back to article Ballmer schools SatNad on Microsoft's mobile strategy: You need one

The world’s wealthiest activist shareholder, Steve Ballmer, has offered another critique of Microsoft, the company he helped build. A Business Insider interview finds Ballmer – now an “outsider” – generous and complimentary on most aspects of Nadella’s leadership. Ballmer thinks SatNad’s “cloudobile” pivot was something he …

  1. Ketlan


    'Ballmer lists his luxuries as his private plane and a weekly massage.'

    Wow, I'm more like Ballmer that I ever know. My luxuries are my fifteen year old car and a weekly takeaway. Hmm, not much like him, after all.

    On the other hand I'm a fat bad-tempered bastard, too, so there's that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Luxuries

      I hope his weekly massage always has a happy ending.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Luxuries

        A monkey dance?

      2. x 7

        Re: Luxuries

        "I hope his weekly massage always has a happy ending."

        If he does I bet the girls have to thai him down for their own protection.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Luxuries

      'Ballmer lists his luxuries as his private plane'

      I don't think Desert Island Disks would have allowed him that.

  2. sandman


    I now have a vile mental image of Ballmer having a massage. I think I'll go and scrub my brain clean with bleach and wire wool!

    1. Gordon 10

      Re: Thanks!

      Now imagine the towel slips........

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: Thanks!

        That was low....

      2. Teiwaz

        Re: Thanks! (balmer, towel)


        - I don't know whether to up or down vote that bio-weapen grade mental image.

      3. Arctic fox

        @ Gordon 10 Re"Now imagine the towel slips........" Thank you for that image, NOT.

        In the meantime, "Ballmer schools SatNad on Microsoft's mobile strategy: You need one".

        It would have been great had Ballmer had an identifiable strategy when he was CEO.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ Gordon 10 Re"Now imagine the towel slips........" Thank you for that image, NOT.

          His strategy was - do what Apple does, 3 years after they do it.

          1. Faceless Man

            Re: @ Gordon 10 Re"Now imagine the towel slips........" Thank you for that image, NOT.

            ...and in the meantime, try to convince people that there's no point in doing it.

          2. Charles Manning

            Ballmer's mobile strategies.

            1) Take a well known albeit struggling company with a good brand (Nokia).

            2) Infect it.

            3) Buy it.

            4) Break it.

            5) Get bored throw the junk on the floor.

            6) Cash out and bail.

            I suppose that was better than their Zune strategy:

            1) Brown

            2) Squirt

            Microsoft started in the phone game in 2000/2001. They've been in this game twice as long as Apple or Google. Remeber Ballmer laughing about iphone:

            And they still haven't got a strategy.

  3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Any info on what type of plane? Nothing in the Business Insider article.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      How about...?

      A Blue LearJet with the Registration NW10NO

      N for US

      W10 for You know what

      NO because Balmer wouldn't be seen dead using it.

      This is a joke ok.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Too little, too late!

    If Ballmer thinks that Microsoft needs a mobile strategy then why didn't he set on up when he had the chance? I think this is a poor display on his part: it's always easy to comment on something with a little hindsight.

    Yet when he was in charge he didn't exactly do that well either. Or was the enforcement of a mobile platform onto the desktop market (Metro, ugh, yuck, blech!) his idea of a mobile strategy perhaps?

    With strategies like that, who needs competitors? ;-)

    1. Gordon 10

      Re: Too little, too late!

      MS had a mobile strategy it was called danger, kin, win phone, win ce, Nokia

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Too little, too late!

        It had the same strategy it has had for all its other successful products.

        Buy a small company, ruin it and hope that nobody else enters the market to compete

  5. Chronos

    Dear Uncle Fester

    Nobody is going to buy a handset with Windows on it. The Lumias had amazing cameras but there was one little thing that let them down: You. Stick with USS Enterprise laptops where the saucer section comes off and leave telephones to the grown ups. Who wants to use the vast majority of a mobile data allowance on Windows' spyware "features" alone?

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Dear Uncle Fester

      Telephones and traditional PCs. We don't want that, Modern... um, Universal... uh Windows Apps garbage on desktops. It turns out that a jack of all trades is master of none. Who knew (besides everyone)?

    2. x 7

      Re: Dear Uncle Fester

      "Nobody is going to buy a handset with Windows on it"

      nearly all the girls I know (admittedly they're not the brightest souls in the universe) have low-end Lumias.

      They simply work out of the box, and do all the girls need: take photos, run Facebook, get e-mails and log onto to receive bookings

      for that sort of work the phones are excellent

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Dear Uncle Fester

      I always thought he looked like Gerd Fröbe in Goldfinger, at least in the photo El Reg usually uses.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Activist investor?

    The world’s wealthiest activist shareholder?

    Has Ballmer suddenly become like Carl Icahn or Elliott Fund Management? Is he demanding a seat on the board of the company he stepped down from?

    1. Mikel

      Re: Activist investor?

      He is rich, but not that rich.

    2. Michael Habel

      Re: Activist investor?

      Has Ballmer suddenly become like Carl Icahn or Elliott Fund Management? Is he demanding a seat on the board of the company he stepped down from?

      Perhaps, not... But, he is the single largest Shareholder in MicroSoft Inc.

    3. x 7

      Re: Activist investor?

      "The world’s weirdest activist shareholder?"

      FIXED IT!

