back to article Ballmer says Windows will shame iPad

The race between Microsoft and Apple to dominate tablet computing is "on", according to chief executive Steve Ballmer. Today, Ballmer poo-pooed the iPad, saying that although Steve Jobs delivered some good work, the iPad is general-purpose, while Windows tablets will adapt to particular uses. We're in an iPad "bubble," …


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  1. John Savard
    Gates Horns

    As It Happens

    After reading the other news item, about applications being banned from the iPad because they include things that look like widgets in their interfaces, I am inclined to favor Windows Mobile for portable devices over the App Store.

    But when I hear that a Windows tablet will be "more beautiful than the iPad, I put its face to shame", I am reminded that, like Marjoly in the video game Rhapsody, Microsoft is evil!

    1. Lou Gosselin

      microsoft vs apple

      Anyone following my posts knows that I really don't want to go with windows, especially in new environments which don't benefit from backwards compatibility.

      However if the choice is an unlocked windows platform and a locked apple one, then there's no contest. Apple's terms treat other developers as adversaries. Whereas microsoft is much more developer friendly.

      Microsoft is by no means innocent, I'm still furious at the DRM they've used in the windows kernel to stamp out open source drivers. But the difference is clear, apple want 100% control of literally every app & developer, whereas microsoft merely want the developers to choose their platform.

      1. ThomH

        Luckily, that's not the choice

        It's shaping up to be Apple v Android in the immediate future, Apple v Chrome in the longer term. Ballmer has no vision and no artistry, and is single-handedly ensuring that Microsoft's fortunes are closely tied to that of the PC. Which is probably why there have been so many Apple v Google stories of late; both sense that there's a lot to play for while Microsoft sit idly by.

        1. Lou Gosselin

          Re: Luckily, that's not the choice

          Yes, I agree entirely, and I agree with the down votes as well. There's simply no winner if consumers are stuck with just microsoft and apple, the monopolist versus the monopolist wannabe (since those were the focus of the article). However as you pointed out, we do have more choices. I sincerely hope consumers educate themselves enough to support non DRM platforms. I doubt many iphone users realize how uniquely awful apple's developer terms are.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The thing is...

            "I doubt many iphone users realize how uniquely awful apple's developer terms are." I doubt they'd even give a shit if they did. I doubt it'd change many consumers opinions either.

            1. Lou Gosselin

              Re: The thing is...

              "I doubt they'd even give a shit if they did. I doubt it'd change many consumers opinions either."

              That's a good question, I wouldn't know where to get the answer though. I suspect some would care if they knew, but it is an unlikely topic for the general media to cover.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                I don't think they would...

                It's not as if the conditions are that bad, to be honest. The actual volume of rejections vs. accepted apps is small despite the media noise. For every app store failure there is at least a couple of equivalent success stories. If a dev doesn't like the terms there are plenty of other options and that the way I think the vast majority of consumers will see it. Android is providing the iPhone *and* the others an excellent level competition. Google are on the Crest of a wave with PR at the moment, so it's pertinent to remember that Android devices do have their problems too, as does development for the platfom. This is a particularly interesting thread on the subject It's long, but some of the stats make for interesting reading; piracy rates for the app developers particular app are 35% for Android and 13% for iPhone with a revenue split of ~$2500 and ~$7500 per month respectively. Sadly, the thread has be hijacked by fanbois from all sides, but the information presented there is interesting none-the-less. Despite the opines of fanbois for any of the platforms on this and other sites, all the solutions are quite remarkable when one takes the time to think about it. Unfortunately we live in a society that is obsessed with the cult of celebrity and web 2.0 user generated content has basically be taken over by the trolls. Sad times...

          2. DZ-Jay

            Developer terms

            >> "I doubt many iphone users realize how uniquely awful apple's developer terms are."

            I don't think they care. I know I wouldn't. Ultimately, the developers will gravitate to the platform with most users--isn't that what people always claimed regarding Windows vs. Mac OS? So far, developers have shown great tolerance to the "hardships" Apple imposes on them.

            I'm sure you're thinking that they will jump ship as soon for the Android platform, but only if the customers follow them too. So far, end-users keep on purchasing Apple devices without a hint of care or awareness to this alleged developers' plight.


      2. Anonymous Coward

        "Anyone following my posts"

        ... Realy... You think people follow your whit and wisdom?

      3. DZ-Jay

        Re: microsoft vs apple

        Consumers do not really care if the precious developers are treated as princes or paupers. They also would support a company that treats them--the end user, the one who pays--as their customers, and give them the priority they deserve as such; as opposed to treating their distributors, developers, and retailers as their clients.


  2. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Just ignore Ballmer

    He just sounds off about Apple and says it won't catch on. He said it about the iPhone.

    It's funny how Microsoft are on about making even more restricted products than the general purpose iPad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Just ignore Ballmer

      I already ignore much of the tripe that's spouted at Microsoft.

      Microsoft already have a tablet computer OS and it crashed and burned. Are they going to bring it back from the dead? It won't work - it was crap then and it's still crap now!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Also if Apple are to be believed they sold 2 million iPads in 60 days. Now what ever you think of the product you have to admit that its a pretty damned impressive number.

      Ballmer just made himself look stupid and arrogant with his comments over the iPhone and it looks like this is just another one of his foot in mouth moments.

    3. John Bailey

      Well... He has a partial point.

      Much as I hate to admit it.. Ballmer is right. Apple does not really have a business presence. MS does, but technologically, nothing that any body else can't do, or do better.

      iPads are not going to be good for non domestic applications. Little Stevie Jobs may do quite well in the domestic sector, but in the business sector, forget it. Even he knows this, and has not suggested that iPads are business devices

      Can you imagine a delivery driver turning up with an iPad for you to sign? With what.. Your finger?

      How about turning up with a low powered company configured android or win based tablet with GPS built in, and the time/date of delivery, route taken, signature recorded so they can track misdelivered packages better? I've even signed a few where someone was using a run out biro instead of a stylus. A capacitive stylus on the other hand.. Forget it. Cost of replacement alone is too much to make it viable.

      Stock control? Rugged cased tablet with a replacable plastic touch screen instead of a glass one? Drop it and it keeps on ticking.

      Palm (now HP) also has some pretty good patents on handwriting recognition. Personally I'd take a graffiti panel over an on screen keyboard any day.

      And how about medical uses.. An operating theatre with a sterilised cover on an iPad might work, but it complicates things. A watertight display that can be doused in disinfectant, no problem.

      And non Apple companies work as system integrators. Selling entire solutions from servers to POS units to companies. They can do their own branded generic units with their own software.

      Apple can do pretty. Apple can do sleek.

      Apple refuses to do generic.

      Apple can't do cheap. So a nearly £500 device used in place of say a £200 or less device.. Do the math.

      Many many others can do cheap. And many will. I can even see a £100-150 tablet coming to market within the next few years. And to be honest, a 6-7 inch one is much more practical for portable use than a 9 inch screen with a big bezel. Especially when the battery can be removable. Unlike some tablets I could mention.

      If tablets are the future, somehow I doubt the future is Apple.

      1. Ainteenbooty

        somehow I doubt that

        "If tablets are the future, somehow I doubt the future is Apple."

        You make good points about tablet applications for industrial use, but it's just plain ignorant and short sighted to not admit that the iPad is soon to corner the _consumer_ tablet market (hell already has since it's pretty much reestablishing it), and that this is where the lion-share of tablet money will be made, therefore your undoubtably correct observations do not seem to support your conclusion.

