back to article Microsoft ultra-thins to 'out cool' netbooks, Apple

Microsoft is betting ultra-thin laptops can steal business from netbooks and Apple this Christmas while providing the opportunity to sell more expensive copies of Windows. Speaking at Microsoft's annual Financial Analyst Meeting in Redmond, Washington, chief executive Steve Ballmer told investors that Microsoft, Intel, and PC …


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  1. J 3


    Are they still mentioning the (as far as I remember) lie that the return rates are higher for Linux-based machines?

    Anyway, it all shows how desperate they are to kill the "netbook"... And they are succeeding, no doubt. Windows fans, have you thanked the Penguin today? Or do you think you'd still have XP, nearly for free, if it wasn't for the original "netbook revolution"?

  2. Ty
    Jobs Halo


    Too little too late Monkey-Boy!

    You are on a sinking ship and you can't even see it!

    Start swimming windoze fanbois!

  3. E 2

    Windows on netbook

    I bought an eeepc 1000HA last winter. It came with Windows XP Home edition on it.

    XP Home cannot participate in domains. Yet, when looked at the services control panel all the MS NetBIOS networking bits and pieces were turned on anyway, wasting RAM and presumably some CPU cycles.

    So I wiped the disk and installed Fedora 10. I am happier now.

    Good day.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Looks like they completely missed the ball again

    They only brought their netbook share up when the started giving away Windows XP. Now they think they can raise the price? Their market share will drop right back down...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But how is Microsoft, a software company

    going to make "cool" (whatever the hell that means in Ballmer's mind) hardware? No, where MS went wrong is in chasing volume of whatever they could sell (hint: not Vista) and allowing their partner companies to head for the bottom of the stack by making cheap'n'nasty the new paradigm. Bravo. When your biggest-selling product is the stuff that people have to look at all day at work, you're never going to be cool, simple as that.

    I'm increasingly coming to believe that Ballmer is in possession of a Reality Distortion Field which, unlike that belonging to the other Steve and of which it is but a sloppy copy, is tuned to focus its energies inwards rather than outwards.

  6. Dazed and Confused

    What a suprise

    M$ just don't get it at all.

    Why do I have a netbook? My netbook is not a replacement for my laptop.

    I like my netboot because

    it is small!

    it is light.

    I can carry it about easily, because it is small and light

    It was cheap, so I can afford to have one as well having laptops and desktops and servers.

    A lot of people who see tell me it's cool, personally I don't give a sh1t... see above

    So W7 is going to be within spitting distance of $200 well kido my netbook with a 1280pixel wide screen didn't cost much more than that and the OS and all the office software didn't add to the price.

    So why would I want a ultra thin to replace my netbook.

    It will be big, the wife couldn't pop it into her handbag.

    It will cost loads of money - aim for $200-$300 all in, OS & Office included.

    An ultra thin might make a great laptop replacement, but it ain't going to be a netboot.

    My netbook ain't going to replace my phone/ which also sends email, surfs the web, reads office docs and PDFs...

    My netboot ain't going to replace my laptop

    It is it's own device with it's own role

  7. Michael C

    By Chirstmas they'll what?

    - Design a new form factor chassis for a non-existant model that's rigid enough to be so thin but light enough to be worth it

    - test ultra-low thermal envolope CPUs or new ultrathin cooling systems that don;t yet exist

    - design new motherboards and daughterboards to fir new chassis form factor

    - pretend noone needs an Optical drive on a Windows box, and then design a matching external drive everyone will order as an upgrade.

    - write new drivers for all the hardware we've not used before in this new model line

    - Design a manufaturing line to actually make these things, then build it in a factory, not to mention we'll actually need several as many parts are made in different places and assembled elsewhere...

    - Make it cool enough to sport a $200-300 price premium for it's size compared to slightly larger much faster, cheaper machines.


