back to article Ballmer pitches PC as smartest device on planet

Steve Ballmer pitched for cloud, phones, tablets, and HTML 5 at PDC on Thursday, but he made one thing clear: Windows and the PC remain central to Microsoft. The Microsoft CEO prowled the PDC stage, spitting out stats: 350 million new PCs sold in the last year and 240 million licenses of the year-old Windows 7. HTML5 is the …


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  1. a53
    Thumb Down

    Windows and Windows phone 7

    Windows 7 is a much needed improvement but still no where near as secure as it needs to be. As for the phone, all the reports I've seen are that it's incomplete needing a lot more work just to catch up with the competition.

  2. DJV Silver badge

    Smartest? Which planet?

    Well, if the only 2 things on a planet were a PC and Ballmer then I'd definitely agree that the PC would be the smartest out of the two.

    Megaphone because that's what Ballmer reminds me of...

  3. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Just doesn't get it does he?

    I bet Ballmer is one of these "ask the customer what they want and give it to them" sort of people. Except the general public aren't always privy to the less public information on what is coming up. Or they simply don't have time to decipher what the latest new technology can do.

    The more visionary types don't ask the customer since you will end up giving the customer what they want a year or so after they want it. Instead you have a best guess on what they will want and then release it when they want it.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    > "It looks different, acts different, has all the diversity hardware people look for yet has all the coherence from the user experience standpoint and from the developer standpoint," he said

    Microsoft's big offensive on Linux and OpenOffice (in particular) has been to say that Windows and Office are familiar and therefore "intuitive" so customers should stick with them. So now they're saying that Windows 7 for the phone "looks different, acts different"?

    Is this a good thing then? Talk about mixed messages.

  5. thecakeis(not)alie


    He really doesn't get it, does he? Clinging to the past without truly understanding the blinking neon advertisements for the future.


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree...

    In this I think Mr. Ballmer (or whoever told him to say this) "gets it".

    The PC is the ultimate do-it-all machine, but that does not equate to a PC running Windows, just the Personal Computer in general. Everything is digital and almost anything can be built and attached to a general purpose computing device, from motion controllers for industrial automation to accelerometers for inertial guidance systems or beverage-warmers/coolers to keep your favorite beverage at that just right temperature.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    but he made one thing clear: Windows and the PC remain central to Microsoft.

    ... that is until a competitor proves him wrong, and then Microsoft have to play catch-up (AGAIN!!).

    Balmer has a history of getting this stuff wrong; hell, even Bill thought the Internet was going to be short lived - until others proved him wrong. Some visionary!

    And this from a guy who hangs on every word Microsoft has to say (that's me, by the way).

  8. Albert Hall

    What I see...

    Dead. Man. Talking.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Viva PC - MS, not so much

    For those who did not participate in the wresting of control from the evil empire of Institutional Central Computing in the '70s and '80s and, with that experience, watch that control slowly slip back into the control of the evil empire of Central Corporate Web Domination, I suppose that there is no grasp or appreciation of what is "really going on" here.

    However, given a little more hands-on experience with pay-per-bit computing (coming your way in ever increasing presence), they will come to realize that the "PC Revolution" was about a lot more than just changes in form factors.

  10. paul-s

    Ballmer Stats Fail

    "350 million new PCs sold in the last year and 240 million licenses of the year-old Windows 7"

    So 110 million new PCs sold *without* Windows 7. MS epic fail.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Could be Server 2008?

      Some people do order server OSes on desktop machines for functional testing.

      But we all know that offices are going to stick to having big dull PC boxes on desks for some time to come. They are locked up and safe at the weekend. Give everyone an iPad and it would go walkies, be taken home, chewed up by the dog etc.

  11. John I'm only dancing
    Thumb Down


    Balmer: "It's not all the core that'll get written but it's a way of allowing"...Ithought he was talking about Windows....and forgot to add 'all sorts of malware to gain easy access to the OS'

  12. James Pickett


    "350 million new PCs sold in the last year and 240 million licenses of the year-old Windows 7."

    So what was on the other 110 million..?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Math(s)

      I'm guessing mostly Windows XP to the corporate market.

      Then a load of Linux for SOHO server use, a few Windows server editions, some old stock with Vista on 'em and finally a barely significant %age of Linux desktop to round things out. Always assuming he's not including Macs in his total PC numbers, in which case I reckon MacOS comes in vying with XP for 2nd and everything else moves down.