        Much as I hate to admit it... a consumer targeted Android tablet would stand little chance of ever breaking out of the "alternative to Apple" niche sector of that market, unless they plan to occupy the bargain bin.

        I would still write consumer targeted apps for Android even if it remained a niche market, assuming that wouldn't get my apps banned by the Appleschtapo, as a smaller market can offer a greater share of attention for an app.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Pass the popcorn

    Fantastic, MS are probably looking like a distant third in the tablet stakes right now, so Uncle Fester's dickwaving is particularly amusing. Still, it's almost nostalgic to see a story about Microsoft.

  4. Peter 39


    Please tell me again why anything that Steve Ballmer says really matters any more.

    I'm surprised he is still at Microsoft. Sure, the legacy cash-cows are OK but MS has signally failed to deliver anything that's forward-looking. And *that* is his job, and has been for some years now.

    They have nothing but a pile of fail.

    If the future is so rosy, why did they just kill Courier?

    1. StooMonster
      Gates Horns

      Madness of King Ballmer

      They had to kill the Courier because it didn't run a full version of Windows, and didn't run a version of Office ... after all, everyone wants full Windows and Office on every electronic device no matter what the size. Don't they?

      Actually, I don't. Why would I ever want to: edit a PowerPoint presentation on my phone, or open a spreadsheet model on a tablet, or install Photoshop on a netbook? Madness. I am quite happy to have my phone Office free, and my tablet as a big web-browser.

      That's why I think they didn't take Courier any further, there seems to be a dogma of Win/Off on everything at Microsoft.

  5. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    while Apple's head-in-ass attitude may be horrible, there's no way any el-cheapo tablet running Windows will hold much of the public's interest for long. Ballmer is just fluffing himself like he always does. Didn't Billg predict the age of the Windows tablet about 10 years ago? And aren't we still waiting for that day to arrive?

  6. Tony Paulazzo
    Gates Halo

    Aliens vs Predator

    Whoever wins we lose.

    Microsoft have good touch tech, but no decent touch UI (don't know about Win mobile), and they're fast becoming a victim of entropy. Apple are crap, Google becoming evil, we're fscked.

    Come back Bill we need a hero!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Linux, BSD, wxWidgets, Lazarus

      ...just four alternatives

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ha ha

      Please name this good tech from Microsoft because I don't know what it is. Everything seems to be Meh! Just a copy at most. No doubt you'll say Windows and Office but these are just average, and severely bloated. You might throw in some SQL Server but since I work with it I can tell you it is really not that good. Even their new Mobile operating system is a couple of years behind everyone else!

      I keep hearing about Google becoming evil but it will take a lot for them to surpass Microsoft. Microsoft are still being bastards in the tech arena but they produce a smidgin of goodness once in a while that seems to fool their fanboys. Google still have not put a foot wrong in my opinion. Well, they made a mistake with Buzz but still ...

      Microsoft will fail in the tablet arena once again. They will bully their way in via the OEMs but this will be another notch in their coffin, along with their disgusting behaviour in the way they ousted Linux on netbooks, and their behaviour with the ISO and OOXML. Plus their is their famous 'patents' they are blackmailing companies with. The cookie will crumble, believe me.

  7. Chad H.


    Why does every speech by Steve Ballmer make it clearer that he simply just doesnt get technology today. If we take Steve Job's analogy bit further, I think Steve Ballmer would be the guy still selling horses when everyone is moving on to cars (and trucks).

  8. Robin

    The Furious Furniture Flinger

    What's with this guy?

    Whoever operates his controls needs to drink less. Or more. I'm not sure which.

  9. Robert Moore

    Can't wait

    I can't wait for these to hit the market, so I can wipe out windoze and finally get the Linux tablet of my dreams.

  10. bolccg
    Thumb Up

    To be fair though

    Google is a behemoth in search - MS as a whole has more employees but surely spread over more diverse areas?

    You couldn't take the head of a subsidiary in a global group company to task for describing a competitor in his/her specific market as bigger just because the group their sub is part of is very large. So when Ballmer talks of that one part of the MS group he's right. Which doesn't happen too often, admittedly.

  11. RichyS
    Jobs Halo

    He still doesn't get it

    The best thing for Apple is Ballmer.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Chris Hatfield

      If Microsoft delivered 1/2 of what they promised, they'd be delivering true magic. They talk up products they are working on, blow through their dates, deliver late and deliver a small fraction of what they promised.

      Remember Ballmer used to be head of marketing - he's all about the promotion, and not about delivery or build. Whip the world into a frenzy about some future release and marketing has done its job.

  13. FredB

    Just shut up

    Every time this man opens his mouth, it just gets more embaressing. In Bill Gates' day, Microsoft could make money by copying other people's ideas, now they can't even do that.

    My personal investment in Microsoft skills is going down the gurgler with this idiot.

  14. Goat Jam

    Yea Verily

    For sooth, Ballmer is the best thing going about Microsoft.

    While he is there I worry far less about the future of the world.

    The guy is one great big sweaty mound of fail.

    Albeit one who has more money in his petty cash tin than I will ever see in my life but that's life in the industrialised world for you I guess.

    For some reason the shit always rises to the top of the tank.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    What a goon!

    Steve = scary for shareholders

  16. Doug 3

    this reminds me of a song

    it goes something like this:

    Same old story, same old song and dance, my friend.

    If the clues are not big enough to see yet, know this, Microsoft has failed at everything which has not been tied to their desktop and server OS. That's right, they've lost billions and continue to lose billions on everything not tied to the PC Windows OS. And Apple has all but stripped their bones clean in two segments, the multimedia player and the phone platform. It already looks like Apple is on another tear with the iPad while Pen for Windows had its start in the late '80s and Microsoft has tried over and over and over again to get people excited about it but failed. You think maybe it has something to do with Windows itself?

    1. AceRimmer



      And are they actually loosing money on windows mobile? They might be making less than they would like to but thats not the same as loosing money

      1. CD001


        Wow - that's actually turning a profit now - quick search says that it first started turning a profit in 2008... I suspect, overall, it's nowhere near paid for the investment yet though - still it's about the only thing that MS do that actually has a thin veneer of "cool" about it.

        No matter how many ads they pump out - an OS and Office suite is never going to be sexy - maybe MS should stick to what they're good at, getting businesses to fork over huge wads of cash and leave the consumer devices to Apple, Sony et al.

      2. Anonymous Coward


        Aye, Xbox is turning a wee profit now. It'll be many decades before it pays back the billions of losses its cost Microsoft at that rate though. You think Xbox360 will still be making a profit in 20 years time?

  17. Justin Clements


    Balmer needs to retire.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Retire? No, the board needs to throw him out on his arse. He will spell doom for Microsoft if they don't get him out and fast.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    If Ballmer is really this thick about the competition (i.e why there crushing them in phones and succeeding, with tablets, where they failed) then MS are in genuine trouble.

    The kind of trouble that means you're not really around ten years from now.

  19. CaptSmegHead


    One thing I've learned in the IT sector is to never ignore a pooh-pooh. I knew a guy, who got pooh-poohed, made the mistake of ignoring the pooh-pooh. He pooh-poohed it! Fatal error! 'Cos it turned out all along that the guy who pooh-poohed him had been pooh-poohing a lot of other guys who pooh-poohed their pooh-poohs.

