Microsoft's Steve Ballmer: 'Apple sold more iPads than I'd like them to sell'

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Speaking to Wall Street analysts, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer noted that tablets are a big issue for the company and expressed concern about Apple's success with iPad.



"Today, one of the top issues on my mind, hey there's a category -- tablets," Ballmer said, according to a transcript by Business Insider.



"Apple has done an interesting job. They've sold more than I'd like them to sell. We think about that," he said. "So it's our job to say, we have got to make things happen. Just like we made things happen with netbooks, we have to do that with Slates."



Ballmer introduced his comments on tablets by saying, "Windows is everywhere. It's in gas pumps, lights controlling stadiums, etc. But for consumers...Microsoft went from no Windows in netbooks to being the guiding piece of software. Thin laptops, gaming PCs, TVs, etc. We have the widest array of form factors."



What Microsoft did to netbooks



Netbooks originally debuted with Linux, which helped the low end mini-notebooks achieve an attractive low price. However, Microsoft immediately began pressuring PC makers, including netbook leader ASUS, to switch to Windows XP, offering the software virtually for free to prevent Windows-free netbooks from gaining traction.



In the spring of 2009, Ubuntu CEO Mark Shuttleworth expressed hope of a level playing field in the netbook market, stating in an interview that "a decent edition of Windows [7] will mean Microsoft finally has to charge full price and that Redmond will finally stop allowing OEMs to use low-cost copies of Windows XP instead of paying full price for the full version of the official flagship - Windows Vista."



By the summer of 2009, Ballmer was telling financial analysts that Microsoft hoped to stop the rapidly falling prices in PCs (in part due to an influx of cheap new netbooks).



Using Windows 7, Ballmer said, "We?re going to readjust those prices north." At the time, he commented that Apple's gains in PC market share were a "rounding error," and "cost us nothing." He added, "hopefully, we?ll take share back from Apple. But they still sell only 10 million PCs a year, so it?s a limited opportunity."



Tablets harder to take



A year later, Apple has increased its Mac unit sales significantly while also selling nearly as many more new iPads per quarter. Ballmer referred to iPad as a PC, so from Microsoft's perspective, Apple has doubled its share of the overall computer market, while making major gains in the formerly beleaguered tablet market.



Unlike the netbook market, Microsoft can't pressure Apple to convert the iPad to a Windows device. And other PC makers have shown little enthusiasm for Windows in the tablet arena, with ASUS recently shelving its plans to use Windows Embedded Compact 7 in favor of Android.



Asked about future Microsoft tablets in the wake of HP dropping its plans for the consumer "Slate PC" it unveiled at CES just before iPad was announced (and before buying Palm, below), and the news that Microsoft was canceling its own Courier tablet concept, Ballmer said, "We've invested in touch, in ink. Mark up annotation, you'll see us try to bring it together to deliver slates and convertibles people will be excited about."







Ballmer told the audience that new Microsoft tablets, "will be shipping as soon as they are ready. It has job one urgency around here, nobody's sleeping at this point. We are working with those partners, not just to deliver something, but to deliver products that people really want to go buy."



After fretting about Apple's ominous iPad sales numbers, Baller also took the opportunity to criticize the product, saying "I don't think there is one size that fits all [?] I've been to too many meetings with journalists who spent the first 10 minutes of the meeting setting up iPad to look like a laptop." Presumably, Ballmer meant pulling out a Bluetooth keyboard.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 188
    ihxoihxo Posts: 562member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Microsoft went from no Windows in netbooks to being the guiding piece of software



    The thing with netbook is, it really is just a cheap underpowered laptop. You need very little tweaking in order to get windows to work with it. As for tablets, you cannot just add touch controls and expect it to work. You cannot just replace the mouse with your finger.
  • Reply 2 of 188
    kjm1863kjm1863 Posts: 20member
    Maybe Microsloth should ask some Apple users to help his staff at their meetings set up the iPads, so his staff can work????
  • Reply 3 of 188
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,107member
    Ballmer is an idiot. I hope they lose their ass in the tablet PC market.



    HP got it right by canceling their Windows-based slate. However, I doubt their WebOS slate will do very well.
  • Reply 4 of 188
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ihxo View Post


    The thing with netbook is, it really is just a cheap underpowered laptop. You need very tweaking in order to get windows to work with it. As for tablets, you cannot just add touch controls and expect it to work. You cannot just replace the mouse with your finger.



    Conversely... as the rather content owner/user of an Apple iPad 64/WiFi+3g, I can honestly say that it's really just an enlarged, overpriced iPod Touch lacking the convenience of being pocketable.
  • Reply 5 of 188
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    After fretting about Apple's ominous iPad sales numbers, Baller also took the opportunity to criticize the product, saying "I don't think there is one size that fits all [?] I've been to too many meetings with journalists who spent the first 10 minutes of the meeting setting up iPad to look like a laptop." Presumably, Ballmer meant pulling out a Bluetooth keyboard.



