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Ballmer: PCs won't be ousted by iPad anytime soon

updated 12:35 pm EDT, Thu June 3, 2010

Microsoft CEO disagrees with Jobs on tablet future

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer took on claims of a looming post-PC era by Steve Jobs at the D8 conference with a view that the Apple CEO was fundamentally wrong. Ballmer denied that PCs were going to disappear and instead said they would "evolve" into smaller designs, some of which would be tablet designs. There would always be a need for a general purpose device, he said, and Jobs' metaphor that computers will only be "trucks" for heavy-duty work was flawed as it assumed PCs wouldn't change.

"Windows machines will not be trucks," Ballmer said.

He added that the iPad was very much a PC but painted it as inferior, citing an example of someone trying to take notes with Apple's device at a meeting. "That was interesting," he said. He did, however, agree that Apple and Microsoft would eventually "run into each other."

Microsoft's Ray Ozzie said any tablets of the sort would still be secondary devices, such as living room appliances, but that people needed both something to create content as well as to consume it. Ballmer, in turn, pointed to Apple's modest comptuer market share and that, if Apple thought Macs were going away, Windows PCs would still be there. Apple's post-PC notion was seen more as marketing than reality.

Jobs' assertions that styluses were problems also weren't quite correct, Ballmer noted. Microsoft would support all methods of input, including fingers, but some still wanted to take notes and draw, where a pen-like input worked best.

On smartphones, the CEO admitted that Windows Phone had "missed a whole cycle" and that some of the corporate shakeups were meant to help catch up. In contrast to his views in 2007, where he thought the iPhone had "no chance," Ballmer saw Apple as having done a good job of "coming from nowhere" and that it did the "best" with its Safari web browser. Apps are the publicly recognized part of the iPhone, he said, but the web was the iPhone's real strong point.

Android he saw as a "real competitor" in phones but wasn't clear on tablets or on the wisdom of having both Android and Chrome OS; Ozzie jumped in and said Android was the conservative entry where Chrome OS was the guess that the web would be the future.

by MacNN Staff



  1. icewing

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This guy is funnier than the entire Blue Collar Comedy Tour all by himself!

  1. Fonejacker

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I totally agree

    Ballmer boy is spot on, it won't replace laptops or PCs, the 2 million iPad users know exactly what its for, and its many other uses, apart from web, email, games, music, videos. The iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad serve different people for different uses, but some people just don't get it. For them its like trying to teach a baby applied maths, pointless, no matter what you say or how you say it, they just don't get it. Microcopy simply do not understand that copying only gets you part of the way. Innovation (Ballmer should spellcheck the meaning) is an alien concept to Microshaft. Its so far behind in the smartphone market, not in the tablet market, not in the portable music market, its embarrassingly funny. 2 million sales in 2 months in just 9 countries, imagine how many sales it will make with 78 countries on board in 12 months time. I intend to get an iPhone in 2010, and an iPad in 2011 for different purposes, both will compliment each other, and not replace my laptop. But Ballmer just simply doesn't get it.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    oh my

    see what someone else makes a success, use your cash cows to catch up and then lose unreal fortunes to stay in the game. these guys are business geniuses.
    they "lost" a whole cycle because they had no clue what to do. they had to wait til someone showed them the way. innovation at it's ms best.

  1. bosco08

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I absolutely love this guy!!!

    I can't believe how entertaining Ballmer is. He's like my local weatherman. Almost perfectly the opposite of the truth. I pray MS keeps him in charge. He's insanely fun to listen to.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Listen to Ballmer and do the opposite.

    The guy has a dead-on feel for the market, and the future of computing.

    We all saw how the iPhone failed, as per his ridiculing and market predictions.

  1. rvhernandez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ballmer = ?

    Gates = Visionary
    Ballmer = Clown

  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh Mr Ballmer?

    With statements like these if is clear why Microsoft is the past and companies like Apple and Google are the future (present as well). In business you always have to be thinking about what is coming next, this is not just for the tech companies. Ballmer is the master of status quo and how to sit on your laurels until you butt has doubled in size. Share holders of Microsoft should really fire him. Nothing personal Steve but you don't have a game plan and these is not time left for bluffing.

  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    He has a point

    There will always be a place for the PC. For large content generating, for CAD, for art rendering, you need big drives, bib RAM, and big processors.

    What M$ and Ballmer does not understand is that the vast majority of people who use PCs don't need that. You don't need a full PC to read e-mail and to skype. You don't need a full PC and Office to write a quick note to your mother. You don't need a full PC to watch web video.

    There will be a place for Windows for a longtime, but M$ will be dominating a smaller and smaller pie.

  1. MeandmyMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Famous Last Words

    "And it doesn't appeal to business customers because it doesn't have a keyboard. Which makes it not a very good e-mail machine!" - Ballmer on iPhone

    I like our position. I like our position a lot!"

    "Rounding Error."

    Now we can add...
    "Windows machines will not be trucks," Ballmer said. (nope, just "Surface" Tables!)

    "the CEO admitted that Windows Phone had "missed a whole cycle"" - 'you got that right' - Fez of "That 70's Show"

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Well..... actually... :-)

    Ballmer says, ""Windows machines will not be trucks," Ballmer said."

    PCs are trucks. The provide the muscle to haul, create, distribute, etc. And you need trucks.

    The trouble is that most of us need cars or motorcycles or even bicycles to get around in our day to day lives. Apple, skating to where the puck will be.........

    Just a thought,

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