  20. Electric Panda

    Steve Ballmer

    I don't trust him and find him quite an unnerving individual. The way he leaps around the stage, shrieking, then goes into an interview badmouthing a load of products that are better than his own is pretty unprofessional and blinkered. He was wrong about the iPhone, overconfident about Courier and the HP Slate, and that ridiculous Windows advert from 1985 will haunt him forever.

    Microsoft haven't been the same since Bill Gates left. He really knew what he was doing and I wouldn't be happy owning Microsoft shares or even working there under Ballmer as he has apparently developed a reputation for being a bit of a dragon and a hothead.

    I have this suspicion that Windows Phone 7 will be a lemon as, so far, it seems to be lacking quite badly compared to Android and iPhone (no third-party multitasking? Even Apple are putting that in) at and the handsets will likely be quite pricey. Windows Mobile has lost a lot of market share and popularity, will the new version really bring people running back?

    Microsoft are definitely showing signs of a gradual decline, while Apple and Google are bubbling to the surface. Steve Ballmer is being overconfident and mouthy again, and I highly doubt that any Microsoft tablet will be able to unseat the iPad and any other Android/Web OS variants.

    They're a tired company who are out of ideas.

  21. Franklin

    Are we talking about the same Steve Ballmer?

    The same Steve Ballmer who said "the iPhone is a loser"?

    Oh, right. Nothing to see here, then. Carry on!

  22. MRoberts
    Thumb Down

    Macs have a 7% share? Where, exactly?

    Maybe Macs have a 7% share in the USA (they don't, actually; they just constitute 7-8% of sales, which is different), but they certainly don't have 7% *worldwide*. Ballmer's quote (3%) is closer to the truth.

    Scroll down to "Worldwide Macintosh sales".

    The ~3% is confirmed here:

    Also, bear in mind that office machines (99% of which are PCs) are updated less often than home machines, laptops or workstations, so the actual share of PCs is higher than the number of sales would suggest. In other words, in terms of existing systems (not yearly sales), Macs are likely to be *under* 3% worldwide.

    1. OrsonX

      Workplace machines...

      .... in the Uni. dept. I work in are all being replaced by Macs, we have lots of students, ALL of them have a Mac, and because I could get an educational discount, guess what, I now also have a Mac*

      *although I bored with it and now want a gaming PC!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Utterly irrelevant.

      What *is* your point? Apple have surpassed Microsoft with their overall worth and they are more profitable *per employee* than Microsoft. That Apple sell less and effectively make more than Microsoft these day speaks volumes about Ballmer as a CEO. The whole "Ha ha, Apple's share is ridiculously small" is moot. It's a dinosaur of an argument that shows that Microsoft and their fans just aren't moving with the times. Even your sources are way out of date; and citing fanbois like Thurrott doesn't help your cause either--you'll be asking us to accept what the Daily Mail prints as gospel next!

    3. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Market shares

      Actually my personnal nmap-enabled crystal ball shows comparable «market shares» for Windows and Linux while Macs are more than an order of magnitude below (i.e. in the low 1-digit range). When I Iook at my web logs, however, Macs suddently jump to a low 2-digits share while Linux almost disappears... go figure.

      Of course, if I factored in utility devices such as routers and all that stuff, both MS and Apple «market shares» would probably look ridiculously low when compared to Linux but hey, some companies have to keep the FUD up to get money flowing from the shareholders.

  23. Anderthon
    Gates Horns

    Ballmer is nuts.

    I was part of a focus group for Windows Mobile back in '08 - a group that used Motorola devices with the Windows software... it was awful. It took me 3 hours the morning I received it to just get the XP machine I was running to sync up with the darn thing.

    My favorite feature was their "send a smile" function: push the camera button extra-long, and it would give you the ability to send Microsoft direct feedback - either a 'smile' or a 'frown.' I send no smiles - always frowns, and especially when I used my phone in the presence of my friends with iPhones.

    They ended the focus group after 6 months (was supposed to go for 12), and I FedEx'ed the phone back to Bellevue... in the box from my new iPhone.

  24. Eddy Ito

    Dear Mr. Balmer

    This is a clue. Get it.

  25. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    well to be honest I can believe Ballmer

    not because MS is doing anything right, but because Apple is doing everything wrong. Remember the Apple ][.

  26. TuckerJJ


    "the iPad is general-purpose, while Windows tablets will adapt to particular uses"

  27. stizzleswick

    Been there...

    ...done that. Windows embedded? *chortle* Works, so long as you don't want to do any work. Same device (a thin client in one particular case) under Linux turned out to be a real workhorse. Navigation on Windows CE or embedded? Slow, sluggish, buggy. Again, same device on OpenSource, worked fine, all the time. MS are seeing what their competitors are doing. I would wager a bet that managers up to the mid-level are realizing what is happening. Only His Steveness obviously is oblivious. The mobile variations of Windows have been in decline for years now (I won't feed you the statistics -- I don't trust any statistic I have not forged myself; look 'em up yourselves). Honestly, I believe Steve B. is doing an ostrich impression here, sticking his head in the sand so he won't have to read the writing on the wall.

    I'm off for a quick one -- the jacket where the wallet has just been stolen out of, please.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, going by past predictions, StevieB has now guaranteed the future of the ipad... also judging from his comments about Android, that will now rocket to the top also.

    Why can't this guy ever get a tech prediction right? even if he used a "non microsoft" random generator, he'd be right far more than he is now. (I say non microsoft because the last one they created to display the browser choice order wasn't entirely random)

    I'll putting my money on Android... mostly because it's open source and will fork if google start channeling Steve Jobs and locking it down.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Thomasj106

    Ballmer's talking out of his ass.

    Was a PC user for over 17 years. Bought a MB Pro last year. Now I'm kicking myself for not switching 10 years ago.

    Used a Palm since the Pilot came out in 1996. Loved Palm devices. Until the Pre came out. My new iPhone is much more awesome than my Palm was.

    Sure there are things about Windows and it's programs that I like. Sure I miss a few things that the Palm did. But overall, the hardware Apple produces is by far, superior to any Dell, HP, Alienware, or Gateway has produced. The operating system works flawlessly. Tech support from Apple is by far better than any I have ever encountered, hands down. And I didn't really need them. There wasn't a problem with the software. I was the one doing something wrong and couldn't get the program to work the way I wanted. An Apple tech showed me what I was doing and problem solved. Never once did I hear "It's not a hardware problem, call the software company." Nor did I hear "It's not a software problem, call the PC manufacturer."

    Keep talking, Ballmer...Maybe somebody will believe you. "An Apple today keeps the blue screen away."

    1. CD001

      Do you not think...

      ... that Apple tech support _might_ just be a wee bit easier since all the tech in an Apple is Apple certified? You don't get nuggets like me chucking Core i7s on Asus mobos with Corsair RAM, ATi Graphics cards into Lancool cases and overclocking the CPU by about 40%.

      And don't even start on software.

      So yes - Apples might be lovely if you want a device "that just works" ... and many people do. I, however, want a device cobbled together to my exact specifications, with blue flashy lights, that I can do whatever the hell I like with. Having it "just work" gives me something to aim for ;)

      I guess that's why more people drive Corsas than kit-cars.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      not convinced by this Apple support thing...

      Mate had his apple Os go titsup just displayed spinning wheel. Had all his photos on there (not backed up - yes, I know). Rang me and I said not a Mac person butwould guess an OS reinstall. He took it to Apple shop they said replace hard disk. On my advice he took it to his local tech shop and they repaired the installation.