    Ten minutes? Give me a break Ballmer. Why must he over exaggerate everything he says when he is talking about competition? Face the facts. We won in another category.
  • Reply 6 of 188
    Pfft. Monkey Boy Dance. That's all I have to say about Ballmer.
  • Reply 7 of 188
    futuristicfuturistic Posts: 599member
    Ballmer says:

    Quote:

    ...you'll see us try to bring it together to deliver slates and convertibles people will be excited about.



    Yoda says:

    Do, or do not. There IS no try!
  • Reply 8 of 188
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,736member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post


    Ballmer is an idiot. I hope they lose their ass in the tablet PC market.



    HP got it right by canceling their Windows-based slate. However, I doubt their WebOS slate will do very well.



    I want HP's WebOS pad to do well, mainly because it will be stealing potential customers from Microsoft. MS has no credible competitive products to push Apple to greater heights. HP may be able to corner the low end of the market, leaving the more capable iPad to dominate the mid and upper end.
  • Reply 9 of 188
    oc4theooc4theo Posts: 294member
    Will someone please wake this guy up. He speaks like a typical America CEO, (except Steve of course) with no real facts about products. He is just throwing darts in sentences hoping one will stick and impress his shareholders.



    Just stick with Windows, Mr Ballmer and like anyone in front of a window, you can only look without coming out. And that is exactly where Microsoft is today, looking, talking without participation.



    Shut up Mr Ballmer, and admit you have no clue about anything except numbers.
  • Reply 10 of 188
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 696member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    After fretting about Apple's ominous iPad sales numbers, Baller also took the opportunity to criticize the product, saying "I don't think there is one size that fits all [?] I've been to too many meetings with journalists who spent the first 10 minutes of the meeting setting up iPad to look like a laptop." Presumably, Ballmer meant pulling out a Bluetooth keyboard.



    "Baller"??? Cute!



    Anyhoo, with Google, HP, and Microsoft all fighting to be #2, the way is cleared for Apple to lock leadership in this arena down tight. Consequently, Microsoft would be smart, IMHO, to remember the old adage, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." They should be porting Office to the iPad ASAP.
  • Reply 11 of 188
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member
    End of story.
  • Reply 12 of 188
    Here is a very thoughtful article on Balmer/MS from today's WSJ...



    It's rather short as far as WSJ articles go (good news for some on this board), very informative and I would really recommend it.



    Plus, the 'monkey boy' insults are somewhat sophomoric and very tiresome!





    http://online.wsj.com/article_email/...TEyNDkyWj.html



    This article will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal for up to seven days.



    Would be interested in what you guys and gals think of it! It's not very complementary either. Seems to say MS should stick to Windows OS, Office and Xbox.



    Best





    Let me know if the link doesn't work.
  • Reply 13 of 188
    What we are seeing here is the slow death of a large monolith whose inertia and lack of innovation and coherent (and might I say, literate) leadership is being exposed for all to see by a much more innovative and customer focussed company. In a way it is sad to see, but it is just another lesson that big companies find very hard to learn.
  • Reply 14 of 188
    nkalunkalu Posts: 315member
    Microsoft is finally showing some respect to Apple. How about that?
  • Reply 15 of 188
    2oh12oh1 Posts: 501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I want HP's WebOS pad to do well, mainly because it will be stealing potential customers from Microsoft. MS has no credible competitive products to push Apple to greater heights.



    Absolutely. Android pushes phones and tablets further away from Windows.
  • Reply 16 of 188
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... Ballmer told the audience that new Microsoft tablets, "will be shipping as soon as they are ready. It has job one urgency around here, nobody's sleeping at this point. We are working with those partners, not just to deliver something, but to deliver products that people really want to go buy."

    ...



    Translation:



    The iPad caught us with our pants down and now everyone at Microsoft is running around pulling their hair out and desperately trying to think of what to do about it.
  • Reply 17 of 188
    After more than a decade of selling Windows-based tablet PCs (I have used them going back to the mid-1990s), I want to know what Microsoft thinks is going to be better or different this time around that will suddenly make it a mass market product. The iPad sets the bar, and Microsoft dismissing it as just another tablet PC immediately reveals the problem: Microsoft doesn't get why the iPad is so successful. You can't judge it on the raw specs. You have to own and use one every day. Take it with you. Live with one. Glide your fingers over the screen.



    Ballmer sounds like he has never touched an iPad, he's only chortled as he watched other people use one, and he probably thought, "yeah, looks easy, we can do that too!"



    I would be easy if they were trying to take marketshare away from Palm or Sony, but when it comes to Apple, Microsoft's old tactics (copy and extend) fall short.
  • Reply 18 of 188
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,736member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nkalu View Post


    Microsoft is finally showing some respect to Apple. How about that?



    Not really respect... fear.
  • Reply 19 of 188
    takeotakeo Posts: 416member
    Windows tablets? Please. They should stick with gas pumps.
  • Reply 20 of 188
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    can I get a no shit?
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