    - have all this in full ramped up production by what, October 1st, in order to make enough product to beat the Christmas retail freeze data, and have enough stock to ship to over 5,000 retail outlets and still have some for the web site, in multiple models and configurations and colors to boot.

    Balmer is one of the most clueless blowhards to ever be authorized to speak to the press on behalf of a large firm. He has NO IDEA about the amount of effort it takes to engineer a product, let alone one that only Apple really has made successful in the past. Engineering such a machine was tried by a few competitors, and they all failed, and lost millions on the effort. Slimline, low power machines like these are niche products, and in this market, and with Apple's continuing success, and with the other's sliding market share, any manufacturer knows that trying to take on Apple on their own turf with a new product line is destined to fail, since if Apple even felt the tiniest bit threatend, they could knock a few hundred off the cost of their machine and still profit (since the line and research/development has long since been recouped on their end).

    I'm not a fanboi of Apple, but even I see this as a completely stupid idea even in a good market, and to make it a reality in less than 3-4 months? complete insanity!

  8. Snert Lee

    Who makes what?

    So Microsoft is announcing their new lineup of portable computers?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't this mean that ...

    ... every "Lauren" out there won't be able to buy a PC ever again as they will be too uncool?

  10. Charlie Barnes


    "Microsoft ultra-thins to 'out cool' netbooks, Apple"

    And fails.

  11. N2

    Two words that dont make sense together

    Microsoft & cool

  12. Anonymous Coward

    This guy is in charge of Microsoft?

    So laptops that Microsoft DO NOT MAKE are going to "out cool" Apple?

    I think I've heard it all.

    I can't imagine hardware partners are going to make hardware with the aesthetics of Apple. Dell, HP, Sony, Acer, Toshiba. Samsung, Levono et al may make some credible laptops..but can they make "cool"?

    No chance.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve, ... No!

    Uh-huh. 0/10 for language.

    Threat, attack, upsell, adjust North ...

    The wurdz are so negative dood!

    How about

    creative competition, enthusiasm to win, give our customers and our end users the best upgrade options on the market, be competitive in all aspects of pricing, ... ?

    This, to me, looks like another case of an excellent 2nd in command taking stuff into steep decline.

    Some language surely is needed for non-public, non-publicly quoted stuff and that can indeed go into hard sell economics but for the mainstream you gotta sell positively and positivity positively positive.

    Puh-lease! No negatives in public statements - u no it makes sens.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Someone should gag him...

    "That thing is heavier than the Toshiba I carry," said Ballmer When Kawasaki remarked that it was more powerful than Ballmer's Toshiba, he shot back, "that thing is missing half the features of a PC. Where is your DVD drive? Let me look for that." [] Amusing, but what a dick. Just for interest,

  15. Flybert
    Paris Hilton

    wow .. did not realise

    Microsoft is a laptop designer and manufacturer, when did this happen ?

    I suppose when the stores open we will see these Microsoft brand ultra-thins ?

    "Microsoft" ... ummm .. "ultra-thin" .. errr ...

    maybe this makes sense to Paris(?)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Is this in the vein "We're innovating new ways to break standards before you can implement them"?

  17. Uwe Dippel
    Gates Halo

    Bast*** Ballmer!

    We - that is a lot of people - have been trying to buy a netbook without the Windows tax for the last half year. No way, no Asus, no DELL, no Lenovo. Out.

    When they came out, Linux was the choice: Asus, Acer. I have one single Acer Aspire One, bought at a store price of 2/3 of what all the netbooks cost in these days, a S110. It booted Linpus from power-switch to completely loaded in 18 seconds, and does a great job (40 seconds) now with Ubuntu's netbook remix.

    I bet, Microsoft has twisted the arms (pun intended) of all manufacturers. If only the EU, and the legal watchdog in the USA were looking into these shady cartel practices?

    I wonder how powerless the manufacturers are? They could have sold a bunch of extra netbooks to my friends and colleagues. Since when does a business not want to sell? Only when the mafia from Redmond threatens them into submission.

