Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2
The best way to parse this kind of stuff is to remember that Balmer is a "sales guy" and most of what he says here is standard "sales guy speak."
When faced with Apple taking share, he frames it as a tit for tat. When faced with the fact that their hardware is better he comes out with (essentially) "just you wait and see what's coming out soon on our side." These is all standard marketing replies and the fact that he's used that "just you wait and see" crap at least a dozen times before doesn't seem to register on most investors. Microsoft has been just one quarter away from the some amazing device or other almost since they started, but they never have delivered it. To say these kinds of things isn't dumb it's shrewd and it's typical sales-spin, the interesting part of his remarks is where he genuinely seems to not understand what he's talking about. Specifically this remark:
He should get fired for saying this. He really should. Because it shows that he just does not understand anything about the markets he's dealing with, the product he himself sells, and how his company is responding to a very real threat.
He conflates hardware with software (when he talks about the "low price"), and doesn't seem to get that it's his
product that's vastly overpriced for the market. If Microsoft was actually to survive on the model he suggests here, they would have to cut back to a company a fifth of their current size and drop everything they do except making Windows and Office.
Great post! (Sorry this is an old reset, just working through the thread.)
Both he and, to a lesser degree, Bill are trained in "salesman speak" where logic and intellectual honesty have no home. I saw a roundtable on PBS one time where all the titans of eIndustry were on stage, including Ballmer, and Bill G. was on a big screen from some other location and the MC was asking each about proprietary software and open markets and when it got to Bill, he said how MS was this engine of choice and a force in innovation. The other CEO's barely contained their smirks and chuckles and the MC tried to hint at his incredulity with a polite version of "c'mon, man are you for real?!" but both he and Ballmer stoically ignored every non-verbal cue and sense of reason and in a reality distortion field that might humble Steve Jobs, they acted so matter of factly that the MC would have had to call each a liar to continue the conversation and he awkwardly moved on.
Not to pontificate, but this is such a problem with the way Wall Street and big business goes about their business. These guys have so deluded themselves into a form of selfrighteousness that it makes journalists and analysts who may have been more critical, simply move on and not rock the boat - thus Enron, thus AIG, thus GM ...
And all of the talking heads on the financial news stations just repeat this stuff as if reality and honesty don't matter. Of course Apple does the same thing, but it hasn't retarded the innovation of an entire industry in the way that MS has, plus it drives innovation, so we can cut it some slack.