matter of milking the diseased cow for as long as possible, until the milk becomes too putrid to drink.

    It's still early in the process though, but morbid decay is clearly Microsoft's path. They're already largely irrelevant, soon they take the next step and lose their profitability. They will shrink, and soon have to manage costs very carefully, instead of looking to spend money to grow.

    They've failed with Windows, they've failed with phones. They've failed on tablets. They've failed with search engines. They failed with Zune. They've failed with Bing. The Xbone embarrassed them, when they had to back-pedal and show their buttocks by going back on policies that were fundamental to their business model for that platform. They're losing market share in Windows and Office, and have for many months. Internet Explorer has been eroding share for years, and it's only going to accelerate with Windows losing share.

    That's why the stock price is low. That's why Ballmer has to go. But, it's too late. Like a flailing jackass that's been stung under the midnight moon, the bald one now is kicking wildly and braying at the stars, hoping that hardware will somehow reverse the fortunes caused by the collapse of the software empire.

    Of course, it just adds more failures to list, and no profits.
  • 2 Hide
    Nilo BP , November 23, 2013 10:25 PM
    I lost what respect I had for Microsoft after they joined in on that "Rockstar consortium" stupidity.
  • 0 Hide
    meltbox360 , November 23, 2013 11:54 PM
    Microsoft is doing quite well as it is. I use bing at times and while it may not be as brilliant as Google it gets the job done fine and just as fast with a bit less tracking than Google. As for Windows phone, I like it but I prefer my BlackBerry Z10. People just blindly hate on the underdogs in the phone OS wars but they're quite nice to use. Newest BlackBerry leak runs just about every android app and can even install apks from the device or some app stores. Now if I ever need to switch to a new OS I think I'd go windows phone even just to give it a shot. Looks nice, clean, and focused. As for apps... Honestly I use very few apps. A browser and effective messaging apps, maybe a game or two.
  • 1 Hide
    Durandul , November 24, 2013 12:30 AM
    "Ballmer said it was an example of the company's unified strategy, as Bing and SkyDrive are integrated into the console"
    Not impressed Ballmer, not impressed.
  • 0 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , November 24, 2013 2:34 AM
    what does ballmer know... everything he has defended as ceo in regards to a microsoft product turned out to be a mess. He defended Windows Vista and well everyone knew how that turned out. He defended Windows 8 and that continues to struggle to gain any real traction in the market place. Oh and lets not forget Windows Phone which is getting crushed by android phones and the iphones. Bing should get sold, I don't know of anyone that uses it over google and I'm willing to bet the vast majority of people on here use google over Bing. As for the Xbox division being sold off the investors upon hearing the news that elop would axe bing and sell the xbox division made microsofts stock rise on that day upon, so the investors are all onboard with that. it's no secret that investors of Microsoft aren't happy with ballmers decision making since he became ceo due to making one bad decision after the next. So in the end the investors are the driving force behind a company and elop looks like the front runner to want those investors want in as their ceo of Microsoft which gives the board of the directors an easier choice to make about who becomes their next ceo. on a side note, can you imagine is elop becomes the new ceo of Microsoft and sony buys the xbox the division? that would be something....
  • 0 Hide
    hoofhearted , November 24, 2013 2:44 AM
    The thing people hate most about Windows 8 is the fact that Metro is being forced, when consumers know better, that this could have been easily set as optional. Microsoft doesn't know better than me when it comes to my choice of interface. Other than that, Windows 8 is actually many improvements over 7.
  • 0 Hide
    ZolaIII , November 24, 2013 3:38 AM
    Actually i think that Win 8.1 is a pretty good Windows not the best one ever (3.11) & certainly not the most popular one (Win XP). The problem is that most users don't like interface changes especially major ones. I don't use Bing & probably never will, as a default (like almost every one else) i use Google & if i can't comprehensible find something i use Yahoo. Xbox is just what it is (No#2) play console in the market. Even Linux is more then good in of for all things that common user can imagine on doing except gaming bat that is changing to, the biggest Microsofts problem is not Linux bat they one win XP. Now consider that Windows + office as standard basic software costs +⅓ of value of an casual mid range computer (full pro versions) .
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