      So Apple guys couldn't even recognise when their own OS corrupts. Or just wanted the extortionate money they charge for a new disk...


  31. Player_16

    'Hammering the truck-car analogy...'

    "Our cars will get bigger and sleeker and faster and better(?)... but they're still cars." ...In the US, they're called SUV's; Australia, Toorak Tractors. But he does have a point and he can't be too far from the truth. XP, Vista, W7, WP7.

    Balmer, all you gonna see is the tail-lights of OS X, Andriod, WebOS, from your sleek SUV... pulling a 'Flashy' boat.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    There's your problem Steve!

    Let me state first I don't really like tablets, I am too cack-handed to be trusted with that much glass!

    "Windows tablet will be general purpose and better."

    Ballmer, the reason the iPhone and iPad are bought en-masse are for the very reason it's locked down and made simple. Most people today are getting a bit fed-up that technology is so amazing that it can be overwhelming. Somebody takes a step back and decides that some stuff should be simple, so there is no confusion and the chances of stuff failing are significantly reduced ( plus we have you hooked for life if you want anything to run it, but shhh on that bit eh? ).

    That's why Jobs' stuff sells, it's safe and easy to use for average Joe. Apple don't make stuff for geeks, they make stuff for users. MS are still trying to cover all the bases, hook 'em all in.

    Ballmer just seems to spend all his time acting like some kind of US style Del Boy. "Don't bovver with them! I'm not asking $50! No! Put your money away! Gawd help us! No, I am not even asking $40. No! Hear me out! Here we go, I'm only askin' $30! How's 'bout that then, eh? No? Look I'm cuttin' me own throat. To you Darlin', $20! Come on!"

  33. Trevor_Pott Gold badge



    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I really believe the IT industry will be much better off with a much smaller (influence-wise) Microsoft. So no, please keep monkey boy exactly where he is.

      Besides, there are hard times ahead ... we need all the comic relief we can get.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems Ballmer doesn't know what MS actually does

    or does he believe Windows 7 and Windows Mobile to be one and the same thing?

    On the other hand, if he's so short-sighted about what's happening under his own nose, it would go a long way to explaining his myopia about the rest of the industry, although not his seeming lack of any greater vision.

  35. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Bye bye MS

    Every interview with Balmer seems to be about "we *will* be doing something better".

    It tells me that Microsoft is slowly bleeding to death. Sure, it takes a long time because it's a big beast of a company, but it is bleeding nevertheless. Ballmer doesn't have what it takes to lead the company: vision. Sure, he has the lack of ethics and disrespect for law and end users any MS exec requires to reach the top, but he lacks that one key quality you need as CEO: vision.

    All you get from Ballmer is "tomorrow we'll be better than X, Y and/or Z", but there is absolutely nothing new. Nothing. Nothing that delivers innovation (other than new ways to animate a desktop and waste more and more computing power), nothing that actually delivers customer benefit. Nothing that a customer WANTS, only what MS has to ram down the throats of the gullible by means of marketing, bribes and plain breaking of rules with total and absolute disregards of the consequences (the ISO standard being a sterling example).

    Even at the most basic level, MS Office, innovation just isn't there. They nuked usability with the ribbon, so I guess the next version will remove it again and then claim improved productivity (ignoring the time to need to spend digging for where the &%&* they stuck all the functions you need this time). I have just been playing with iWorks, and even the most basic functions in Keynote are so effective I don't think the copy of Powerpoint on my machine will get much work.

    MS confuses features and functionality with usability. And in that aspect, Apple gets it right, partly because it handles the whole chain to the end user, hardware and software - using that to leverage itself into the mobile phone revenue stream, something that nobody else has ever managed.

    As long as MS does me-too they will be continue to slowly sink. Until, like a substantial part of the US beaches, it too will be covered in a thick, suffocating coating of oil.

    Ballmer only continues what has crap about Gates. Which is exactly the part the company needs to lose, ergo Ballmer is very much the wrong man for the job. All IMHO, of course.

    1. OrsonX

      "They nuked usability with the ribbon"

      so true! I hate it soooo much! makes me want to cry....

    2. Rob Dobs

      Apple is new M$?

      I see Apple becoming more like M$ was everyday, in the ways they stifle competition and try to lock in the users into their buying all Apple, and lock out competition.

      I do agree that Apple "gets it" though. I think Jobs, just like Eddison gets WAY too much credit for inventions made by the people he employs, but regardless of the source, Apple seems to understand that people do want their devices to work together, and do so effortlessly.

      I also do agree that M$ is slowly bleeding to death, but I don't think they will just give up and die. Ballmer will get replaced, if not soon, after a few years of failing results.

      M$ just has too many assets and patents to NOT be a major player in the PC world for at least

      another decade or two.

      Don't get me wrong I will visit their grave to dance it on it when it comes about, just not certain

      that will happen in my lifetime.

      I do agree that they have lost the position they once had to force behavior in the marketplace. But they will adapt, they are sneaky bastards over there. They have already embraced hadoop opensource software to run parts of Bing, and have at least made the necessary efforts to pretend to open their protocols up. Still up to the same tricks I am sure, but they will only change a bit at a time as they need to. (Releasing silverlight code to opensource moonlight but not the most recent version - which blocks Ubuntu users from enjoying Netflix on demand, seems right out of their old playbook)

      Office and Outlook still have a lock on businesses, and there is no solid calendar/email application that looks to threaten in anytime soon. M$ made a huge land grab of games developers too, and M$ owns a lot of titles, and a lot of games programmers working for them.

      Xbox and these games (made for PS3, Wii, PC etc as well) will continue to make the some serious loot for years.

      I think in theory your comments are dead-on, just maybe in reality a little optimistic.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Outlook, yes, Office, no longer

        Come to think about it, Outlook is pretty much the only solution out there that integrates calendar, email and task management really well - but even there the never ending "featurism" has pretty much neutered the program as its functionality is now buried under layers and layers of crap "make it look good" UI gloss which do nothing to make it work better.

        As for Office, the rot set in when Sun bought released OpenOffice in the wild, but I have also worked with iWorks over the last few days. It's quite an eye opener to find that you can be productive again - especially Powerpoint is worlds most dangerous time waster (not just in creation, but also in how it enables extremely bad presentation habits).

        I switched only a week ago, but I have yet to find a reason to use the Windows VM or even MS Office. That is impressive IMHO..

  36. Adam T

    Who is Steve Ballmer?

    And what is this Microsoft company he keeps mentioning?

    "We have to execute."

    I hope he realises "sepuku" isn't a numbers puzzle played on a grid.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Steve Ballmer

    Microsoft's Board of Directors need to get rid of Ballmer and put in someone who knows about tech.

    All he has is a B.A. in mathematics and economics.

    He's a dropout. Left Stanford Uni Graduate School of Business to work at Microsoft.

    A tech company should have tech people at the top not a drop out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Google and Apple...

      seem to be working just fine with drop-outs near the top, admittedly they are tech drop outs, but drop outs none the less.

    2. Curtis Crowson

      I believe Jobs and Gates were both drop outs.

      Gates was a great CEO. And Jobs is still a great CEO.

    3. fandom

      Drop outs

      You do know that Bill Gates also dropped out and that Steve Jobs only attended college for a few months, right?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    both of em

    Isn't the F150 still the top selling vehicle in the US?

    1. Random_Walk

      Yep, however...

