April 18, 2014

Ballmer Talks Android - Still Doesn't Get It

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer was speaking at the Telstra Investor Day conference in Sydney when the subject turned to Android.  At first his reaction was one that could be construed as somewhat pacifying.

“This is their first phone, they’re not easy.   “Let’s see how they do.”

Ok, fair enough.

Then the discussion moved on to the business model of Google/Android.  This is where Ballmer ended his peaceful tone.

“They (Google) can hire smart guys, hire smart people, blah-de-blah-de-blah…  I don’t really understand their strategy, maybe somebody else does… Turning up to an investor meeting saying, ‘we’ve just launched a mobile operating system with no revenue model, yay!’ – I wouldn’t do that.  …I don’t get the business model.”

Let me put you straight for a second, Steve.  Google has been slowly building over ten years, offering all kinds of things that just don’t make sense on paper.  Look at how much has been given away for free over the last decade, Google’s first decade.  Would you expect them to be worth what they are?

Dude, they are starting to eat your lunch.  And you know it.

To me, Steve just sounds like a guy who knows what his biggest looming threat is, but doesn’t want to admit it.  By saying that Google doesn’t bubble to the top of the list of competitors of Windows Mobile, he just sounds naive.

After messing with Windows Mobile for over 3 years now, I can say that Android is by far a more compelling platform than they ever were.  This is after 2 weeks of being an G1 owner.  I didn’t even get to pick the device it’s running on, and I like it more than anything Microsoft slapped their OS on.

Ballmer and company are going to be losing market share to Android.  And, more importantly, Android will appeal to people who have yet to consider a smartphone.  You can keep going after enterprise users Steve.  Google and the Open Handset Alliance are going after the other 80% of the world.  And they’re not stopping with handsets either.

You guys have been working so hard on desktop versions of Windows for the last few years that you lost sight of where mobile was going.  Here’s the the problem.  You can’t even get desktop right.  Microsoft has been staving off an Apple attack for so long that they let Google in behind the gate.

So, Steve… You’ve lost the battle of search and ads already.  Your market share continues to dwindle in browsers.  Mozilla is up to 20% of the market now on a business model that proably doesn’t make sense to you either.  When you are sitting around wondering how you end up where you are a few years from now, don’t say you didn’t see it coming.  You just chose not to.

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