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Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer in “not breaking down and weeping when asked about competitor” shocker

Business Insider is amused: it’s found video of Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer dismissing the iPhone back in 2007.

INTERVIEWER: …  The Zune was getting some traction. Then Steve Jobs goes to MacWorld and he pulls out this iPhone.  What was your reaction when you saw that?

STEVE BALLMER: 500 dollars?  Fully subsidized? With a plan?  I said that is the most expensive phone in the world.  And it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard.  Which makes it not a very good email machine… Right now, we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year.  Apple is selling zero phones a year.  In six months, they’ll have the most expensive phone by far ever in the marketplace…

I don’t really see the point here. Since when did company bosses react to questions about their competitors by going “Oh fuck! You’re right! We’re fucked! They’re going to kick our arse! Fuck! Fuckity fuck!”?

There are plenty of reasons to criticise Ballmer, but publicly slagging a competing product is part of his job.

5 replies on “Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer in “not breaking down and weeping when asked about competitor” shocker”

And, largely, he’s right. It is (nearly) the most expensive phone on the market. His mistake seems to be in thinking this is goign to hinder sales. Has experience told him nothing?

I’d assume that business-wise it’s market sdhare is miniscule (probably non-existant if you didn’t count media-types).

I’ve got over my lust for the iPhone, I just need to remember and stay out of the Apple store for a few months

That’s one of the things you can rightly criticise Ballmer for. Slagging off the iPhone? Sure, and what he’s saying is entirely right. But it’s hard not to believe he had the same attitude to the iPhone as Decca had to the Beatles.

Fancy some numbers? Apple is negligible in total *phone* sales (about 24 million in a market that shifts 1 and a bit billion), but in smartphones it and RIM have already kicked windows mobile to death and they’re chipping away at Symbian too. Android’s coming up fast as well.

Heh, indeed. Rumour is that they didn’t even shift 500 phones. Kin disaster etc etc etc.

Sorry, could have made this bit clearer:

> it’s hard not to believe he had the same attitude to the iPhone as Decca had to the Beatles.

What I mean by that is that he had the same attitude *even when journos weren’t around* and didn’t see the iPhone as a credible threat: “We know what the market wants and it doesn’t want that”.

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