back to article Ballmer disses Oracle's decision to buy Sun

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer has derided Oracle’s decision to buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4bn. "I have no idea why a software company would buy a hardware company. We don't want to buy any hardware companies," Ballmer told the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo, Egypt today, reports Reuters. He also reiterated that …


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  1. paul
    IT Angle


    "You'll see us innovating in search," he said

    Their new innovation is real time searching for flying chairs?

  2. Terry Pears
    Gates Horns


    The only hardware Mr Ballmer is interested in are chairs, lots of them.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Correct me if I'm wrong but what about all that hardware MS produces? OK I know they didn't "buy" the company that makes it but they still make it. Or has Ballmer forgotten to take his pills today and he's forgotten the mice, the keyboards the Xbox and the Zune.

    Ah, OK I understand now. Any company that admitted making the Zune would be embarrassed and would pretend they had nothing to do with hardware

  4. Michael Philbey
    Jobs Horns


    Hey Steve,

    what is the XBOX360???

    What is the Zune???

    Hardware methinks

  5. Paul Toal

    Well what did we expect?

    Honestly, did we expect him to say anything else. Regardless of what he thinks he was hardly going to stand up and say it was a good thing was he?

  6. Wade Burchette
    Jobs Horns


    "You'll see us innovating in search," said Ballmer.

    If only that were true. Live search is terrible. I tried it, I really did. Until I did some comparisons and I was able to find what I needed with Google and Yahoo faster and easier. Not to mention that Google's and Yahoo's results were far more relevant. Those that do everything do nothing well. Get out of the search engine game; you will never be as good as Yahoo, much less Google.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Well who gives a sh*t what Barmy Ballmer has to say on it anyway?

    Did anyone actually ask his opinion and why?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pulling a "Fast" one there, Steve

    For those who have forgotten, Microsoft bought the Norwegian search company FAST, so I guess Microsoft's answer to innovation is to buy a company that already has. FAST like to think of themselves as direct competitors to Autonomy.

    And correct me if I'm wrong, don't Microsoft sell Hardware, or doesn't an XBox count.

    Being fair though does any major IT company actually innovate, or do they mostly buy.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Steve Ballmer? Steve Bollocks, more like.

    Can someone just cram a chair in his mouth to stop his outpourings? Or, possibly less risky, just not report them.

  10. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    What's it to you, you chair-chucking half-wit?! Mind your own!

    Ballmer's only jealous 'cos the XboX is the only hardware MS got right and that's failing out of fashion!

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Look Inward (and outward) Mr. Ballmer

    Microsoft has not made a single "best of show" move (outside of some really great development software - still the best part of the MS machine) in ten years. Obviously he does not see the success of another hardware based software company - Apple. Complete solutions that are the responsibility of a single corporation are a big attraction of the consumer dollar, especially to businesses - the sole customer base of Oracle (there are not too many teenagers running data warehousing or point of sale systems for fun). I have spent years working on problems where Microsoft blamed the computer maker and the maker the MS product. I never had a problem with the Macs at work.

    Microsoft has to start working for the market, not trying to control it.

  12. Nicholas Ettel


    "I have no idea why a software company would buy a hardware company. We don't want to buy any hardware companies," Ballmer said.

    Rightly so. There couldn't POSSIBLY be any advantage in a company that designs and markets a cradle-to-grave software/hardware package. *cough*Apple*cough* (though, granted, the 'package' would be slightly different in scope and (cap)abilities.)

    ps. I'm not an Apple fan.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    He knows that Java is a contender to C# (and more popular) so not acknowledging that Sun is more than a hardware company can be likened to him saying that Open Source is a cancer (which he did say some time ago).

  14. StooMonster

    Pot Kettle Black

    Isn't this the company that built two "DirectX Box" -- i.e. entered the games consoles hardware business -- because Sony and Nintendo wouldn't run their software?

    Isn't this the company that makes Zune hardware because Apple destroyed their WMA software marketshare?


  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    what do you expect

    What do you expect him to say ? "Holy Crap, a company that knows how to market and keep customers now has control of Java,Solaris,OpenOffice,Virtual Box" And oodles of prime real estate, a giant IP patent portfolio, for the net of cash price of $5.6B. Where's my brown pants ?

    M$ made it cheaper for Oracle when they had to pay Sun $2B for anti-trust crapola.

  16. John Doe

    Invest 300m in Russian software projects ??

    Surely the meaning is: "Invest 300m in Russian .NET projects"

  17. some

    I wonder why Russia

    OH WAIT it wouldn't have anything to do with Russians migrating to GNU/Linux in droves, now would it?

