back to article Ballmer leaves investors speechless in Seattle

The pressure must be getting to Microsoft's very own bald eagle Steve Ballmer as he issued a stinging public rebuke - for the first time - to dissenting investors calling for his head, and used the soon-to-be released fiscal 2011 results to back up his reputation. According to reports in the Seattle Times, Microsoft's CEO …


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      1. Justin Clements


        iPad is nothing to do with marketing, it is genuinely a good user experience.

        Same with the iPhone. It has an excellent UI and far better than anything else that was on the market at the time.

  1. me n u

    The old bald eagle fart flips his wig

    Yea, but did he throw any chairs at the investors?

  2. pompurin

    Microsoft Monopoly losing grip

    Let's face it, Microsoft will never be able to recapture it's heydays of the 90s with it's monopoly of the PC market. Now it has got competition from the likes of Linux, Apple and even Google. It still has a future in the market due to it's user friendliness and it being perceived as a 'lower risk' choice from enterprise.

    Especially as we are going through an 'age of austerity' a lot of companies will be asking themselves whether they need to upgrade their Windows, Office or Exchange products. The pressure to move to a Linux based cloud with much cheaper licensing and support costs might be too much.

    1. Ben Holmes

      Yes but... most enterprises, the cost of redploying to kit, and retraining staff precludes any sort of move to an entirely different platform at all. You can go on about 'spending to save' all you like to the people who hold the purse strings, but the sad fact is that no-one is going to outlay any cash to fix what isn't broken. And before any Open Source advocates step in and say the MS model is broken, it just isn't.

      The one caveat to that is that you may find Open Source products being deployed to Windows environments. But again, only when they end up with any sort of respectable Group Policy-related tools. Which very few do at the moment. Firefox, anyone?

      At the end of the day, businsess with any sense will take the path of least resistence. And that, for most, will be hanging onto their existing MS kit for dear life.

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Big changes

        Compare XP to Windows 7. Quite a difference in operation. That will require retraining for the less confident Windows users.

        Microsoft feels the need to change the UI quite a lot between versions now. Apple on the other hand doesn't change things radically. Some Linux UIs don't change much either, although Ubuntu's choice of UI does.

    2. CyberCod

      Its been my experience...

      ...that the only thing really holding businesses back from switching to Linux is the lack of niche software, or being entrenched in proprietary windows-based software. Until the small programming houses start supporting Linux, then the pharmacies, auto mechanics and doctors offices will not make the switch. Even churches have this problem.

  3. AdamWill

    A reason?

    Sure there's a reason the company makes so much money, Steve - all that legacy business from back when you weren't running the company...

  4. schnide

    "There's a reason..

    why we'll do almost $70bn in revenue this year and we'll make over $20, whatever, $26, $27bn in profits," he added.

    Yes there is, but I'm too polite to say what it is.

    Way to act professional Steve. I bet this has really endured to you the audience at the time and the world who'll read about it afterwards.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    "a good job of improving security and trust."

    Are you serious?

    Somebody tell me he's not serious, please?

    The irony is lost on me, sorry.

    They've got loads of money to spend because of their continued abuse of their twenty-odd year old monopoly, if they had someone with vision anywhere in the organisation they could use some of their loose change to Invent something significant (HP can't), and all we get is the same old same old. Plus Kinect, obviously.

    1. Goat Jam


      They didn't even invent that.

      1. Goat Jam


        You can down vote me all you like MS Shill but they didn't invent kinect and that is a FACT.

        BTW, what does the Windows User icon mean?

        1. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: hehe

          GJ... Just because Sarah's gone doesn't mean you can start calling people shills, 'kay?

          1. Red Bren

            Oh no!

            It's the new teacher!!!

          2. Goat Jam


            Who else but an MS shill would down vote an obvious and provable statement of fact?

            I mean are there even any MS fanboys left?

            Or ones willing to admit to be so inclined anyway?

            I know I wouldn't admit to it in public unless I was being paid to do so.

            It's like being the friend of the dorkiest kid in school.

            All it will get you is a beating and to go hungry at lunch time.

            Also, I hadn't even read of the departure of Ms Bee from Vulture Central at the time I made that comment, but OK, whatever.

            P.S. What does the Windows User Icon mean?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, if in doubt, SHOUT!

    I have nothing further to add.

  7. zen1

    I dunno

    Love him or hate him Gates had vision. Balmer may have contributed significantly in the early years but the past few years under his rein, Microsoft has barely been able to stand under its old weight. As much as most of us love to vilify and openly mock Microsoft, for more reasons anybody can shake a stick at, they have cornered the legacy market. If you believe the hype of cloud computing and the eventual OS lite equipment that we could all be using AND the explosion of iCrap and Androids, Steve has been caught with his pants down, scratching his head and wondering what the hell happened.

    Someone just needs to throw a chair back at him.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Gates had vision eh? You are talking about Bill Gates? William Gates III? The CEO of a top software company who dismissed the internet as a fad? The same person who had to reissue a 2nd edition of his book on technology because he basically missed the internet?

      That Gates?

      Vision my arse! The only vision Gates had was how he was going to extract money from your wallet.