    And as a 'thank you', Steve Bas**** Ballmer now wants to pull the carpet from underneath these same manufacturers, and Apple, of course.

  18. jim 45

    Am I reading this right?

    Ballmer says the price of Windows for netbook is going UP?

    Short this company.

  19. ash9.5

    One hand washes the other

    yesterday marketing officer Sean Maloney in an interview

    (From Register article: Windows 7 finds home at Intel)

    But Maloney wants companies to upgrade their PCs to run Windows 7. "Now the question is," he said, "can we get the argument to the CFOs and the CEOs that it makes more sense to spend a little bit on capital to reduce your operating costs?"

    What Maloney really said:

    I'll get CFO's and CEO's to spend on Windows 7 , and (discounted) Intel boxes from our partner retailers (cha-ching).....and you guys ditch AMD

    Ballmers reply: Today

    "When a customer says we want a netbook with bigger screen we will say here's an ultra thin," Ballmer said. "We want people to be able to get the advantages of light weight performance and be able to spend more money with us and Intel and Dell and HP and others."

    What Ballmer really ment:

    We hear you loud and clear Intel...AMD who! - others

  20. GrantB

    Ballmer has serious Apple envy problems

    Check out Ballmers opinion of a superslim laptop just one year ago:

    Yet, two years after Apple, they are going to bring one out. If they are doing nothing but chasing (several years behind) Apple and Google, they are seriously in trouble.

    How long before Ballmer is kicked out?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disconnect between work and reward

    '"When a customer says we want a netbook with bigger screen we will say here's an ultra thin," Ballmer said.'

    '"When you see the hardware the PC designs that will come out this Christmas with Windows 7 that conventional wisdom will begin to change," Ballmer said.'

    '"Ballmer vowed prices would go up, and Microsoft had a "great chance" to up-sell customers"'

    So Microsoft can charge more for Windows because other companies have put in hard work to make PC hardware snazzy? (I doubt Microsoft exercised any initiatives towards upcoming cool hardware.)

    What a great position Microsoft has worked itself into! LOL

  22. Penguin007
    Jobs Horns

    Ballmer doesn't get it

    Netbooks are not the same thing as laptops, dude. Google is going to kick your a*** when they marry their OS with the low-end netbooks.

    And besides, since when did Ballmer know ANYTHING about "cool"?

  23. slack


    Once again Ballmer opens his gob and shows what an idiot he is

  24. Jonti 1

    Dell Inspiron Mini 10v

    I've just taken delivery of a Dell Inspiron Mini 10v. No Windows tax.

    It was £199 with Ubuntu preinstalled. Nice.

    And nicer still once I'd replaced Dell's slightly tweaked Ubuntu 8.04 with the real McCoy ~ the Netbook Remix version of Ubuntu.

  25. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    note to Balmer: There is things called a Recession

    in your prime market areas.

    Who do you think is going to ante up the same price for the OS as for the Hardware on one of the so called vapourware 'cool' devices?

    Answer: Very few. Actually the few who don't want a netbook and can't afford a Mac.

    Are you going to port Windows 7 (not CE please) to ARM? I think that is where the next 'cool' devices will be centred. Apple already have OS/X running on Arm and could easily bring out an ultra cool Mac that consumes milliwats of power (not watts) and has a 24hour battery life. That coupled with a LED screen would be cool(and not only thermally).

    Please Mr Balmer, go back to sticking your head in the Sand. The world is a better place without your ill thought out predictions.

    btw, I give your 'retail' outlets 6 months tops. You can't copy Apple and win here as you don't have the product to compete. Touch alone (as a USP) won't bring in the $$$$. Everything else is and has been available elsewhere for ages.

    Wacko. As you clearly need an economics lesson.

  26. F Seiler

    Dear Microsoft

    Dear Microsoft, have you not learned from the FAIL of the concept of "UMPC"?

