Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Steve Ballmer Says It's Weird Going to Work; Trashes Google

By - Source: Business Insider | B 58 comments

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talks Google, retirement and regrets.

On Thursday during Microsoft's annual analysts meeting in Bellevue, Washington, current CEO Steve Ballmer admitted to analysts that's it's currently a little weird going to work knowing that he will be leaving within the next twelve or so months. His admittance confirms previous rumors from insiders that Ballmer no longer has a skip in his step, that he's not quite the pre-retirement "fists of steel" Ballmer everyone at Redmond enjoyed.

He said that around three years ago he told the board that his eventual retirement was on the horizon. The board responded by saying that Ballmer should get to know "all of the top people at our competitors" to scout out a CEO replacement. Ballmer admitted that he liked the individuals under Microsoft's roof better than the outsiders he actually considered.

"There is a lot of good talent out there but when I come home, I tell you, there is just an incredible group of talent at Microsoft that is competitive with everybody else in the industry, full stop, period," he said.

Ballmer also pointed out that once he steps down as CEO, he will only be a Microsoft investor. He also has no plans to sell his shares. "After I retire I'm just a guy that owns 4 percent of Microsoft and that's about 65, 70 percent of what I've ever owned," he said. "I think I've sold five times in my life and bought once and I hold on and treasure my Microsoft stock. 70 percent of what I own is in Microsoft."

During the session, Ballmer also admitted his regret about not jumping into the smartphone arena on time. Microsoft was so focused on perfecting the Windows platform in the early 2000s that the company wasn't able to redeploy resources to properly develop for the smartphone form factor. That failure has put Microsoft in third position behind Apple and Google, and eventually a reorganization within the company to focus on devices and services.

Ballmer also took a shot at Google during the executive Q&A, saying that the search engine giant is a monopoly, a term that was once used to define Microsoft, and that the government should step in and tame the Android beast. The comment came as he was discussing how a small number of companies have been able to really grow by offering cloud services to consumers. He said that out of all the markets Microsoft currently plays in, consumer cloud services is the toughest, partially thanks to Google, Android and the search engine game.

"This [search] is a scale game because the market for advertising is auction-based economics. So if we have exactly the same quality of algorithms but a lot less scale in search advertising we will get less revenue per search than Google does, which means they have more money to pay for distribution on Samsung devices or Apple. Rumor has it that they probably pay each of those guys $1 to $2 to $3 billion a year for distributing their search products. So we have to generate volume in order to step up."

"I do believe Google's practices are… [humorously long pause] worthy of discussion with competition authority, and we have certainly discussed them with competition authorities,"he said. "We've highlighted some of their practices in our advertising, in our discussions with regulators, the bundling they're doing with YouTube, Google Maps and some other things. Suffice to say, I think they need pressure from competition authority, pressure from the marketplace, with product, with investment, with scale. How do we get scale? On our own devices or on somebody with whom we're closely aligned."

That's a rather funny point-of-view given that the Department of Justice declared that bundling Internet Explorer with the Windows OS was a monopoly on the browser market, and violated anti-trust laws. Still, you have to wonder why Google gets away with bundling its own browser and other Google-focused services on Android.

Steve, we're really going to miss you.

 

Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

 

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Discuss
Display all 58 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    deftonian , September 21, 2013 9:28 AM
    When Microsoft starts calling other people monopoly and government needs to step in, I can't take anything else they say seriously.
  • 18 Hide
    neieus , September 21, 2013 9:23 AM
    In reference to his remarks on Goolge this would be a prime example that if you can't beat them complain about them instead.
  • 11 Hide
    1991ATServerTower , September 21, 2013 9:36 AM
    "There is a lot of good talent out there but when I come home, I tell you, there is just an incredible group of talent at Microsoft that is competitive with everybody else in the industry, full stop, period,"

    That's a nice sentiment.

    When a company feels they need to look outside of their own employee base to find talent that speaks volumes about how that company has failed itself and its own employees. If you can't be bothered to encourage and grow talent within your own organization, you really don't deserve to poach talent from elsewhere.
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    neieus , September 21, 2013 9:23 AM
    In reference to his remarks on Goolge this would be a prime example that if you can't beat them complain about them instead.
  • 6 Hide
    jhansonxi , September 21, 2013 9:24 AM
    "There is a lot of good talent out there but when I come home, I tell you, there is just an incredible group of talent at Microsoft that is competitive with everybody else in the industry, full stop, period,"
    The success of Win8 proves that there is no point adding an outsiders perspective. :p 
  • 1 Hide
    ioconnor , September 21, 2013 9:25 AM
    Ballmer should run as the next VP now that Cheney is too old.
  • 26 Hide
    deftonian , September 21, 2013 9:28 AM
    When Microsoft starts calling other people monopoly and government needs to step in, I can't take anything else they say seriously.
  • 11 Hide
    1991ATServerTower , September 21, 2013 9:36 AM
    "There is a lot of good talent out there but when I come home, I tell you, there is just an incredible group of talent at Microsoft that is competitive with everybody else in the industry, full stop, period,"

    That's a nice sentiment.