      1. Goat Jam

        Gates . . .

        . . . came from a family of liarers, which explains why he was so adept at writing one sided contracts that destroyed the other party.

        Just ask NCSA (Mosiac browser) if you don't believe me.

  8. Waderider


    It is obvious what happens next. Bill Gates returns as CEO. A resurrection basically. It's happened before.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Gates cannot fix MS - he made it what it is.

      Ballmer is a moron who values energy and bombast above intellect and judgement but he cannot succeed without someone else supplying the former. And the smarts are now elsewhere: Apple/ Google or MS - is a no-brainer.

      Good riddance to bad rubbish. It's a pity they are going to take Nokia with them.

  9. kain preacher Silver badge

    humility, Palin

    In the same sentence? What ever you are smoking stop. Stop it right now. Palin for prez= destruction of the free world .

    1. Goat Jam

      There is a free world?

      How do I become a citizen?

      1. kain preacher Silver badge


        Freedom has an AK. Oooh my land minds just arrived.

        Well in retrospect I should of said destruction of the whole world. That nut cake would hunt down and nuke every non white country that gives America a funny look. Then she just might nuke or allies that does not follow her lead. She is the type to lecture the French on why the need to be more American. When the French tell her to f off she would shoot them .

  10. James 47

    David Einhorn

    Isn't he the guy who convinced Nokia to get rid of OPK and install Stephen Elop as CEO. What's he up to???

  11. jugear

    "captive audience"

    So, where the audience hogtied and gagged? Did Kane and The Undertaker watch over them, ready to punish any smirks?

  12. heyrick Silver badge

    How much is that doggy in the window?

    How much is Android fees, other patent fees, and fees for Windows pre-installs...

    ...and how much is actual innovation?

  13. json

    They're lucky..

    .. there's not much furniture around.

  14. frankieh

    shame shame.

    Apple and Android have done one huge thing for us.. something linux desktop never achieved.. It has shown people that the windows way isn't the only good way.. people don't "expect" a device to run windows anymore, so not doing so is no longer a show stopper for them.

    Microsoft missed stepped on every tech trend except the Kinect.. and it's mostly ballmers fault. Iphone, ipod, HPC, Android, tablets, embedded etc etc. Increasingly the are trying to make money from patent extortion more than innovative products all the while complaining when they get stung with their own barb. (i4i anyone?)

    Put a techie back in charge.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One word, Steve...


    Want to see him react when that one starts to smell

  16. Bilgepipe


    >>> "There's a reason why we'll do almost $70bn in revenue this year and we'll make over $20, whatever, $26, $27bn in profits," he added.

    "Because our customers are stuck with our expensive junk products whether they want them or not." he continued.

  17. Ascylto


    Please, please, please ... keep Ballmer in charge of Microsoft!

    (An Apple fanatic).

  18. Anonymous Coward

    "Love him or hate him Gates had vision."

    No he didn't.

    Two well known examples from many: "no one will need more than 640kB", and initially ignoring the Internet.

    Gates was good at making one-sided deals. End of.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ballmer leaves investors speechless in Seattle

    I.e., he didn't let anyone speak.

    "[Ballmer] shouted at a captive audience"

    No no no, that's just his normal way to speak. He accidentally pressed caps lock while pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del a while back, never noticed, and somneone never dared telling him.

  20. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    No thanks, Ballmer!

    I would like our politicians to outlaw the pre-installation of MS on almost every PC for sale.

    This MS tax has gone on too long and as we know it is almost impossible to get a refund if you do not choose to accept their T&Cs.

    I would like to see something like this:

    Switch on your new PC, it boots into Linux and asks if you want to install MS (£81), OSX (£19) or carry on with Linux for free. At least then we would have less bot-farms but I doubt that any of our "leaders" have a clue what they are doing.

  21. George 24

    Bill Gates

    Had a vision. Yes he did. Today we have standards. Files can be shared between different systems. if it had been to Apple or IBM, we would be buggered for sure.

    Love or hate M$, the contribution is enormous. Balmer should retire ASAP. Give the job to that guy, you know... Linus T. That would be inovative!

    1. sisk Silver badge


      Give it to Stallman for the shear entertainment value. Torvalds is pragmatic enough to possibly fix Microsoft (unlikely, but he would at least try), whereas Stallman would immediately release all Microsoft code under the GPLv3. That would be a train wreck worth watching.

    2. Goat Jam

      "Files can be shared between different systems"

      What the?

      Are you seriously giving Gates credit for that? The same bloke who invented the "never standing still office format" to make it difficult to exchange files for everyone who didn't drink the Microsoft koolaid? Or even those that didn't have the latest recipe of koolaid?

      That Bill Gates?

      Crikey, some people are more naive than in my wildest imagination.

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge


      That made me laugh.

      So why is this great company that make sharing data possible suing everyone on the planet for patent violations on the FAT filesystem? Why do they not support EXT3, 4 and other filesystems?

      Microsoft are king of the file format lock in. Every time an open document format has been proposed by the EU they have knobbled it with their own version.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    I really want to see Ballmer demonstrating

    Office Chair 365

  23. Peter 39


    Damn the icebergs -- full speed ahead !!