      Have a gander at this:

      The Ford F-150 is the top selling consumer vehicle in the US, followed by another pickup truck - the Chevy Silverado. Together, they total ~84k vehicles sold in May 2010.

      That said, the other 8 models in that list together have sold roughly ~200k vehicles during the same time period.

      If the analogy held, then PC's would end up getting out-sold by at least 2:1 :)

  39. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    Regarding Bing

    Overheard conversation.....

    "Dad, what's Bing"?

    "Well, it's like Google, but not as good"

    Seems those expensive TV ads are working, then.

  40. Jess

    Egg freckles

    Windows tablets have been done before and they were utter crap.

    Apple did a tablet before, and it was apparently not too bad.

    The only show stopper for the iPad is the walled garden. Most non-techies will be happy with that to be honest.

    It doesn't matter at all if the iPad remains a niche product, because it runs the same software as an iPhone.

    If you want a giant iPod touch, and you can afford the the overpricing, you won't be taking a risk.

    With every other platform you will. (At the moment).

    A microsoft pad would either be based on x86 windows (Arm is a much better alternative - heat and energy.) which would be almost as bad as the old ones.

    Or it would be based on windows mobile. I have a windows mobile device, I was given it (it was used for a week, sat in a cupboard for a couple of years), it is pretty awful as an OS, but at least it has a few very useful apps. (I can't see anyone who doesn't work in IT support coping with the thing, to be honest, and I'm only using it until my BlackBerry gets fixed.)

    Of course the new windows mobile might turn out to be OK to use, but it apparently is incompatible with old apps, so what is the point? May as well use android or symbian.

    1. Random_Walk

      You answered your own quandry ab't the iPad:

      "Most non-techies will be happy with that to be honest."

      And that, right there, is why the thing is selling like hotcakes. Even after/as competitors arrive, the iPad will likely dominate for quite awhile. This is due to the fact that, so far, the competitors cost just as much, if not more, for the same base specifications (proc., screen size, rez., etc).

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Market share

    "the Mac will keep its three–per cent market share [That's seven per cent for Macs, Steve.—Ed]... and the race is on."

    The world consists of more than America, Ed, its at around 7.5% US and 3.5% world market share.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Hope it stays that way!

      Last thing we need is Barmy Ballmer and his code monkeys wrecking the OSX platform with second rate software...what am I saying, Office for Mac! Duh!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      #Market Share

      >The world consists of more than America, Ed, its at around 7.5% US and 3.5% world market share.

      Smaller still if you look at self-build and non-retail markets either of which accounts for much more than Apple's total output.

      Asus alone sold 8 million mobos last year. They're currently moaning as last quarters sales have dropped only to 1.75 million. Apple in that same period sold 2.9 million PCs and that was up on last years sales by a 3rd.

  42. Witty username
    Thumb Down


    The car industry must be getting sick of the constant references from dick waving IT hissy fits tbh

  43. SSR
    Gates Horns

    Future Eating of Crow

    What are the chances that Ballmer will also be eating these quotes in a year or three?

  44. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    There's only one thing Windows will ever shame

    and that is the idea that computers can be reliable.

    No, seriously. Monkey Boy is trying to convince people that Microsoft can outdo somebody nowadays ? The leader of the firm that popularized the "it's screwed, reboot it" mentality is trying to impress who exactly ?

    Microsoft lives on OS license rape and Office sky-high prices. And they even manage to make Office backups incompatible every other release. For the rest, MS is nowhere. Mobile ? Nonexistent. Internet ? Missed the boat since 1995, paddling upstream furiously ever since.

    Bing ? Doesn't even have a paddle, but the rowboat itself has aluminum railings.

    It is however fitting that a Microsoft CEO mention the concept of shame. Normally, though, it would be when stepping down.

    1. The Original Steve


      Hello - the 21st Century called.

      Wake up and smell the reality. Windows XP was 'pretty' stable, and Vista, 7, Win2k3 and 2k8 are rock solid. My ScreenOS firewall has become less reliable that my 2008 VM host.

      Office 'backups'(!) incompatible? I have 500 people sitting nearby who would disagree looking at our helpdesk history. 2003, 2007 and a couple on 2010 all working in perfect harmony. They changed the file format once in a decade and provided a free compatibility pack to older clients. Get over it.

      For mobile, Microsoft have taken a well deserved beating. WM6 isn't a bad platform for handheld business devices (warehousing, delivery drivers etc.) but so off the mark for consumers it's laughable. Windows Phone 7 looks promising, but I doubt it will get anywhere near close to the iPhone or even Android.

      Yeah, they missed a trick with the Internet. Although you are forgetting Exchange had 65% of the commerical email market sown up back in 2008, with analysts predicting well over 70% by now, (I can't find stats for now), 60% of web browsers and over 25% of the public facing web server market too. Oh, and Bing has been out just over a year and got 10% market share and growing...(mainly from Google - bizzarly!) - taking Yahoo too will give over 25%.

      Competing internationally and against free I don't think that's too bad for a company that I agree had missed the Internet boat.

      Stack the above with it's Windows Desktop and Server platform (where desktop is holding steady at the 90% mark and server about 70%), SQL Server has nearly 20% as of last year (and growing faster than any competitor), Office has over 90% of the market, the XBox has a pretty mighty presence not to mention it's systems management line and the other vast areas that I can't even think of.

      To think Microsoft have been in trouble since 1995 and are continuing is very, very misguided - look bigger than just one segment and you'll see Microsoft truly is a beast that even if it was going down wouldn't be going anywhere for a good 20 years.

      1. geronimo hashbucket


        Easy to explain why...

        15 years of viruses.

        MS could easily have gone for the *nix model and wiped out the virus threat more or less at a stroke.

        They chose to tell lies and dissemble.

        They are yesterdays company, peddling yesterdays products.

        And as for Windows being stable - puleease.

    2. Rob Dobs
      Jobs Horns

      wrong on Bing

      Agree with you mostly, but think you are wrong on Bing.

      The recent Style change of Google to look more like Bing was a pretty big deal. It was (though rare) a case of Google copying and catching up to M$, and for M$ that was a win.

      Further Bing is based on Hadoop, which is an OpenSource version of Googles MapReduce program they use to run Google. Now google created it, so for now they are the experts and have a bit of an advantage, but Yahoo, Facebook M$ and lots of others are using, and adding to the opensource version hadoop. Given time, hadoop should become more efficient than Google's closed source system

      (sounds kinda backwards doesn't it?)

      Further Googles sketchy behavior of late has had the effect of M$ Bing actually looking like the lesser of two evils, at the very least Bing and Yahoo don't keep a permanent record of your searches logged to your IP address like Google does.

      And as far as internet goes, yeah the missed the boat, but its hard to ignore they have more than half (way more) of the worlds Browser market share, almost 90% of the desktops, and still a sizeable portion of servers in the market. I haven't worked at many office (have been to a lot) that DIDNT have a MS Sharepoint implementation, sure it sucks, and sure it hardly used, but all the companies are still paying for it.

      Do they suck at internet, absolutely but they are there for sure too.

      And just to be clear anytime I actually (shudder) defend M$ I must state that I think they are bunch of thieving bastards, and I still want them hanged for cheating the US court system and the general public time and time again. They should have been split as Judge Jackson ordered.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Breaking News!

    Microsoft have tried this already (and this wasn't even the first attempt!)

  46. Ascylto


    "Ballmer poo-pooed the iPad"

    Er ... is this the same man who poo-pooed the iPhone?