  18. P. Lee

    Russia the next great hope?

    What's in development, an official MS botnet?

    Why would a company want to control both hardware and software? I dunno, maybe we should ask Apple!

    Let's think about it. Solaris with DTrace, a multi-platform OS including Sparc and Nehelem cpus, maybe a bit of ZFS. What could a company specialising in massive data storage and retrieval possibly want with that?

    MS not a hardware company? I hear many xbox owners can attest to that!

  19. Peter


    I think Microsoft has "sponsored" way to many Russian software projects over the past few years

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Insecure little man running an insecure big company?

    You'd think the CEO of a huge corporation with commanding market share wouldn't be so insecure as to have to make such a pointless remark.

    You'd also think he'd be aware that Sun isn't just a hardware company.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    Chairs. pffft.

    Innovating in extracting money from newly minted Russian billionaires is more like it.

  22. Steen Hive

    In other news

    Ballmer buys Ikea off Kamprad and installs himself as "chairman".

  23. Andrew Fraser

    Remove your head from your A**..

    Geeze, Ballmer must have been really busy throwing chairs, not to have seen this coming. The fact he can't understand why Oracle did this, truely shows how thick he is.

    Apart from giving Oracle a buttload of IP, it protects its Java interests, and gives it a top to bottom solution for business. They can provide the OS, the hardware, the apps, and the support all in one spot. Oracle is very smart about making the most of its aquistions, once the aquisitions stop thrashing and bend over and accept it of course.

    I never understood why MS feels the need to "F'ing bury Google"

    MS is going to try and go toe to toe with Google, and loose. They have NEVER done search very well. I think Google's long term plan is to take the Viet cong approch, and watch MS bleed themselves dry.

    Forget about the search market MS, and concentrate on doing things you do well. I expect to see "Ballmer chair airways" launched very soon.

    Mines the one with the "MySQL for dummies" book in the pocket

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hiding concern

    Regardless of what he says I'll bet he's worried that Oracle/Sun will continue work on the transactional processor for data base operations that Sun was going to tie with MySQL will now be made to work with Oracles's possibly giving their DB a magnitude of operational speed on the dedicated system over MS operating on PC's.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I like it

    This is very promising. He's evidently rattled by the news.

    I wonder who else is looking uncomfortably at this. IBM - for the first time facing a powerful competitor that spans pretty much their entire marketplace? HP - being left out after paying for EDS crap to get into Big Services?

  26. Jesus Andersson

    More innovation?!

    "You'll see us innovating in search,"

    Just like they innovated Windows to look like an OSX clone?

  27. Chris Elmes
    Jobs Horns

    You're a fine to talk Mr Ballmer!

    "I have no idea why a software company would buy a hardware company. We don't want to buy any hardware companies,"

    No, but you put your name to the Zune which immediately disqualified you from commenting on anybody elses hardware strategy!

  28. Robert Moore

    You'll see us innovating in search

    Could someone remind me. What was Microsoft last innovation?

    Honestly, I can't remember.

    Please someone. Remind me of something that MS did that wasn't bought from someone else, and isn't just a minor change to an existing product or process.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Oracle now owns Mysql ?

    So Oracle have purchased Sun which owns Mysql.

    I wonder if this is the death knell for Mysql ?

  30. Doug Glass


    Just a frelling mOron and the perfect example of rising to one's level of incompetency, i.e. The Peter Principle in action. Or is it total inaction since we are talking about the SB here.

  31. Bad Beaver
    Paris Hilton

    Problems with self-importance?

    Who cares?

  32. Anonymous Coward

    MS Innovating??

    If Microsoft demonstrate innovation, it'll surely be the first time ever!

    I thought Microsoft only had two possible corporate development techniques - embrace and extend (such as taking LDAP and MITs Kerberos technologies and combining them into AD) and "buy a small guy and make an arse of integrating into everything else", such as PowerPoint (which has only after 12 years started to integrate charting with Excel) and Visio.

    Apart from that, it's only ever copying - .Net (Java), Windows (Mac OS), Visual Studio (now "Visual" about a decade after Borland did it), and copious other examples.

    MS products are all basically crap - even if the reason for being crap is that they've "innovated" and put in more crap you don't need or want. Heh - they still want you to pay for it all, AND they're going to stop supporting your old version and scare you with all these virii which are actually valuable to them as it allows them to scare you into buying new versions and upgrading on the grounds of "security".

    Their licensing model is outdated ("pay per computer, plus pay to get them to talk to each other" -wtf?!?) but they have to answer to the shareholders who still believe the tripe coming from the top. Unfortunately with the recession and the Vista mess, people just aren't buying the marketing line any more either, and that's the only thing MS have been good at for years now.