    You as foremost a software maker (yeah and some pehripherals and a huege black box) may not necessarily be the one who best predicts what customers long for as next "cool" PC form factor (hardware, that is).

    Especially not so if you were to let yourself be lead by "what new computer type fits Windows" rather than by user feedback, field research and/and UI professionals and then ask yourself "how does Windows need to change for these".

  27. Mark 65

    Balmer the muppet


    "Just as rich graphics come to HMTL it'll [innovation] be about touch," Ballmer said.


    Yeah, because I'd just love to own a laptop/netbook/tablet with smeary dirty finger marks all over the fucking thing. Prat.

  28. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Utra thin?

    I thought it was only Mac fans that fell for stupid marketing ideas like 'ultra thin'.

    It doesn't actually save any space real space - unless you cant really use a computer and it just sits in your bag with a lot of paperwork...that you couldn't get on the computer??

    And then disappears down the back of the sofa with the telly remote.

    I'd be interested to hear how many of these things get snapped or otherwise damaged cos they're ultra-thin.

  29. Richard Cartledge
    Jobs Halo


    Ballmer could be a Jobsian shill.

  30. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Ballmer, missing the point as usual!

    Ballmer, the clue is in the name, "NETBOOK", a ploy on "NOTEBOOK", as in scribbling thing for very quick note taking and reading. Just 'so your dopey O/S needs 180 key keyboard and a 27" screen cluttered with crap widget, other don't!

    People who buy netbooks and then complain they're too small are prats! You wouldn't test a car, find there isn't enough leg room then still shell out £20k for it would you? So why is a £200 any different? No you're a prat with more money than sense!

    I have a Mac at home, I bought one of the ACER Aspire One netbooks and loaded OSX and Ubuntu on it. It's fantastic, I have big fat hands but I accepted that it would be small, at the same time I know it's not meant to be worked on all day! It's for the odd email, 20 minutes of Youtube or finding a map or product page, bit of webmail and maybe a little bit of casual gaming.

    When I have to visit the DR site for work I ALWAYS take my netbook. It fits snuggly into a space in a cab while I test this and that, while everyone else has to make do with clunky laptops and those hideous cab terminals that make you crane your neck too far.

    If I wanted "cool" (whatever that is?) or big screen or big keyboard I would have bought a Macbook, but Mr Jobs has had quite enough money out of me! I may be a bit of a gullible prat with too much money, buying a Mac, but I'm not a complete prat!

  31. James 30

    Don't panic, don;t panic!

    I think what's really interesting, is that Microsoft consider Apple such a real threat to their business. It's not so much the Netbook fad that Balmer is trying to kill, he knows that it's already a lost battle and you can't compete an OS that works great and costs nothing, with an OS that works ok, but costs a pile of dosh.

    Three years ago, Apple were just some niche computer maker that had done amazingly well in the consumer electronics market with the iPod. But in that time, possibly propelled by the iPod, people have been taking note of their computer range that has been typically well thought out and implemented, and decided to give it a go.

    I tend to see more people at airports with MacBooks, less so Netbooks these days. The odd few have a windows laptop. I'm not going to pretend that this is anything but a casual observation of a trend, rather than hard data, but it's been big enough to notice without actively looking.

    Apple has almost all of the pc market covered with its range. From the "cheap" entry level Mac Mini to the awesome Mac Pro and the same goes the Mac Book range. Yes they are expensive when you compare them to the more cheap n' cheerful windows range, but they all work amazingly well and the bottom of the range Macs all have exceptional performance when coupled with OSX.

    Microsoft is gunning for Apple in an attempt to dampen its rise in the home computer market, but somehow, I don't think Microsoft know how to do this. I'm not saying that Apple is going to conquer Microsoft, but it might be that the stranglehold on the pc market is well and truly over with Microsoft being just another software house instead of the "be all and end all" of the business.

  32. frank ly
    Big Brother


    "..will attempt to push Windows as a lifestyle concept on PCs, phones, and TVs. "

    Isn't that like pushing fleas and lice as a lifestyle concept?