    And he's the head of what?

  47. Ascylto

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

    With Ballmer in the wings it makes Gates even cleverer than I thought.

    A bit like Blair and Brown, really.

  48. Geo
    Thumb Down


    Anyone remember those amazing ads that were to shape the future in the form of windows surface?...

    in 2008 Ballmer said he believed that building Android was financially unsound for Google.

    He also said that the Iphone will never be big and that it would fail within 5 years of release... well I think the market share that apple have in the mobile market proves his first comment wrong and to be fair.. who wants to have the same phone for 5 years? I'm sure Apple will have developed some next gen Iphone 'type' device by then...


  49. Magnus_Pym


    Ballmer is head of the largest software company in the world. Why?

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      He was at Harvard University with Gates. Jobs for old friends and all that.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    he's got to go

    Ballmer is busy running Microsoft into the ground; he lacks the vision or deceptive charm of Bill G and the smarts to cut rivals off at the balls and then deal with anti-trust issues from the comfortable position of an even bigger monopoly later.

    Steve Jobs is doing his best to drive his market-beating product off into a blind alley like he did with the Mac in the 80s, with his control-freakery attempt to have a software AND hardware monopoly - and now he wants to have total control of what software you can install, and pocket 30% of every developer's revenue. He's got no chance of making that play for world domination stick unless he buys off every competition authority in the world.

    Google meanwhile is giving away awesome free software and services left-right and centre and still managing to turn in colossal profits. In 10 years, it will have wiped the floor with the other two clowns.

    Isn't it about time the reg had an icon for the Google boys?

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      google icon

      Agree. Please consider

      1. Blain Hamon
        Big Brother

        Google icon

        We already have a Google icon. It's between the terminator icon and the penguin icon. Looks like this one here.

        It is rather easy for a company to give out loss leaders if they have a monopoly elsewhere. Like MSFT can have an operating loss for the XBox. Or Google can have an operating loss for everything that isn't advertising.

      2. Rob Dobs

        Agree - And of course "Do Evil" Google icon with horns or somesuch

        And really how hard would it be to paint some horns on that smarmy penguin?

        Just in the interest of being fair and all.

        While we are at it there also should be:...............

        a G'ould icon to offset the Asgard Alien (see Stargate)

        Terminator needs a Sara Conors "Heroine" icon

        Big Brother needs a contrasting Anarchy symbol

        A whisper for when you don't need the bullhorn

        Maybe a Sheeple/Sheep icon to offset the black helicopter

        ("just cause your not paranoid, don't mean their not after you" - Cobain)

        And lets all think of something with lots of class to contrast Paris, (Morgan Freeman or the Royal Highness maybe?)

        And the problem with pedantic grammer Nazi icon, is that the people who actually do this, never consider themselves to be that type, thus it never gets used.

        Maybe a Baboon grooming photo, for all us NitPickers?

        my $.02

    2. fandom


      For all we know Jobs may not care for 'world domination' he may be well be cool with simply making huge amounts of money.

  51. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    I like Ballmer

    The guy is a tool.

    .....On every possible level,

    The guy is a tool.

  52. shadowphiar

    Some people will want...

    "the comfort of Windows"

    Good gravy, man! There's a phrase to send shivers down your spine, and no mistake.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Today, Ballmer poo-pooed the iPad"

    I hope he had some good reading material to hand.

    I poo-pooed an iPod once, took me 3 hours.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I liked this bit:

    "Ballmer called Apple a "good competitor" having come from nowhere, and attributed the phone's success to the Safari browser. "People focus on the apps, but the browser is really the thing that has distinguished their phones from others," "


    So the intuitive interface isn't really important, and the fact that it replaces my phone, GPS and iPod in one device is neither here nor there, neither is it's styling or the sweet simplicity of the iTunes app store. It is the [actually rather poor, really] browser that sells the iPhone.

    Safari on Windows Mobile for world domination then?

    1. joejack

      Pure marketing

      Someone in the mktg dept told him to say that, to draw attention away from the fact that their shiny new OS won't have any apps for it. But you can bet it'll have a good browser!

  55. MegC


    Windows 7 for the home PC - great OS...

    Android for the phone - another great OS...

    Both do what their designed for brilliantly.

    What I don't understand is Apples insistancy that multitasking is a bad thing; seriously, my Amiga 1200 could do it back in the day, I wouldnt expect any OS I own these days to not multitask. If / when Apple get their heads out of their arses and fix the multitasking issue they will then be a serious long term competitor in my opinion, the only thing keeping the Ipad / Iphone up "there" in my opinion is the App Store and Apple seem determined to kill that with fire lately.

    At the moment MS are doing well for me on the PC but if / when Google bring out a fully fledged decent OS that runs 90% of games and is stable enough I'll be there like a shot.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Thumb Up

      Quite agree!

      But we are IT geeks, we see the benefit. You're selling to users who won't miss what they never had. If it works fine as it is, it keeps it simple and less problems to fix for the O/S boys.

      If in future they see the need for multi-tasking, then they may add it, but until it becomes a necessity, why bother with the grief?

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      What are you on about?

      It's one of the worst kept secrets that iPhone OS 4.0 will have multitasking.

      1. Hans 1

        <The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.> title was: "?"

        It's in OS4 and OS 1.0 had it before, where you needed it .... like play a tune and use google maps, always worked fine ... I don't want to do google maps and safari at the same time, it is useless I only have one tiny screen and I cannot resize windows (and if you ask for that, I'll import the Guillotine from France especially for you) ... ;-) Running both at the same time will only SLOW THINGS DOWN!

        No, this multi-tasking shit is terrible, because they wanna keep the phone small, power efficient and responsive ... tell me, how do you do that with multi-tasking? Thanks!

        What do you guyz wanna do with the phone that requires multi-tasking? No, come on, I REALLY wanna know ...

        Just like this copy and paste non-sense ... I DO NOT, HAVE NEVER, NEED(ED) IT (I tried and managed it, of course ...), so why all this non-sense????? I see a number, I tap it ... even if I do not really wanna call, but just create a contact ... it is faster and less sloppy.

        Next thing these geeks will want is an orifice that lets out brown juice when somebody (i.e. the boss) calls?

      2. joejack
        Thumb Down

        iPhone4 is Cooperative multitasking

        a la Mac System 7, rather than preemptive multitasking. BIG difference. This is more marketing than tech, as most apps WON'T be able to run simultaneously. Of COURSE they could implement it the right way, but the iPhone/iPad are famously underpowered (presumably to save battery life). And if they did, I'm sure every Genius Bar would have a line of sheep around the block because they don't yet understand that they need a task killer like Android (yep, that needs work too). Still hoping to see a Palmpad soon, if only to give Apple/Droid some more ideas to borrow from.

  56. Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point

    Ballmer misses the point completely. The iPad is desirable and attractive to millions exactly because it's NOT a PC. No boot-up time; no DLLs; no anti-virus; no defragging; no patching; pretty much no configuration, apart from joining your wifi network and moving the icons around.

    You just turn it on like a TV or a toaster and use it, without having to think. And the users don't care that it doesn't run full-blown Excel, because if they need that they'll have a desktop or laptop already.


      A new messiah has come, time to disavow the old one.

      > The iPad is desirable and attractive to millions exactly because it's NOT a PC.

      > No boot-up time; no DLLs; no anti-virus; no defragging; no patching;

      Sounds a lot like a Mac actually.