    MS are parasitic in the pursuit of profit and the world will be a better place when it has gone.

  33. Mick Russom

    Java, Solaris, not a dumb move at all.

    Java, Solaris. Microsoft better get its head out of its butt if it wants to better compete with Oracle. Also, Oracle now has a complete vertical and this leaves HP, IBM, even Cisco, clamoring to find complete solutions while Oracle can be 100% Oracle. Hardly foolish. Foolish would be underestimating this.

    Now Oracle doesn't have to deal with IBM's pet Redhat on what happens to Linux, nor Linus Torvalds. And they now own a perm. seat on the JCP, which will allow them to make sure they get the most out of Java.

    Ballmer is reacting poorly to this. Better get his head on straight. Vista and Windows 7 and Office 2007 DO NOT bode well for Microsoft inability to shift from making most of the money off of rapidly commoditizing B2C business.

    I guess Ballmer's butt is still sore from loss-leadership in XBOX along with the lovely ring-of-death, he doesn't "get" hardware, Microsoft never has outside of the Mouse department.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Though I'm sure a few people fell for the April Fool that was run at PC Pro last month:

    Sheepish hand goes up.

    Although wrt the article about Oracle and Sun - can you believe Ballmer's arrogance?? "Oracle are idiots, we wouldn't want to do that therefore all other software vendors should do the same". How can someone be so arrogant?? Rhetorical question incidentally...

  35. Camilla Smythe


    'Microsoft supremo Steve Ballmer has burbled "I have no idea"'

    There you go then.

    News elswhere suggests that Microsoft have found out that diaper bags have a third dimension.

    When questioned a 'SpokesWoman' said 'BlabwaffleBlab but you will be pleased to know that... arghgh arghghrhg!'

    Spike 4!

    Spike 3!

    How did this one get out?

    Sir! She wanted a cheese sandwich... Sir!! Sir!!! I am self terminating NOW.

    It's tough on the inside. He was the Son of my Freind. It's a cry for help. It's time to stoke up the barbecue.

  36. Matthew
    Gates Horns

    PEBKAC Error anyone?

    Meh, it's thinking like that that has allowed Google to come from behind and scare MS as it has.

    Vertical Integration actually means something in the corporate world, and that's why a software company would buy a hardware co. Ignore the goodwill, patent portfolio, and opensource development that I'm sure both Oracle and MS would love to make use of. Oh yeah, Java. Never mind that has all kinds of applications in terms of Oracle's operations. There's no way Ellison wouldn't know this.

    I also believe Ellison's made more money than Ballmer, if that's any indication of knowledge and success (not saying that it is), then I'm more inclined to go with Ellison's decision here. There is a reason ahead in that game.

    Balmer's either not being honest, or else he's not fully appraised of the particulars here. I'm not sure which it is though.

    Bad Bill because his predictions are about as good as Ballmer's.

  37. WinHatter
    IT Angle

    Ballmer = b*ll*cks

    how pertinent !!!

    Hope this drunken idiot brings down the M$ house.

  38. Mike Richards

    @ Michael Philbey

    Technically Balmer is correct when he says Microsoft doesn't own hardware companies. They do the design of products and subcontract the whole process of making the boxes to companies like Flextronics.

    But by that measure Apple isn't a hardware company either.

  39. Fozzy


    and why would a software house peedle crapware. But hey it seems to work for micro$lop

  40. Paul

    Ballmer is an


  41. Mark
    Jobs Halo


    Doesn't that mean copying Apple?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: official MS botnet

    isn't that called Windows Genuine Advantage?

  43. This post has been deleted by its author

  44. David S

    "You'll see us innovating..."

    I think he may be talking about the new market he's spotted for thermal underwear in hades...

    Mine's the one with the sweaty patches under the arms...

  45. Derek Hellam

    He has no idea

    "I have no idea why a software company would buy a hardware company"

    He is right, he has no idea.

    The longer Balmy stays at the top of MS the better for everyone, one more monopoly in the shit.

  46. John O'Hare

    @Robert Moore

    "Could someone remind me. What was Microsoft last innovation?"

    Believe that MS Bob should fall into that category.

    Can't think of anything else besides that though.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @ the Xbox and zune crowd...

    Do either of the products mentioned have an enterprise presence? No. Do they compete with Sun's server and storage products? No. You are idiots. Just like Ballmer. Zune isn't even present in consumer electronics and Xbox is a loss leader. They should stick to mice and keyboards...

