back to article Ballmer reprises 'developers, developers, developers' chant

Steve Ballmer has told developers that if they want the biggest market for their software, the only choice is Microsoft. In a surprise appearance at Microsoft's BUILD conference in Anaheim, California on Wednesday, Ballmer said that when Windows 8 goes live, there will be 500 million machines capable of running the new OS, and …


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  1. Mike Flugennock


    No grotesque skipping about the stage, persperation staining his shirt, glistening drops of flopsweat on his bald dome, grimacing, fist-pumping, looking as if on the verge of a coronary?

    D'ahhh, he's no fun anymore.

    1. tardigrade

      You'd think that he would at least throw a few chairs around for old times sake as well. Disappointing.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I just watched it for the first time

    I just watched the 2006 vid on YouTube for the first time.

    It must have a been a picture seeing me sat in front of the screen with my mouth open, staring incomprehensible at this bigger bruiser bouncing embarrassingly around the stage.

    Doesn't the guy have any self respect?

    This is the guy that's running one of the largest software companies on the planet. No wonder they're in trouble.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How could he

      How could anyone that looks like an overgrown, deformed penis possibly have any self respect?

      1. Patrick R

        @ How could he

        Calling yourself coward is all the self respect you're showing. Why not go on and keep further insults for yourself ?

    2. burnttoys

      I almost ashamed to say that...

      ...I REALLY love that video! Ballmer's a complete loon. Gotta love him!

      Some lovely soul has put the best bits of Steve together here

      The old Windows advert is just superb. Then there's...

      "We're just gonna keep coming and coming and coming and coming and coming and coming..."


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Future code, is that something like 'future technology' from Civilization? If so, I expect it will be 'game over'; I wonder at what despot level Ballmer will end up?

    1. Thomas 18

      Future technology...

      will promote higher integration with core systems and future markets. They will open new opportunities to to diversify and cross facilitate advancement in adjacent technology areas while at the same time maintaining, enhancing and transmogrifying legacy devices and applications into a future-proofed, robust, market leading cohort.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge


        And I didn't even need the free space.

      2. Tomato42 Silver badge

        @Thomas 18


  4. Albert Hall

    For pity's sake...

    Someone get that poor duffer his white cane!

  5. NoneSuch Silver badge

    I am still running XP Pro on my home machine and feel I am missing nothing. Skipped Vista and Win7 does not have anything extra I need. Suspect Win8 will be more of the same.

    Time for a pint for me and the lads with all the money I saved NOT buying MS products.

  6. Charles Manning

    I've retired with millions


    I made all the money I need through Microsoft's Zune store.


    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me five or six time (lost count now) then shame on me!

    MS just does not understand mobile space and has always tried too hard to push their agenda and force the market to work their way. Anything changed to suggest they provide a working model this time?

    1. Francis Fish

      Pushing the market to work their way works for Apple

      So ... why do MS fail where Apple succeed? I think maybe Apple has more sex appeal. But don't forget MS real customers are corporate - massive site licences for their product and that desktop lock down. By definition, this isn't the mobile market - it's now the dinosaur market.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The kings of defective code

    Unfortunately BULLmer is correct that Microsucks has the largest market share and that is why software makers tolerate the defect riddled O/Ss they ship.

    1. Asgard

      Microsoft OS, from 1st place now, to 3rd place within next 2 years

      The software development industry has changed and Ballmer knows it. That's why he is trying so hard to win over and convince developers that they need to develop for his software platform. I'm sure they will continue, as there's still hundreds of millions of potential customers.

      But when Ballmer said "if they want the biggest market for their software, the only choice is Microsoft." ... That's very misleading, because whilst what he said is true now, it won't be true within the next 12 to 18 months, (and I'm sure he knows it, so he is being intentionally misleading), because everyone can see how fast mobile device sales are taking off. That is what his talk is really about. Getting developers onto (and focusing on) Windows 8 instead of iPhone and Android.

      Both Microsoft and Intel know they have to pull their fingers out and do something good this time. Both are showing signs of being under pressure and its hardly surprising, considering how much talk there has been of a post PC era in the past few months.

      So lets put Microsoft's 500 million user base into perspective. For a start there are currently over 5.3 Billion active mobile phones in the world. (Over 10 billion have been manufactured since 1994). Plus almost all these active mobile phones are less than 15 years old, so its easy to imagine a lot of them being replaced again within the next decade. So even though most mobile phones are not yet smart phones, where will we be soon, in a year or two from now?

      Well based on the latest figures, Android now have over 650000 new phone activations per day and well over 150M Android phones are already in the market. So they will hit 500 Million phones within around 540 days from now, even assuming no more increase in their sales. Which is extremely unlikely considering Android activations were just 160k in Q2 2010 and now one year later they are over 4 times the amount at over 650k per day. So sales are speeding up a lot. Therefore even if Android sales can just rise to 1M activations per day, then Android will hit 500M phones within about a year from now.