      Take away the ability to print or install VLC from a Mac and add a crippled desktop shell and you've basically got the iPad.

      It used to be that the Apple faithful declared that the Mac was the alternative to the problems of a PC. Now that something new has been released, they have to revise all of that rhetoric Oceania style.

      Right now, Apple is in that Mac-esque transition where they had the GUI market all to themselves. Microsoft will not give them nearly as much of a lead this time. Google won't either.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Droid tablets anyone?

    As a smartphone the iPhone is great and easy to use... just needed a memory card slot / USB host, a better camera and a GPS receiver that actully works properly to make it better.

    The iPad (bigger iPhone)... Needs a more unrestricted operating system that can run more than just iPhone apps. Also it needs more interfaces than just the touch screen, support for some USB devices (printers/scanners/cameras/usb hamsters) would be great. This is where I think it fails. But then again the iPad 2.0 might fix these things and make Apple more $$$.

    Windows CE (Mobile) ... nothing good to say about it really unless you a Windows 9x style operating system. Lots of work needed to make it any good.

    Googles Android (Linux) might pick up some points here hopefully if google can be bothered to add CUPS to it and add other usefull kernel modules.

    If not then they all fail.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Thumb Up

      Your thinking intrigues me!

      Where can I get one of these USB Hamsters you speak off? My current one is still analog and really requires an upgrade.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Ballmer is a twat!

    Clearly Ballmer is an idiot. Under his leadership, Microsoft is continuously chasing the real innovators. He is wrong again about the iPad, as he was the iPhone. The sooner the rest of the board realize what a fool he is, and kick him out, the better - bring back Gates (never thought I'd say that!).

    On the Tablet PC front, I have a 2006 era HP TC4400 convertible (2GHz Core Duo). I use it mostly as a Tablet but can flip it, when proper keyboard is required. OK it's nowhere near as thin as an iPad, but function wins over form for me every time for me. I still manage to take it with me on holidays - even abroad*.

    It runs Windows 7, Visual Studio 2010, Office, FLASH and ANY other Windows software I like. - no walled garden. - Jobs can go fuck himself.

    * For US audiences - ABROAD is any other country not part of the USA - Yes, they really do exist - just look harder. When you spot one, resist the urge to make war with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @REAL AC

      "function wins over form for me every time for me"

      I'll bet you walk around carrying your boom box to listen to music, eh?!

      Form and function - equally important, you can't ignore either, or you end up with something like Windoze.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nothing to do with function over form...

      The form of the iPad is directly influenced by it's function. "Weniger, aber besser"--less, but better--is plainly in evidence when one looks at the iPad as a functional piece of industrial and interface design. It really is quite brilliant once you understood it's premise--a device for the consumption of information.

      "It runs Windows 7, Visual Studio 2010, Office..." So the iPad isn't for you--and neither are the devices that Ballmer is talking about. You want a touch screen laptop, which is what you have. Unfortunately, not may other people did and that is unlikely to change. Unless you are a freelancer or consultant that is travelling for work reasons, or perhaps a sales rep, why do you *need* Visual Studio when travelling? Why do you need a full blown spreadsheet, or word processor for that matter? Surely a laptop would serve you better? If you are going away for a holiday, or to see friends, surely a device that you can send and receive emails on, browse the internet (contrary to the noise, Flash isn't actually needed for the majority of sites) or *comfortably* watch films on a plane/train is all you need? I suppose you could work while going away, but that kind of defeats the point of going away. I'm genuinely interested!

  59. Anonymous Coward

    Bubble? Yes.

    On the bubble, he's right. The iPhoad is a buble device, a big bubble I grant you, but it'll lose the buzz after a while. The new toy smell disappears pretty fast.

    MS won't be there to fill the void though. I don't think it's possible to predict who will, though I'm starting to believe it won't be any one player (there's room for a few), and it definitely won't be Windows on these tablet device thingies as long as Ballmer is in charge.

    That's me thripney bit.

  60. Matthew 17

    Every portable device that has run Windows or a version of has been

    Truly awful.

    The portable Apple devices only work because they're locked down to make them idiot proof.

    The Google / Linux devices that let you do what you like are cool but only if you're a nerd that wants to fiddle so will always have limited appeal.

    1. ThomH

      Even as an iPhone user, I accept...

      ... that Google's strategy is to offer extreme customisation not just to end users but to manufacturers and networks. A manufacturer could lock Android down to build an appliance if they wanted. In fact, if Google have their way then everything will migrate into the browser and 80% of the complexity will fall away. No need to differentiate between the means for opening/closing a web page and an app, no formal install/remove process for apps (it's dealt with automatically as a caching issue), etc.



      > The Google / Linux devices that let you do what you like are cool but only if you're a nerd

      > that wants to fiddle so will always have limited appeal.

      I "fiddle" far less over my Archos. The idea that Linux is necessarily "fiddleware" is outdated FUD.

      My Archos has much more storage. I don't have to futz with it all the time to manage what limited storage it has. I can just shove ALL my music and ALL my photos on it. I don't have to pick and choose or mess with stupid workarounds. It's all just drag & drop. It requires no special interface. Since I just want it all, the extra non-visual aspects of iTunes aren't particularly useful.

      For end users, the Archos is the Bee's Knees because of the wealth of content it can offer off the grid.

      No. The Apple "you must adapt to us" mentality is far more "fiddly".

      It is MUCH LESS picky about what video it will play. This means that adapting video content for an Archos is much less "fiddly" than an iThing. Plus it holds a lot so I am not spending a lot of time managing downgraded copies of content or constantly transcoding stuff.

      For Video, Apple devices are like an iPod nano.

    3. M Gale

      Have you used Android yet?

      Seriously. It's about as much "Linux" as OS X is BSD. Turn device on. Swipe the little icon thing on the bottom of your desktop upward to reveal app menu. Swipe-scroll through list. Click on app. Run app.

      How much simpler can you make it without hiring a personal assistant to do it for you?

      Plus "Blow It Up" is better on Android than Iphone, and as for that robo defense game... was 3am before I realised what the time was and gave the phone back.

      Android == for everyone, from grannies to geeks. And the stargazing app is better too.

      Still, for a tablet I'd like at least the option of installing a "real" operating system. Android is okay, if you want the walled (or at least, waist high fence with latticework) garden approach. Something with a dual-boot so I can go from consumption to production mode on the same machine would be lovely.

      Oh hang on.. AI's Touchbook. Does it already, apparently!

  61. Anonymous Coward


    "sleeker, smaller, and faster" - that'll be a smartphone, then. Only that is exactly what tablets aren't. microsoft heading for yet another fail.

  62. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Paris Hilton

    The 2 Steves

    While Jobs is annoying and dislikable, Balmer comes across as stupid. What is he on about, this guy?

    Now which icon, which icon... I know, feck'em both, I choose you, Paris Hilton.

  63. Ascylto

    Yes we can't!

    Ballmer for President!

    Well, it would have worked in Bush's time. Even a chair-throwing monkey would do better!

  64. Neil Greatorex

    @SSR "Future eating of crow"

    Why would one consider eating a Crow?

    On a lighter note, I suppose one could consider the current crop as follows:

    Nexus1 = Quail

    N900 = Pheasant

    Blackberry = Duck

    Palm Pre = Chicken

    iPhone = Turkey

    Any Win mobile device = Crow

  65. theloon
    Paris Hilton

    YouTube reminder of Steve's last gaff.