  33. SuperTim
    Thumb Down


    So cool-microsoft is one, as is cheap-apple and ubiquitous-linux (i know they arent all mentioned). What about secure-windows or open-iphone?

    Horses for courses. I wouldnt buy an ultrathin, just because it makes me look cool. That sort of behaviour singles one out as being a twat. I also wouldnt pay a premium for windows 7 on a netbook, mainly because it wont be used for much else that surfing t'internet. So let M$ fight apple for the glamour and let us cheapo b'stards carry on using last year's laptops with lesser operating systems. We aint all rich!

  34. Anonymous Coward

    That Steve Balmer

    He's a proper twat isn't he?

    If Microsoft think they can hit the netbook market and supply laptops that have a cooler image than Apple then maybe Microsoft just have money to burn, who knows?

    Its because of stupid ideas like this that their operating systems cost so much, I would have thought with the upcoming release of Google Chrome OS, they would be focussing on ensuring they retain the home os market.

    Maybe that is what this is, maybe they aim to tie the PC manufacturers into making windows based PC's / Netbooks / laptops only, so the OEM builders can't touch Chrome?

    If it is, it will fail, Google will wipe the floor with them.

  35. King Edward I


    Small *cheap* computers. Fail.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    ha ha ha ha ha

    They think selling more expensive windows during the economical free fall will bring in more money. That people want that ultra thin and powerful laptop at vastly over priced rates when so many can't afford a weekly shop, or the next mortgage payment?

    Are we actually in the same reality as this man?

    They will do this, not sell the numbers and people will once again turn to cheap linux driven laptops, then MS will look bad and ballmer the imbecile will eventually be forced out, bringing peace and joy to the world.

    I hope ultra thin will be applied to the bloatware that was Vista and that windows 7 doesn't end up the same way. Not that I am going to buy it as I got Vista ultimate and I won't get bitten again.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    What planet....

    is Ballmer in orbit around?

    It certainly isn't this one.

    Hasn't he noticed that there is rather a bad recession going on, that people don't have money to spend, that factories and production lines are shutting down, that laptop manufacturers are having a hard time.

    It's just over 140 days until Christmas. Who the hell is going to do all the design and manufacturing? As another commenter pointed out ultra thins aren't just a matter of slapping the standard laptop mb into a new case, they need completely different designs, different and more efficient cooling systems.

    So unless Ballmer has a secret army of Christmas elves hidden away somewhere you have to wonder how much of this is just bullshit aimed at trying to persuade people not to buy a netbook running XP (which MS get less money for) or a shiny new Apple (for which MS get no money)

    I think Ballmer needs to go and lie down in the dark somewhere and take his little pills.

  38. RichyS
    Gates Horns

    Doesn't this already exist?

    Isn't small, thin and light with a bigger display what the MacBook Air, various Vaios. Thinkpad X series, Tosh Porteges etc. already offer? And it's a fairly niche market.

    And the reason they're not so cheap is that it's harder to make thin laptops that perform well. I suppose you could take the netbook internals and put them together with a 12-13" screen (spreading out the components and having a flatter battery would certainly make the netbook thinner). But, it would still be a netbook in terms of power, and unsuitable for 'upselling' Windows on.

    I don't get it. I'm sure everyone would love a cheap, thin, netbook. But I can't see how it can just magically be delivered.

    Ballmer is ruining Microsoft. How much longer are the shareholders going to put up with him and his idiot statements?

    Can we have a stupid Ballmer icon? His head on a monkey would do it for me... Evil Bill, as that's the closest.

  39. Anonymous Coward


    History shows us that there is an inevitable rise and fall in large civilisations and large corporations. Examples are ancient Greece, Rome and the British Empire for the former; Digital Equipment Corporation and IBM for the latter. How many years before Microsoft, Apple, and even Google are overtaken by newer and more focused upstarts?