  24. b166er
    Thumb Up

    George 24

    That would be hilarious my friend!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC Click about 2 months ago...

    At the CES, Ballmer being interviewed to demo Windows 7 tablets.

    It was the most awful performance I have ever seen from a CEO, made his product look so bad I'm stunned they didn’t try and get the broadcast pulled.

    It went roughly like this :

    Spencer Kelly - Hmmm problem with Windows 7 on a tablet - the icons are not scaled up for touch use. Look I just watched you try three times to hit that minimise icon.

    Ballmer - Ahhh well no problem, we have multiple form factors - look at this tablet with pop out keyboard. Or this tablet which folds open like a laptop.

    Spencer Kelly - Hmmmm but then it's not a tablet anymore....

    The whole thing was an admission than Win 7 on tablets is flawed, and I still can't believe this was demonstrated by Ballmer's very own hands and mouth. All I could think of was Gerald Ratner. It took only that instant for me to form an opinon that the guy isn’t fit for purpose.

  26. Rick Giles


    Until your last line I was going to call you a Windows Fanboi, but I see that your a fan of technology and not a particular company.

    I've always wanted someone to come and upset MS and Apple's, er, apple cart and I thought Google was going to be the one to do it. Google scares the hell out of me now. Take a company that makes their living from being able to search and deliver relational data to you and then have them develop a hardware/OS platform so that now they are truly in the machine and can tie (if they want to) their customers to their searching and buying habits. Hello Minority Report.

    I'm a fan of Linux, I can admit that. I like it because the focus is on the applications and not the OS, per se. Until some brave IT manager can get his company switched to a Linux platform and prove to the rest of the world that they don't need to likes of MS, we will always need to suckle at the MS licensing teat.

  27. CyberCod

    The problem with Ballmer...

    ...has never been about energy, or conviction, or drive. He's got those in spades and it hasn't done MS any good at all. His deficiencies have always been about integrity and vision. He's a hyper jackass that plays dirty pool, and honestly, he does not draw good talented people to him because of this reputation. He doesn't inspire people, he inspires fear. His job could have been done just as well by a rotweiller with a graphing calculator.

    I hope he gets put out on his ass.

  28. Rick Giles

    @Ben Holmes

    " most enterprises, the cost of redploying to kit, and retraining staff precludes any sort of move to an entirely different platform at all."

    I can't count the times I've had a user ask me if/when we are getting any Mac's. The only retraining problems you are going to have are from the Luddites and I classify that as any one born prior to 1978. I fall into that range, but I have The Knack, so new tech doesn't scare the willies out of me.

    Speaking of retraining... Most of the users do not care what OS the program runs on. They just care that it runs. If you are referring to retraining them on on the program that just replaced the one that runs on an MS OS, then yes, your are going to have some push back. Now think about that for a minute, especially if you were witness to the 'upgrade' from Office '03 to '07. Did the users flip out because of that fscking Office Ribbon nonsense? Mine sure did. Did that cause us to roll back the changes? No. Are they used to it now? Yes. Would they have been able to handle a change to say Ubuntu running (at that time) Open Office? Maybe. And I say that because the OS change would have been what got there attention more than Open Office. Why? Open Office, at that time, had a similar look and feel that Office '03 did. Most of my users have one or two in there group that can help train the others, so most of the time a change in product, or even a new product, is handled quite well.

    You sound like someone that benefits from keeping a company from changing to FOSS by making sure that the CFO/CIO/CTO hears enough FUD to keep the licensing machine rolling.

  29. JC 2

    As The Bubble Bursts

    I've no fondness for Steve Ballmer but I have to feel a little pity for the man as Microsoft's bubble was bound to burst. You can't build a monopoly on a once-in-mankind's-history type event peroid like the beginning of the personal computing era, and expect that to continue forever and a day.

    The further the tech evolves, the more and more minor the differences will be between the leaders in that industry and the competitors, to the extent that what differences remain won't be things that the average consumer cares about.

    MS investors aren't thinking long term though, if they were they would see that Apple is in the same boat with their phones and MP3 players, and of course their arguably overpriced desktop computers. What market share they've been gaining will erode away in the next decade, two at most.

  30. John Doe 1

    Well, he's certainly not lacking in enthusiasm...

    ...if the sweaty armpits of his shirts are any indication.

    I haven't heard him give a credible explanation of why MSFT stock is still below where it once was. I remember it was about $31/share perhaps over a year ago, but it's been at $26/share for a while now.

  31. windywoo

    Windows 7, Slim Xbox and Kinect

    All successes under Ballmer. Any success will of course be credited to someone else, whilst the failures are lumped upon him. This is the lazy thinking and flat out prejudice that prevales on the internet, and it seems amongst many financial analysts too.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      Windows 7 = Vista fixed.

      Slim XBox = XBox fixed.

      Kinect - Wii control system re-imagined.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    M$ are a ...

    M$ are a bloated behemoth whose means of survival these days is by summoning Patent trolls.

    IMHO, once Corporations get into the extortion business, their days are numbered. e.g Look what Darl McBride did to SCO


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