      Hey ho, maybe *next* year will be the "year of Linux on the desktop", eh? Ohhh, while I'm at it I might as well predict the "death of COBOL" too.........

      Go on Linux fanbois, put on those rose-tinted specs and downvote the shit out of me.

      1. Graham 6


        Machines with Windows licences are being re-appropriated all over the place, windows fanboi.

        A Windows licence doesn't mean Windows is being used.

        In this office 50% of desktops are running either Ubuntu or Fedora.

        The rest are, you guessed it, Windows XP.

        I'm betting all the Linux Desktops in this office will have a Windows licence stuck to the case.

        This year is already the year of the Linux Desktop if you check out this international tech leading company to which I'm being hired @£300/day to roll out Linux.

        Hell, they even have their own distro.

        And no, it's not Google, who also are doing the same.

        You play with your toys like a good boy.

        Mummy and Daddy are talking.

  13. Luke McCarthy
    Gates Horns

    Microsoft and HTML5

    Currently in the "embrace" stage.

  14. ac97

    ... but the vast majority of the planet ....

    ... are not El Reg readers, and the reality is, they are still buying WIndows PCs in their millions (or quarter billions in the case of Windows 7).

    I think Ballmer is appealing to commercial developers at PDC who I assume have mortgages, families etc. and need to make money, rather than be religeous about technology. So targeting Apps at an OS that has sold 100's of millions in the last year is probably a safer bet that some technically pure but marginal OS that is beloved by a few thousand IT geeks.

    Microsoft just did $16b in revenue in their last quarter, I don't think they are going anywhere soon - and if the people that actually spend money on Apps (that excludes most IT/Dev types who want it all for free) are buying MS in their millions, I know what OS I am targetting.

    1. thecakeis(not)alie
      Dead Vulture

      A slow slide into the abyss

      is still a slide into the abyss.

      Loose the nerds and you lose that category of people that "normals" come to when they want to buy a new computing device. "Which X should I buy?" "Is A better than C?" "Do I really need L, M, N, O and P in order to Y?"

      Microsoft have lost the plot. El Reg's readership is among the first to notice, but they certainly won’t be the last. Innovate (rather than put out a new version of the exact same product with a few additional features 0.00000001% of its userbase cares about) or die.

      Microsoft: the abyss is calling....

  15. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns


    "It's not all the core that'll get written but it's a way of allowing... a level of innovation between the front end and back end even as people con to invest in a new front end."

    Err, what?

    Setting aside his inability to form a coherent sentence, Ballmer is still stuck in the past, along with his products. Every single Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad have the *same* core OS in them. MS had to rewrite their mobile OS from scratch the other week just to try and catch up. We'll see what the result is when they actually finish it.

    Windows is the past - old, bloated, non-scalable - and Ballmer is still trying to shoehorn it into the future.

  16. Matt Bucknall

    More mixed messages

    Right, so the PC is the smartest device on the planet apparently - But let's turn it into an HTML5 dumb terminal and put all the intelligence in the cloud anyway.

    Another fine example of Microsoft coherence right there!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Innovation and Windows ?

    "There is innovation .. built into every copy of Windows 7."

    The IBM WinTEL PC is increasingly becoming obsolete as the market moves to mobile embedded devices. The only thing keeping it on life support is Microsoft's huge financial muscle.

  18. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    No good PC techs around here

    @thecakeis(not)alie, so true. People around here have LOADS, **LOADS** of trouble keeping on using Windows. I quit working on Windows boxes about when Vista came out, I figure now if people want to keep using virus-prone OSes they can suffer through it. My most computer-savvy friends all use Linux or (in one case) BSD, and won't work on fixing Windows machines. My next tier usually use Macs. The rest use Windows machines, they can install video drivers, install and remove games, etc., but not tackle removing viruses (unless it's a matter of clicking scan and the virus scanner takes care of it). The stores charge like $200, and don't remove viruses, they do a clean install -- and charge extra to back up your files. There's like probably 1/4th or less the number of people in town willing to touch a windows box as there were even 5 years ago.

  19. Graham 6

    It's OK Steve, stick to what you know.

    Speaking as an ex-consultant to two of the biggest supercomputer using companies in the world and currently working at one of the biggest embedded companies, I'd say you are fully of brown smelly, Steve.

    Keep taking the happy pills and keep your head in the sand.

    The bottom line has to be:

    What are the world's smartest computers running?

    What are the world's smartest devices running?

    Here's a clue: It's not Windows, check out the icon.

    Sheep follow idiots with money.

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