    When a company feels they need to look outside of their own employee base to find talent that speaks volumes about how that company has failed itself and its own employees. If you can't be bothered to encourage and grow talent within your own organization, you really don't deserve to poach talent from elsewhere.
  • 2 Hide
    Paul Connell , September 21, 2013 9:44 AM
    Having a monopoly position isn't illegal, abusing that position to restrict or prevent competition is, and I'm not sure we've seen any evidence of Google specifically preventing competition through anything beyond providing a superior service.
  • 2 Hide
    rawoysters , September 21, 2013 10:11 AM
    They would benefit from somebody outside of Microsoft. Balmer does not have a bision or a sense of successful future products. His comment when he first saw the Iphone is all the evidence you need, plus all the missteps he has taken after that. Please, whoever it may be, I hope they have some idea of how to market their products. The Microsoft commercials and methods I have seen are just absolutely horrible,
  • 6 Hide
    JD88 , September 21, 2013 10:23 AM
    Ballmer is a good manager. What he doesn't have is any sort of product vision or a good read on market demands and Microsoft's current situation reflects that. He knows how to get stuff done, he just isn't sure what needs to be done and that's unfortunate.
  • 5 Hide
    SirGCal , September 21, 2013 10:51 AM
    As if M$'s browser wasn't written into Windows Moble or whatever it was called. Simply complaining about it cause Google smoked their butts in the phone market. So did Apple for that matter. From poor choices to flat out crybaby tactics. It'll be so (hopefully) much nicer when he's gone. Good reddens.
  • 1 Hide
    jojesa , September 21, 2013 11:24 AM
    Quote:
    "...Microsoft was so focused on perfecting the Windows platform in the early 2000s that the company wasn't able to redeploy resources to properly develop for the smartphone..."
    Perfecting Windows in the 2000s and they came up with ME and Vista.. Ha Ha
    Cry baby don't like the competition.
    I might take all those comments seriously if it wasn't coming from a douche.
  • 0 Hide
    jojesa , September 21, 2013 11:24 AM
    Quote:
    "...Microsoft was so focused on perfecting the Windows platform in the early 2000s that the company wasn't able to redeploy resources to properly develop for the smartphone..."
    Perfecting Windows in the 2000s and they came up with ME and Vista.. Ha Ha
    You don't like competition cry baby?
    I might take all those comments seriously if it wasn't coming from a douche.
  • -1 Hide
    irish_adam , September 21, 2013 12:09 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    "...Microsoft was so focused on perfecting the Windows platform in the early 2000s that the company wasn't able to redeploy resources to properly develop for the smartphone..."
    Perfecting Windows in the 2000s and they came up with ME and Vista.. Ha Ha
    You don't like competition cry baby?
    I might take all those comments seriously if it wasn't coming from a douche.


    and i would take your comments seriously if you had any idea what your talking about.

    windows 2000 came out in 1999 and ME in mid 2000 so he was probably referring to XP which came out in 2001 and the subsequent service packs that actually made it a pretty good operating system.

    The whole bundling thing on phones is a tough one and the problem being that Apple does it, Microsoft does it and so does Google, you cant go after one if you dont go after them all. Microsoft cant just lay into Google just because they have more market share when they also bundle apps with their phone
  • 0 Hide
    mforce2 , September 21, 2013 12:10 PM
    Well Mozilla has a browser for Android, Microsoft could develop IE for Android too, why doesn't it ?
    And Windows is still bundled with IE in many places ( everywhere but the EU I think ) and guess what, Chrome and Firefox have a huge market share on Windows. This says that your products suck or at least used to suck. Even said they could take IE and shove it when she heard a commercial for a Windows phone with IE.
  • 4 Hide
    ddpruitt , September 21, 2013 12:26 PM
    Quote:
    Still, you have to wonder why Google gets away with bundling its own browser and other Google-focused services on Android.


    Actually they only get bundled if a manufacturer applies for play certification, and even then it's the distributor that determines which apps are on there. That's a wee bit different than breaking the OS because the browser is left out.
  • 0 Hide
    leandrodafontoura , September 21, 2013 12:59 PM
    No....we are not gonna miss Steve....What the?
  • 2 Hide
    tugando , September 21, 2013 2:11 PM
    "Still, you have to wonder why Google gets away with bundling its own browser and other Google-focused services on Android."

    Google does not force anyone to use Android with their services, just look at what Amazon did with Android. Microsoft itself could do the same with Android, and not use a single service from Google. Ballmer is just ranting because he can't find a way to complete with Android, or many of other services which Google provides for free. It's not in Microsoft's DNA to give software away, but it is in Google's.
  • 0 Hide
    tugando , September 21, 2013 2:18 PM
    "Still, you have to wonder why Google gets away with bundling its own browser and other Google-focused services on Android."

    Google does not force anyone to use Android with their services, just look at what Amazon did with Android. Microsoft itself could do the same with Android, and not use a single service from Google. Ballmer is just ranting because he can't find a way to complete with Android, or many of other services which Google provides for free. It's not in Microsoft's DNA to give software away, but it is in Google's.
  • 0 Hide
    Durandul , September 21, 2013 2:23 PM
    Quote:
    Well Mozilla has a browser for Android, Microsoft could develop IE for Android too, why doesn't it ?
    And Windows is still bundled with IE in many places ( everywhere but the EU I think ) and guess what, Chrome and Firefox have a huge market share on Windows. This says that your products suck or at least used to suck. Even said they could take IE and shove it when she heard a commercial for a Windows phone with IE.


    Because the development cost would far, far, far, exceed profit. Can you think of one person using android that would rather use IE?
  • 0 Hide
    d_kuhn , September 21, 2013 2:53 PM
    Yea I've got to agree with Durandul... I'm no fan of Android (pretty much hated it, switched away the second I got the chance), but I've been using Chrome as my primary browser since not long after it came out, IE would be a non-player in the smartphone market - too much negative PR, too many problems over too many years.
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , September 21, 2013 2:56 PM
    see, the thing about google being a monopoly is that even if they are, they're still competitive enough to keep the big dogs out of the game. say what you will, but they're doing it right. they can never buy out companies like apple or microsoft, yet they can't manage to compete. go figure.
Display more comments