    Still, one thing never changes, and we can comfort ourselves with the thought that powerful invective, however biased and ill-informed, will always be present in the comments to El Reg articles!

  40. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!


    Don't support these greedy bastards! 90% share isn't enough?

  41. Smallbrainfield

    Good luck selling those ultra thins, Steve

    Assuming they exist by christmas, who can afford a new piece of tat at the moment? I got a netbook cos they're smaller than a laptop and bigger than a phone, but most of all, 'cos they're cheap. It has XP on it 'cos life's too short for Linux. (Sorry, fanboys, but that's how it is with me and about 80% of the rest of the PC-buying public.) There must be a margin for a stripped down, cheap Windows 7 for netbooks. They're not going away at christmas just because somebody at Microsoft says they will.

    Duh, Steve.

  42. Matt 20

    I beg your pardon

    "Still, he made a point of saying while Chrome might implement standards like HTML, standards lag the pace of innovation from companies like Microsoft."

    Yes, because Microsoft is a true powerhouse of innovation. Whereas Google are the epitome of bumbling corporate lethargy. What a crock. The only innovation MS has come up with recently is the ability to invert the Reality Distortion Field up its own ass.

    So glad I'm finally free of MS and their BS.

  43. Linbox

    It's what the masses want

    I'm happy using a 'nix netbook as will most Reganistas because we work in IT. My non-IT mate just bought a netbook for his birthday and was offered two similarly spec machine, one with Linux and one with XP that was 20 quid more. He chose the XP one because he felt more comfortable with it, because all his other computers also ran XP.

    As much as idealists might not like it, the great unwashed like Windows. They don't understand all of the nuances of the argument. They just like what they know.

    Get over it.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Google OS

    Ballmer is going to try and sell W7 for more than the existing WinXP? With Google getting ready to provide a full on GoogleOS to the masses, aimed squarely at the netbook market.

    Is this man mad? Did he ever take a strategic marketing course?

    He needs to give away W7 for netbooks, and loosen the terms, if he is going to stand a cat in hell's chance of not gifting Google a bridgehead into microsoft's core OS market. There is no hope in hell that he will be able to wring more money out of W7. In fact, across the board he's going to have to make it about 33% cheaper than the 'preorder' price if he's not to kill microsoft.

    He really doesn't get it, does he?

    Buy Google, sell microsoft.

  45. ThomH

    The most easily believable part of the article

    "Ballmer ... said he doesn't understand Google's planned Chrome operating system."

    The only thing larger than Microsoft's Windows profit line is the list of things Ballmer doesn't understand. I appreciate that he was friends with Gates at university, but nevertheless someone must be able to oust him if the company keeps going like this?

  46. Anonymous Coward

    "Windows 7 on ARM"

    There's lots of good stuff in these comments.

    To the gentleman that suggested Windows 7 on ARM might be interesting: think about that for a few moments. Why would it be interesting? It's not the fact that it's Windows that makes it interesting, it's the fact that it has the range of Wintel applications. Which ARM doesn't have. It *could* have, technically speaking. But this market isn't driven by sensible technical factors.

    If it was just the fact that it was Windows, then surely (ho ho) Windows Mobile on ARM would do what you want? Except WinCE doesn't have much in common with Windows 7, apart from the vendor name.

    If it's apps you want, there's already Linux on ARM, with plenty of apps to choose from. But every time a mainstream PC vendor gets close to a volume ARM/Linux product, something seems to happen, they fall under a bus, whatever, leaving the ARM/Linux market in the hands of tier 2 (or worse) companies. Nothing whatsoever to do with tier 1 suppliers being demotivated from ARM/Linux by the convicted Wintel monopolists though, because that would be anti-competitive and (in many countries) illegal.

  47. Matt Bradley
    Jobs Halo

    Ballmer walks into it again

    '"Just as rich graphics come to HMTL it'll [innovation] be about touch," Ballmer said.'