      Also if iPhone sales double one more time (and they have doubled in sales each year for the past 2 years running) then even just one more doubling would mean iPhone would hit 500M phones in about 2.3 years, so probably less than 2 at the current rates of acceleration.

      So within 2 years from now, both iPhone and Android will both be bigger markets than what Ballmer is talking about. :)

      So is it any wonder Ballmer is trying to appeal to developers to believe in his platform, because he knows he will soon be in 3rd place.

      Even worse for Ballmer, it won't be long before we have a few billion smart phones in the world and billions of people will want it, as it'll give Internet access to billions more people. The ability to share knowledge via the Internet like never before, will help a lot more people find more ways to help themselves and their communities.

      So in the next few years, smart phones numbers are going to far exceed desktops numbers and Ballmer knows he will soon be in 3rd place.

      Its about time Microsoft and Intel were forced to up their game. :)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Mr. Balmer

    Please resign and go away.

    Please do it today.

    1. Shonko Kid

      Loathe him or Hate him, you have to admit, he's the only senior exec in Redmond with any colour at all, the rest are just mindless, grey, automata. Look at Elop!

      M$ need Barmy Ballmer at the helm purely for the Lulz

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many of those 500m are corporate boxen

    which will under no circumstances allow their users to run around marketplaces installing whatever takes their fancy?

  10. James 100

    Living in the past?

    For desktop applications, pre-web, he was spot on: it was Windows or a niche. If I had a brilliant idea for a 'killer app' for tablets ... where does Windows come against iOS and Android? Certainly not the "only" choice - more like third choice. Regular mobiles? iOS, Android, BlackBerry - again, not exactly the monopoly position Microsoft are used to.

    Even on the desktop, web applications are delivering the platform-agnostic threat which so terrified Microsoft about Java in the late 90's for a lot of things: maybe not the next Crysis, but everything from accounting (Sage's recent shift) and CRM to photo sharing: suddenly, for a lot of things we can reach Windows users without actually needing to write a line of Windows code. The ONLY choice is Microsoft? Ballmer, we have more choices than ever before - and very few of them need Microsoft any more.

    1. ideapete

      He doesn't have one

      Balmer doesn't have a past , he was created from a defective code batch before BC or NT somewhere around there

  11. Daedalus Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    Somebody needs to tell the stupid cretin that he'll get a lot more mileage out of developer relations if he tells his minions to (a) finally produce readable and helpful developer documentation, and (b) quit cramming bloated rubbish like WPF and WCF down our throats. The total improvement in functionality for Visual Studio over the last 5 years has been about zero. The latest version is of course, bigger, slower and less stable than ever. Their doc dept. is so bad they had to outsource the creation of an offline reader for the gigabytes of circular logic that passes for developer docs. And to add insult to injury, the tide of invective against their stuff on their own blogs is being ignored!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So in short..

    "please someone care out our dying mobile platform. You can run your applets on Windows 8 you know..."..

    Sorry, but that's simply not enough of a reason for me to waste my time writing mini apps for a mobile OS that nobody wants.

    Windows Phone 7 is a dead platform. End of.

  13. ideapete

    Whose and Old wun den

    You and the crap you built , please transfer to an alternate universe

  14. json

    No bill.. no more win32 or .net programming for this programmer.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm missing another big name...

    First; I wouldn't describe this to be a surprise visit. When you consider what's at stake for Microsoft I'd say it would have been a surprise if Mr. Ballmer didn't show up.

    Now, I see a lot of big and bold statements yet all of those are driven by assumptions. He's assuming people will upgrade to Windows 8 (I wouldn't), assuming that all of the people who do upgrade will visit the MS App store on a regular basis (how else are you going to reach 500 million devices?) and so on...

    Its all tablets, touching and mobility; the desktop seems no where to be found. But talking about mobility; where does Skype fit into all this (if at all) ? That was a HUGE investment for Microsoft; don't tell me they've ignored the whole thing so far?

    The reason I associate it with mobility should be obvious: it even runs on my PSP (an older model) and does a remarkable job too.

    I wonder what's up with that...

  16. Mediocrates Silver badge

    “It's the day and age of the Windows developer"

    1992 wants it's catchphrase back.

  17. Lieutenant Frost


    "...and claiming that Windows 8 is capable of running code two decades old..."

    Just a heads-up: the use-case of ANYONE who is still running applications built for Windows 3.x in TYOOL 2011? They're not your customers. They are people who refuse to move past tech that is now 20+ years old. These are NOT people who will pay you for future versions unless their arms are twisted enough that they come off, and even then it's questionable. Do everyone else a favor and leave these anchors behind; drop the compatibility with pre-NT systems already and move Microsoft into a slightly less despicable era where ~real~ progress can be made.


    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Umm...Lieutenant Frost?

      They bloody well *are* Ballmer's customers, or at least they are the people he *wants* and *needs* to be his customers. They are the only reason he has a job.