  48. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Que Sera Sera ... and the Hunt of Red IntelAIgents

    "sponsorship .... I think Microsoft has "sponsored" way to many Russian software projects over the past few years" .... By Peter Posted Wednesday 22nd April 2009 18:04 GMT

    :-) That had me smiling, Peter. Shame that they are unable to show leadership as well, though. Which is always a problem at the very Top indicating a Lack of Necessary Intelligence, although Microsoft's well known answer to buy it in with an asset purchase [embrace, extend and extinguish] is a neat trick costing them virtually nothing but cash which is always being printed by them and which they can't seem to get rid of.

    If the Russians had, or were provided with some super duper new Intellectual Property, Microsoft could supply them with a Fortune to License it, whilst waving their banner over it as if theirs, which is another neat trick they have perfected.

    And if IT was/could also supplied to the Chinese or the Koreans or the Iranians or the Zimbabweans or Americans or British ie Everybody too ... would it make Absolutely Fabulous Ridiculous Fortunes.

    So the moral of the tale is ..... be a Purveyor of some super duper new Intellectual Property in Order to make Absolute Fortunes for ..... well, if truth be told, IT would be for everyone as it creates the Generation of Currency for Spending, and which those with Wealth lack the Intelligence to Spend Wisely and Generously .... thus confirming Andrew Carnegie's observation ..... "To Andrew Carnegie, giving away one's accumulated wealth for the common good was just as important a task as building up that wealth in the first place. It had to be done right, and it had to be done personally.

    If someone failed at this task, Carnegie was blunt about the results: "The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced."" ....

    And man, is the artificial world full of such disgraceful beings or is it full of such disgraceful beings ..... parasites gathering up globally created wealth as if it was their own rather than releasing and directing its power for creation and empowerment with its abolition of both greed and money worries and poverty.

    A Quicker Route to an Absolute Fortune to Spend though, is to go Direct to Microsoft, or a Rival Competitor, with some super duper new IP .... or even to the Banking Sector, [which might even be a trip down to Tesco's] to Corner and Run the Markets in IT, Oneself, with their Help.

    It all depends on the Intelligence Levels of those you would be talking to ...... it always has been so ..... and always will be so.

  49. Doug Glass

    As One Of...

    ... my most favorite characters, Bugs Bunny, once said "What a maroon".

  50. Anonymous Coward

    There's two very solid reasons MS won't buy a h/w company...

    ...somebody like Dell, say.

    First off, can you _imagine_ the shitstorm of anti-trust/monopoly investigations that'd land on them?

    More importantly, what would the reaction of the other manufacturers be...? Can't imagine HP being very thrilled at their market just being poisoned like that...

  51. goggyturk


    Given the pile of cash they've lost on Xbox and Zune, I'm not surprised they're not interested in hardware any more.

  52. Doug

    why a software company would buy a hardware company

    "I have no idea why a software company would buy a hardware company. We don't want to buy any hardware companies,"

    Because they get to control the total stack. A good move for the new Sun division would be to partner with media and telecoms companies and sell a total solution for the next wave of online rich content. Sell the server hardware and software to the content providers and sell a high end multimedia computer to the consumer for the living room. They would make their money back on subscriptions.

  53. Habeeb

    Never understood why...

    Ballmer is still the CEO of MS - apart from the usual story of being Bill's roomy. Seriously, the only reason MS hasn't imploded with the weight of his incompetence is because of what it is - a monopoly OS supplier and for the widespread use of excel (excel more then doc or ppt)

    If it wasn't for the above two money printing machines, they would have (should have) gone bust a long time ago. But with these two, I'm sure even their janitor could have done a credible job.

    Ballmer talks without thinking, he acts without thinking and I'm sure he overrides better opinions/judgements within his company without thinking. He comes across as an idiot.

    MS does have some good products. Xbox360 is a very nice product. I still use the old explorer mouse. And Windows 7 Beta is definitely an improvement over the purgatory that is Vista. I'm not a developer, though my mates are very comfortable with their tools. Someone more informed then me can jump in on that point.

    But for everything else, MS has preferred to copy/buyout another company's idea/software then innovate. I think its because the head of their company does not understand technology or customer expectations. He didn't have to... money was rolling in anyway.

    And for his reaction to the Oracle-Sun deal... more of the same. He does not understand what market expectations are. This is a fellow who wanted to pay USD 40 Billion for yahoo! !!!!!!????

    How I wish that deal had gone through.......

  54. Tris Orendorff

    "You'll see us innovating in search,"

    Only if "innovating" means: everything past the third result found isn't totally irrelevant to your search terms.

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