    You mean like the iPhone and iPod touch, Steve?


  48. John Hoar

    Missing the point

    I think a lot of people are missing the point. There was a report that Apple are taking an enormous share of the $1000+ computer market - and this is the market that the OEMs are desperate to cut into. Microsoft, the OEMs and Intel all need to sell their big ticket items; the race to the bottom is fine in a recession, but they need to have some hope of recovering the high-end market share from Apple in the future.

    Shamelessly copying Apple is their tactic, first Vista now 'Ultra-thin'. It is clear they cannot innovate their way out of a paper bag.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Software maker

    MS makes the OS.

    Other companies make mostly cheap and cheerful, pile em high sell em cheap machines.

    Unless MS start making their own hardware, they can't dictate or try and persuade manufacturers what to make. They have no control over the market they're 'uncool' in - they just ship the software.

    I don't see the point of Balmer whinging - the only thing to do is start selling MS machines. Otherwise, there's nothing they can do.

  50. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Ballmer ... doesn't understand Chrome

    MS have either completely misunderstood the benefits of the WEB - which is a possibility, or to my mind more likely, they have understood it and realise the almost complete annihilation of their business model should others realise what its capable of and have devoted their efforts to undermining standards etc. to prevent others realising its capabilities.

    Google chrome is nothing new conceptually - the only things in there that might be described as new are components to replace those that were disabled by MS and others preventing agreement on very simple standards.

    Balmer may not understand it - but I bet 90% of their programmers do. Chrome merely makes it easier to use the WEB, as easy as it was before IE.

  51. Wonko the Sane


    Listening to calls for Ballmer to be replaced....are you out of your minds? Ballmer is the best thing that could happen to MS...he's just not the best thing that could happen for MS.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    It'll Be No DIfferent to now

    '"When a customer says we want a netbook with bigger screen we will say here's an ultra thin," Ballmer said.'

    Go into the likes of PC world and ask to see their netbooks, you'll find yourself saying "no, thats a dismally underpowered laptop, I want a netbook." It'll be the same then;

    You: I want a netbook,

    Spotty: We've got an ultra thin with bigger screen for ££££££

    You: No, I want a netbook

    Spotty: This is better sir

    You: But I want a netbook

    Spotty: No sir, netbooks are obsolete, decreed so by King Ballmer last month

    You: I couldn't give a flying f*ck, I want a netbook

    Spotty: TREASON!!!!!!!!

    You'd then be found guilty, and given a choice of sentences;

    a) Death

    b) Only able to use Vista for the remainder of your lifetime

    I know which I'd choose! OK maybe it's a little different to now

    Mines the one with netbook sized pockets

  53. N2

    Wait ! Steve Ballmer is trying to be cool...

    Well, sort of, cos he was at Mac World, Ive seen it on YouTube so it must be right

    Note the sweat patches at the end - yeuch.

  54. Paul Murphy 1
    Gates Horns

    Didn't take long did it?

    >Netbook users can also look forward to price increases on Windows.

    Meanwhile I bought a CnMBook off ebay, and didn't realise it was the windows one that you can't do anything with! I was hoping to install Linux and all sorts of things (like a mobile broadband dongle) but it's just one long list of 'not supported' - whereas the Linux one is much more game for things.

    Frickin MS and their Windows fixation!


    I guess the 'evil gates' needs to be updated...

  55. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Missing some points

    Balmer is talking about the CULV laptops that every man and his dog are due to release in the next 6 months. So for once he's talking sense.

    However the rest of it is his usual gibberish. He seems to be banking the farm on windows 7 being worth (to consumers) 25-33% of the price of a netbook.

    Consumers may opt for XP on a netbook when the differential is £20. What will they do when its £50 or £100?

  56. Doug Glass
    Gates Horns

    Round Man

    If SB thinks thin is cool, he must have a pretty low opinion of he personal coolness. One too many bananas me thinks.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    Windows fanbois, assemble!