      They are the corporates who have DOS batch files and clunky internal apps that were cobbled together with FoxPro in the 1980s. No-one still working at the company knows how they work. In some cases, the company no longer has the source. In others. it no longer has the build tools. If these applications don't run as-is, they don't run and neither does your business.

      If you propose upgrading to an OS that doesn't run these apps, you are laughed at. That's probably the *only* reason why Linux/WINE hasn't taken over the corporate world, since it is vastly cheaper and the network management expertise would surely come into being if the jobs market started paying for it.

    2. A J Stiles

      What? This.

      The thing that keeps people buying Windows is a whole bunch of legacy, bespoke applications, mainly written by self-taught spotty kids in their bedrooms on pirate copies of Visual Studio, and which rely for their day-to-day operation on the very same "features" that are used by malware to propagate. Businesses have, over the years, become absolutely dependent on these apps; and because they didn't ask for the Source Code, they can't even be re-compiled to run on something else.

      If some future version of Windows ever drops compatibility with those applications altogether, so businesses have to get their core apps rewritten, then those businesses (1) certainly aren't going to make the mistake of not demanding the Source Code this time, as a standard part of the procurement procedure; and (2) won't have any obvious reason to go with Windows aot something else cheaper, shinier or more reliable.

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  19. sw1sstopher

    I'm sorry but.....

    ....did that article really say there was an encore ?

    for the love that is all holy.

  20. Herby

    Wrong chant!

    It isn't "developers..." it is iPad, iPhone, iPod, iTunes. Sorry wrong ecosystem. The window is broken and it can't be repaired.

    That is why Microsoft's stock price hasn't gone anywhere in the past 10 years!

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      People like growth and increasing revenues.

      But when you're that big and you're still largely an OS and Office too vendor it is hard to grow.

      Sure, there's XBox and other products, but they aren't making much money.

  21. JDX Gold badge

    re:How many of those 500m are corporate boxen

    Considering probably 90% of home PCs are running Windows, what does it matter. Apple is still small minority and Windows is still the dominant provider, regardless of all the Apple hype. Virtually every middle class family needs a proper non-tablet computer if not multiple (students need to be able to write essays, etc) and most of them are running Windows.

    1. Armando 123

      True enough, but how many of those computers are old (ie, we're not spending any money on this box and will run it until it drops) or have minimal software. The people who own these are not buying software. So while most of the PCs are running Windows, the number of those PCs which will have new, paid-for software running on them is far lower.

  22. James Pickett


    He should be careful using words like 'reimagining'. Imagination seems to be the least of his talents.

  23. david 12 Silver badge

    Apple "iron control over the production process"

    MS has just come out of the Anti-Trust settlement. Still bound by the EU rules, but it will be interesting to see if MS is willing to take advantage of their OS and Office to produce well integrated products like Apple has.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Have absolutely nothing to worry about

  25. Paul Ireland

    Developers, Developers, Developers, 2006 or 2000?

    I thought that original chant was from a Microsoft conference back in 2000 (2006 might have been the date when the video was uploaded to youtube).

    I developed a 3D game app(lication) for Windows back in 1998, using Microsoft's "future proof" technologies at that time, VB6 and Direct3DRM, both of which were subsequently dropped by Microsoft, so my game doesn't work on Vista or Windows 7 (mainly because of the Direct3DRM COM API being dropped). So perhaps the Microsoft chant should be:

    "changing goal posts, changing goal posts, changing goal posts"


    "rewrite, rewrite, rewrite"

    And in the past few years I see this happening all over again with confusion over what "future proof" MS technology to use for UI work (WinForms, Silverlight, WPF, etc ).

    But, if Windows 8 does have an app store, I certainly wont rule it out. I'll just avoid or minimise the use MS proprietary, short term, flavour of the month/year, technologies this time, since this time I'd prefer to develop apps that target multiple platforms in a technonoly that has longevity. Hopefully Javascript/HTML/CSS technology will step in for some of these situations.

  26. BrentRBrian


    New paint, same old barn full of shit

  27. Cam 2

    500 million machines capable

    What developer would imagine that capable machines == the market for Windows 8 software?

    Hardware powerful enough for Win8 will surely have a reasonably recent OS on it already. I imagine Win8 will be mostly seen on new machines, at a time when the market is pretty depressed that's not many new machines.

  28. A J Stiles

    Why tie yourself to a platform?

    Why would you, as a developer, want to tie yourself to a specific platform?

    At least when I write an app in GTK-Perl, I know that it'll run on pretty much anything.

  29. Pete 39

    So they can steal it.

    MS have a reputation for taking the idea of any useful utility (defrag and networking spring to mind here) that added useful functionality to the OS and then including it in the OS, thus killing any future market. If sales for the new apps by these developers are through the MS market place then MS'll have the sales data to know which utilities are worth copying / including. If you're lucky you might get bought out, but you probably won't be (lucky). In any case you'll have paid MS to do the research into your market's potential.

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