  7. Bota

    It's just an iceberg we'll be fine

    So their strategy is to stay on a course more akin to a death by-privacy fuckery spiral.


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft had a Mobile strategy, just not a Windows Phone marketing one.

    Windows Mobile is dead, but its not from lack of trying from an engineering perspective, its from failure after failure from a marketing perspective, which has been a complete fc!k up from start to finish.

    Its been badly marketed from Windows Phone 7 onwards and that includes larger mobile devices - Arm Tablets under the Windows RT Branding, Surface RT v Surface Pro. How the head of MS Marketing still has his job, I'm clueless - about time they kicked him into the long grass. The Marketing department need to anticipate more the effects of their announcements/naming strategies like Apple.

    I'd be really surprised if Joe Belfiore comes back to a senior role too. Can't see it happening. A year away is a long time in tech.

    Microsoft's best bet would be to work on a seamless global roaming 'whispernet' style 4G Mobile Data network linked to their Cloud Azure Services, but you can bet Apple already have this in the pipeline. ;)

    1. Michael Habel

      Re: Microsoft had a Mobile strategy, just not a Windows Phone marketing one.

      Having a really ugly botch tiled UX with hangers on the far edges was, and is more the enough to have put me off WinPhone. Really I prefer the cleaner way Android presents its Desktop face. Kinda makes me wonder if WinPhone, even has any custom Launchers, and if they're any better the the Stock offerings.

  9. JimmyPage

    Vague reminds me of all those police/politicians

    who "discover" the War on Drugs is a crock. Just *after* they retire ...

    1. ma1010

      Re: Vague reminds me of all those police/politicians

      Those cops didn't figure out that the "War on Drugs" was a crock after they retired. They knew it quite well years earlier. Before retirement they kept their mouths firmly shut and did as they were told because they wanted to HAVE a retirement (pension), rather than being fired for publicly disagreeing with police policy while on a police force. A serving cop shooting off his mouth like that is a very big no-no. The best he could hope for is to get the most crap assignments and shifts the brass can invent. A retired cop, on the other hand, can say whatever he likes.

      Those retired cops who speak out against the stupidity of the "War on Drugs" are one of the best weapons against it. Don't attack them; encourage them because politicians listen to them far more than anyone else when it comes to law enforcement issues, like drugs. With their help, perhaps someday we can end the madness of drug prohibition and the violence it engenders and deal with addiction in a more positive way.

      Anyone who'd like to help can find more info at

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Pete Townshend wept...

    ...and threw Himself under the tour bus. Windows "Mobile" strategy is what it's ALWAYS been- make an OS so truly, truly wretched, so bloody annoying, SO godawful and creaky and leaky and spoo, that the ONLY truly Mobile Platform they have is when one slings the Windows Laptop out the actual window and onto unsuspecting pedestrians, all of whom promptly look up, cheer you on as a tribute to Humanity, and take torch and smoking pitch to the offending device.

    Despite great reservations, I moved off to Ubuntu a few years ago and have yet to look back- EVERYTHING Windows does you can now do on Linux, faster, better, easier and safer. Any flavour - personal preference, really... WHY would you choose Martha Raye when you could have Gisele Bundchen? Put THAT in yer Ballmer and Massage it, huh?! Ew.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only reason he considers Xbox important

    Is because it was the first new product released after he took over as CEO so he thinks of it as his baby. The console market is declining, Microsoft is losing to Sony this go around and would be better served refocusing on Windows gaming.

    Probably the first new product that was developed from inception to release under him was the Zune, but I can see why he wants to forget that turd!

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    If Nadella thinks he's hearing voices he should be reassured - they're not inside his head, they're coming from the back seat.

  13. Hans 1
    Thumb Up

    I saw my 6th or 7th WinPhone yesterday, brother-in-law sent some clothes over and an "old" Nokia he got as a present, he never used. It turned out to be not that old at all, a Lumia 735.

    I was considering sending the thing back to Redmond, Washington, by UPS - to make sure somebody signs it off.

    I played around with it yesterday, only for like 15 minutes ... and, the first thing you see after you gone through the setup is a desktop with lots of junk, no mm2 left. On other phones, you have Photos, Mail, Settings etc, on Windows phone you have that plus a bunch of "widgets", or "moving" tiles with news you don't care about, that are just as annoying as the animated gif ads, if anyone can remember them ....

    Theiir app store is still lacking many apps I would expect on a mobile device. The teen in this house had never seen one and looked at it quite extensively, before joking "There's nothing interesting to install, it is an adult phone, I guess."

    I might give it to a Nokia fanboy I know ... he's still using 3330 type Nokias, "a phone's for making phone calls", he says.

    I think Ballmer is right (I side with Ballmer, who'd da thunk), MS needs a mobile strategy, however, it is probably 5 years too late for that, and 5 years is like an eternity in the mobile business.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    So Steve 'Kin' Ballmer wants a mobile strategy for Microsoft

    I'd be all ears if I could stop laughing.

    He should stick to the chair growing gorilla impressions and leave SatNad to run Microsoft into the ground on his own.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot preaching to the kettle, oh dear!

    Ballmer's pinnacle accomplishment of mobile strategy was to laugh at the iPhone in public, and the video clip of it existing for all posterity.

    SatNad... well it's still too early to tell. He does have a silly fetish for data mining antics, considering he's the cloud/data guy at Microsoft before becoming the CEO.

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