    Aome on, the mothership is under brutal attack in these comments, surely one of you must be able to make some sort of point, however ill-founded or moronic, to defend The Sweaty One?

  58. Gordon861

    Ultra-Thin Netbooks ?

    If I buy a netbook it's because I want the damn thing to be small and browse the net etc whenever I want. But if they can combine the ultra-thin with the netbook and give me the best of both worlds I might consider it. Until then my NB100 is great.

    A thinner, lighter and tougher netbook would be a plus though.

  59. Law

    to quote another "great" leader

    There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — [pauses] - shame on you. Fool me — You can't get fooled again.

    Nashville, Tenn., (September 17, 2002)

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Hmmmmm Fooey

    Steve Ballmer? Ball + Me + Errrrrrr?

    Steve Ball Me Errrr - Ummmmm I'd pay MORE to not to have to have another botchy, cheapskate quality, maxi-priced corporate cash cow OS and software - in my life.

    NOT having ANY Microsoft based PC's in my life - feels as good as not having a football stuck up my arse.

    Linux Convert - Sanity and Quality BEFORE popularity.

  61. Dana W


    I've bought/built my last Windows PC, I don't care what he bullies the manufacturers into producing.

    I can't believe he is so out of touch that he wants the PC makers to copy one of Apple's poorer ideas. I mean, the Macbook AIR is his new target??? Earth to Uncle Fester, that one has only been so-so, even for Apple. The new 13 inch Macbook pro is $1100 and beats the shit out of the 15 inch Pro I bought two years ago for $2600.

    And YES Apple charges me more, but at lest it works like its SUPPOSED to. I don't habitually save documents every ten seconds anymore for fear of a crash or a freeze killing two hours of writing. The useful upgradable system life is at MINIMUM double a Windows PC. I have a 2001 Mac Tower that Is running Leopard, burning my media and being the house server. If I had a 2001 PC running Vista what would I be doing with it?

    Nothing. Because you can't.

  62. John Bailey


    A clone of the air from a Microsoft windbag... Classic stuff.

    Seriously though.. The same thing applies to the Windows wafer thin notebooks as applied to the Air.

    You are shrinking the wrong axis. Compact = small footprint. Thin = slow, hot, and pricey.

    Please please Keep Steve in his job. He is the best thing that could happen to Linux.

  63. George 24

    Same Strategy

    M$ has always used that marketing strategy. M$ decides what the punter wants and forces it down its throat.

    Why should it be different with net/notebooks.

    Can't wait for M$ to take over GM and decide what car we drive....

    You want a netbook, here is a truck, Thanks Stevie, you are a gem (nitalia)

  64. Neil Alexander

    @ J 3

    "Are they still mentioning the (as far as I remember) lie that the return rates are higher for Linux-based machines?"

    In the computer store that I worked in, this was very definitely the case.

  65. Volker Hett

    How can Linux Netbooks be returned

    when nearly nobody sells any?

  66. Anonymous Coward

    Everything is a threat to Microsoft

    Why is anything that works and sells is considered a "threat" by Microsoft?

  67. Kobus Botes
    Gates Horns

    Steve Ballmer must have

    read this article (, obviously. Albeit a little late, but just exchange Windows 7 for Vista and Bob's your uncle!

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Balmer is Ja Ja Binks!

    Balmer is a one man suicide team; a captain Ahab; the Ja Ja Binks of corporate America!

    His Microsoft’s worst enemy! Making such a stupid pie in the sky comment as “cooler than Apple” machines which have not even been glimpsed!

    Balmer – you are one stupid over paid idiot! You’ll sink Microsoft single handed!

  69. Rex Alfie Lee

    M$ to Develop Ultra-thin Notebooks

    The best they've ever designed is a mouse & keyboard which is totally different to all the other mouse & keyboards, just like all the other mouse & keyboards.

    M$ is an individual, just like Logitech is an individual.

    Get a Linux box. Give up the supremely ordinary.

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