MSFT CEO: Apple Products Too Expensive, Android Too Wild

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has shared his thoughts on the software giant's competitors, with the executive labeling Apple products too expensive and Google's Android too wild due to its openness.

Speaking with LinkedIn co-founder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman at a Churchill Club event, Steve Ballmer commented on Microsoft's competitors in the mobile market. "The ecosystem of Android is a little wild," he stated, referring to malware and compatibility issues deriving from several versions of Android. "Conversely, Apple's system looks highly controlled and quite high prices," he added, noting the $1,000 cost of an iPhone in Russia. "How do you get quality not at a premium price with not quite as controlled an ecosystem."

"The best of both worlds is available to us," he stressed. Ballmer explained that phone operators around the globe want three vendors, not two. "On the high end, they have Apple and Samsung and a sea at the low-end. We have a customer set that wants an alternative, and it's a different opportunity strategically...the product has to be great. Windows 8 is the most personal smart phone. When you whip out your phone, you want to see the things that matter to you."

Ballmer, however, acknowledged that it's still an early stage: "If anyone thinks hardware innovation in pocket devices is ending, they are nuts." According to analyst firm Gartner, Microsoft's Windows Phone mobile operating system attributes to only 2.4 percent of the smartphones shipped worldwide in 2012's third quarter.

That said, Ballmer doesn't expect Microsoft's mobile operating system to become an instant success. "There is unmet need from operators and, from a consumer perspective, a lot of room for innovation. The challenge is to get 10 percent of the smartphone market, and then 15 percent, and then 20 percent. We aren't trying to get to 60 percent overnight."

  • A Bad Day
    MSFT has a long way to go. If you can't get a software ecosystem to grow, then it's usually game over.
  • house70
    Don't abandon your customers/devs again, and you might have a chance...
  • hrhuffnpuff
    MSFT CEO: "Apple too expensive, Android too wild, Microsoft too stubborn to listen to vendors and customers."
  • Steve Ballmer is stupid !!!
  • xpeh
    My cousin from Russia came to visit me in America for summer. He bought about 10 iPhone 4's for 3 thousand dollars and I unlocked them. He went back to Russia and made about 8 thousand dollars.
  • Chewie
    I don't see them having much of a chance here. Even if they had all their programmers writing apps, they couldn't match the Android coder base. Its the same reason they are so panicked about Linux in the desktop space (try googling halloween documents). Once you've got an open environment, its bloody hard for one company to dominate the apps.
    Personally, I'm still hanging out for someone to make something like a virtual windows box that'll run on linux for the non-code-monkey types like me.
    Hell, maybe there already is one, but I don't know about it. Inertia has me using windows, 'cause I play lots of games. That's all there is to it, and I'm sure I'm not alone.
  • mrmez
    Good old M$. Nice to see they are still full of sh!t making excuses.

    Apple is a rip off but they still sell out of any new product in half an hour worldwide.
    Android is wild and out of control, but sleighs the competition with no sign of stopping.

    Boo hop, poor M$
  • bavman
    I agree with Ballmer to an extend.

    Apple is definitely overpriced, but its also so so closed of a system that it doesn't give people wiggle room on what they want. Its a one-size-fits-all kind of system which is unappealing for a lot of people including myself. The upside to this is that Apple can provide a more thorough product; support for its products is very very good because they only have a handful of models at a time that they have to maintain.

    Android is at the other end of the extreme. Its so so open that just about anyone can make a tablet/phone/whatever and load android on it and sell it. And while there are some freaking awesome android devices there is also a lot of crap that should never have been made/allowed to sell. You get stuff like $50 tablets coming out of china that are so crappy and underpowered they can't do anything, and are usually full of bugs/etc. A lot of manufactures also release several products and neglect most of them except the top tier devices or just the flagship devices. But android as just an o/s is very nice because its so open to development and has a huge span of applications.

    I think if microsoft can find the middle ground between the two major players right now it can become a major powerhouse in the mobile sector.
  • acerace
    tonym14Steve Ballmer is stupid !!!
  • bebangs
    Last time i checked MSFT phones are also expensive and aint worth compared to android and apple products. They are also so wild that i couldnt find anyone using it.