    Just incase you forgot how wrong this guy was before......



  66. Telic

    The PC <> MS Windows !

    Pity that the author of this article (Galvin Clarke) faithfully prescribes the brain-fog of equating "the PC" with Microsoft Windows.

    My PC is liberated and turbocharged by Ubuntu Linux. No fiddling. No fooling.

    1. M Gale

      Don't forget..

      ..the alleged project to introduce the "Android Stack" to Ubuntu. I'm rather hoping it bears fruit. If it's anything like I'm thinking, it could be like a dual boot only without the dual boot. Click on the little robot icon and get access to the Android market, straight from Ubuntu?

      Yes please.

      Also Google, your little robot seems to be spreading to far more than just phones. Would it not be prudent to have different areas of the Android Market for devices that do, versus devices that don't, have things like accelerometers, touchscreens and solid state gyroes? Just thinking of heading a potential future problem off at the pass..

  67. Anonymous Coward

    Awww poor "chair" Ballmer

    Awwww there there stevie It's ok diddums, you don't need to be jealous of of Apple and the iPad. I'm sure the windows tablet will be just as "successful" as the zune.

    Fail icon cus after all it IS a windows tablet and Ballmer's ego were talking about here.

  68. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Whilst I have no particular love for Apple...

    They do seem to be several steps ahead of MS in the useability and mobile O/S reliability stakes as my experiences of using Windows mobile have been awful, even when it is layered over by custom widgets added by the phone makers and 3rd party vendors.

    I won't be buying an iPad though simply as I cannot see any functional use for it, but I would in theory welcome a reliable Windows based pad. None the less though, MS really must try harder at producing an easy to use mobile platform that actually works and that doesn't have to be constantly restarted due to crashes.

  69. Martin Usher

    Microsoft already has Tablet Computing

    Been using it for years -- I use a Motion 1400 tablet. Very nice machine, well made.

    Played with an iPad. Chalk and Cheese. In theory there's nothing to stop a tablet doing things exactly like an iPad but in practice there's Microsoft. Upgrading from SP2 to SP3 nearly cost me the system -- had to quadruple the amount of memory in it just to get the thing to boot. Microsoft don't do "small" and "slick" -- its all big and corporate.

    Its the same in the Mobile space. MSFT had Windows CE on phones a decade ago. They never did anything with it.

    Disclaimer -- Not A Fanboi.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wanting "the comfort of Windows"

    It's only executives in very large companies who "want the comfort of Windows" - or can afford the on-cost for support and upgrades. Everyone else is heading somewhere else - ANYWHERE else!

  71. Shane Kent

    Ballmer shames Windows...

    Windows would shame the iPad, but it is too busy being shamed by Ballmer.

    If the iPad bubble doesn't burst, he should be canned. That would make him significantly wrong 2 for 2 (iPhone and now iPad).

    Hey Ballmer you cheap f@#k, maybe start by finishing Windows 7, making a proper version of Media Center on Windows 7 for Canada. I won't buy it till you do! And hacking it to work in Canada doesn't count.

  72. Petrea Mitchell

    What is it with all the truck-bashing?

    First Jobs says his tablet is a car replacing trucks, now Ballmer says the Windows tablets will be like cars shoving aside the truck of the iPad. And all this in the US, which really loves its trucks.

    1. M Gale

      Reminds me..

      ..of when theMother's S.O decided to pull up at a box junction. Two seconds later he was halfway across the box junction with a lorry where his car's arse used to be.

      Ballmer, do you really want to take that on?

  73. Bryan W

    Uhhh, no?

    The part where Ballmer says that PCs will still have a use once tablets become readily affordable and integrated in the market is a bit blind for such a celebrated mind IMO.

    The way I see it, eventually we all will have a "universal" personal computing and communications device. (Lets not worry about how that comes about and who is made by it for now. It is just an inevitability, the direction of things.) If you wanted to use something at a desk, it'd more likely be like a docking station than a more expensive additional computing device that would require the same peripherals as a docking station anyways. Though, it'd probably be less docking and more like a bunch of paired Bluetooth devices working in concert with your tablet or "smart phone". We already have the tech, its just a matter of making it readily available to the masses.

    Not surprising Ballmer got it wrong though. This is the typical MS shortsightedness that Apple and Google have been taking advantage of and has had MS playing catch-up for years.

  74. Patrick 8

    Steve Balmer is Not Double Fail but Multiple Fail for Microsoft

    Steve Jobs = Looks Scary, But has Vision, Executes said Vision and Actually Delivers, Good for Shareholders

    Steve Balmer = Looks Scary, Acts Scary on Stage, Speaks Scary, Has no Vision and Does NOT Actually Deliver to Market, Is Scary for Shareholders

    This man has to go now!

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Microsoft = floundering

    Yep, it's confirmed for me now - MS is definitely floundering after this little tirade by the chair thrower. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt until now, but it just appears that they're simply deluding themselves and anyone else who'll listen.

    Just means we're relying on Google now to keep Apple on it's toes in this market..but that's merely the lesser of two evils, so i'm not holding my breath there. C'mon MS...we need a game changer from you, and now...not more vapourware bollocks from the loud sweaty one. That HP slate thing isn't the best of starts.

  76. alwarming
    Paris Hilton

    The comforting oblivion of a plateaued existence.

    The current generations hate icons: apple, google are on a growth path and most hated by the register community (& other arm chair techies).

    They've knocked MS, IBM and intel out of preferred hate list. And lack of attention has been good for MS middle managers. By now they know how to make money out of their monopolistic cash cow. They know MS shareholders like to throw money without expecting any great results. So guaranteed cash cow + no real accountability for future growth = a comfort life. Plus, they have learned the blame game for failures.

    What SteveB is trying to do is get some of that limelight back.. even if it is hate. He hopes if he puts the MS in a tough spot, it will probably wake up from the slumber to prove the haters wrong. But how wrong he is!! MS has developed a tough hide. They are not gonna learn new tricks to avoid a mild embarrassment. They've been socially outcast for so long that a few more mud slings are not gonna count. They are comfortable in milking the windoze customer base and will continue to do so.

    Google is trying very hard to avoid the MS future. They want to stay creative and sexy past their 40s. But unlike Apple, they seem to have developed an aversion to public hate(ie the pseudo techies' hate) . So my prediction is that google will go down the MS path sooner than they'ld want. But as long as Jobs (or some prick like him) is at the helm of affairs of Apple, Apple would be able to hold out the inevitable.

    Cheers to mediocrity!


    Paris, coz she will eventually stop leaning new tricks as well.

  77. /dev/me

    I'll get you next time, Gadget! Next time!

    A computer controlled by a touch screen. Flat and portable. A tablet.

    Apple launched the iPad and it took off.

    Now Ballmer is saying MS will outdo them. I don't understand. I've looked it up. Microsoft has been working on touch screen technology (together with HP) since before 1985. That's a quarter of a century of development(!!!) Microsoft should be the leading authority on touch screen technology, including UI design. And partnered with HP they should have the best hardware in the market.

    Ballmer can laugh at the shortcomings of the iPad all he wants. But he has a 25 year head start in this field, and all he has to offer is that they will make a better iPad than the iPad /in the future/

    - - -

    My personal analyses...

    What's the appeal of those special purpose devices anyway? It's just wrong. Does Ballmer really think the market needs more devices that can do this but not that, or that but not this?

    No, and this will FAIL before he can say 'market saturation'.

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