Ballmer

Say this for Steve Jobs: He didn’t sugarcoat things, even in his final days. But the soon-to-be-released biography of the Apple co-founder might be undoing a lot of the goodwill that was directed toward Jobs upon his death a few weeks ago.

The New York Times, one of the publications with early access to the book, has compiled a “scorecard of putdowns” by Jobs in the book. Here’s what the Times reports about Jobs’ comments regarding modern-day Microsoft …

In the final pages of the book, written in Mr. Jobs’s own words, he described Microsoft as “mostly irrelevant” and said companies like it often ran aground when they were run by salespeople. He singled out Apple’s former chief executive, John Sculley, and Microsoft’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, as examples, adding that he didn’t think Microsoft would change as long as Ballmer was in charge.

Of course, it’s popular to criticize Microsoft for not being a nimble as it should be. But on its face, the “mostly irrelevant” statement is actually a little strange, given that Windows still runs on upwards of 90% of the world’s computers.

It’s important not to judge these things before reading the actual book. But combined with the other quotes on the NYT’s list, and the earlier reports about Jobs calling Bill Gates an “unimaginative” copycat, it should be interesting to see how this book ultimately shapes the Apple co-founder’s legacy.

At least Ballmer wasn’t alone on the list, joined by the likes of singer John Mayer and President Obama in being criticized by Jobs. The NYT reports that Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he “was disappointed in Mr. Obama because the president did not want to offend anyone, a quality that Mr. Jobs conceded he lacked.”

Sheesh, no kidding.

Comments

  • Lisa Cherkofsky

    Maybe Steve Jobs is a bit self centered on the “Innovation” tag. Where’s Apple search ? Or Apple Servers? Or Apple Routers ? Apple is pretty much a cell phone company now. Did he invent the cell phone ?

    • Anonymous

      Your right. The only thing that I could think about is that apple home server for home users that had multiple macs. But still don’t have any real servers, search engines, or routers.

      • sammy

        Grammar Police here. It’s, ‘You’re right.’

    • Guest

      Where’s MS’s search? They’ve lost $8 billion so far, have a run rate loss of 500M a quarter, and have less than 15% share organically. Is that success? Apple isn’t trying to be mile wide and inch deep. They pick their battles and for the most part win them.

      • Capotini

        Ballmer this year report: I must say it’s funny other companies celebrating they sold 400 million windows 7 licenses  comparing to the rest (apple + linux)  20 million units sold . :) this was 2011 not 20 years ago! And by the fast and huge number of downloads windows 8 had along with good critics over a preview (even not beta) one can thing that they will be here rulling the tech world for a long time. As for windows phone with the union with the mercedez benz of phones (NOKIA) things will look to last

  • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

    He just put himself 7 feet under…

    • Anonymous

      Yeah. This new biography will probably show Jobs’ true colors. According to this so far, Jobs is digging a hole.

      • Guest

        It can show whatever it does, that won’t change how much better positioned Apple is to win in the future versus MS.

        • Anonymous

          Are you saying that Apple will succeed and Microsoft is going to fail?

  • Guest

    Microsoft has certainly become increasingly irrelevant to the consumer with Ballmer in charge. And its importance in the enterprise has also waned a bit from where it was back in 2000. So I guess I’d have to agree with Jobs assessment overall. I’m just not sure he needed to say it.

    Apple has clearly had much greater success than MS over the last decade. I don’t think any sane person would question that Jobs has been a more effective CEO than Ballmer. Jobs should have just let that record speak for itself.

    • john

      Microsoft is not irrelevant to the consumer. They own the living room with 360 and devices like the Kinect broke sales records. In terms of their phone OS, sure its not selling so well right now, that could change, but its a fact nonetheless.

      However, lets not forget that phones are not the entire consumer market, as much as apple fanboys would like you to believe. Steve Jobs comments are just playing to Apple’s strengths, which have only been in mobile.

      • Guest

        Okay, let’s change increasingly irrelevant to increasingly less relevant. 360 owns the livingroom in the US only. It’s nowhere in Japan and behind in Europe. Console gaming isn’t where the real growth is anyway. That’s now casual gaming where Apple leads. I’d be surprised if at some point Apple doesn’t make another play for livingroom supremacy. And with their strength in content and devices, I’m not sure MS will prevail. Kinect, yes one major consumer hit after dozens of consumers failures during the last decade, including most recently Zune, Kin, Windows Mobile,  and the really weak launch of WP7.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Gilbert/760420316 Dave Gilbert

        Apple built off of the Ipod. Then the Iphone, then Mac OS looking like their other products. They built off of one hit product. Steve Jobs was an asshole, but he knew what he was doing Im not going to lie about that. They made other products that arent in the Mobile market that have been successful.

    • Anonymous

      You must be an apple fanboy. Microsoft made records with the Kinect, and their new phone os is slowly growing in attention. So no, Microsoft is not irrelevant with the consumer. It is not about phones all the time.

      • Guest

        Not particularly, although I own some of their products. But their greater success than MS over the last decade on virtually any dimension you want to pick (revenue, profit, cash generation, market capitalization, brand ranking, popular perception, success in creating profitable new businesses, mobile, tablets, etc) is irrefutable.

  • http://chuck.goolsbee.org chuck goolsbee

    You have to admit, the guy has a point. Microsoft beat Apple in the Operating Systems game, so Apple changed the game and transformed the entire marketplace along the way. Operating Systems and desktop applications are irrelevant today. Microsoft may hold the lion’s share of those markets, but nobody cares about them anymore, least of all Wall Street.

    • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

      You mean MS beat Apple in the OS game, so Apple started selling pods, pods that can call, and bigger pods that can’t call. Both relevant in their own way I’d have to say.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Viviana-Wong/1143684734 Viviana Wong

        You can make FaceTime with iPod Touch (4th generation) and iPad (2) and you do not have to pay any money to telecom for that, except for the wi-fi connection. It beats making phone calls.

    • Guest

      Yeah, just a billion or so users transacting most of the world’s business every day. Hardly relevant at all.

    • john

      90% of the people on this earth disagree with you.

      • Anonymous

        Thumbs up to you.

  • Anonymous

    Jobs had to have known he was going to be dead soon. There’s no way he would’ve said all of this stuff if he thought he’d still be around when the book was released.

    • Anonymous

      Him and his company would probably run right into the ground if he was still alive. People can do what they just did to Netflix.

      • Guest

        We’ll never know. He went out on top. Indisputably.

      • Guest

        You mean, what the movie industry did to Netflix by twisting their arm over  licensing costs, causing Netflix to stumble (as studios hoped they would) to protect lucrative DVD sales. 

        • Anonymous

          Yes

  • BizSnype

    I work with a few of these Apple fan-boy that drink the Apple Fruit Smack every day and go on and on about how Microsoft is dead.  Yet, they sit in front of a PC all day working with Visual Studio/.NET, SQL Server, Windows Server, etc…  Microsoft products have afforded them the careers they have today but for some reason they think the iPhone and iPad make up for Microsoft’s dominance in the Enterprise arena for the past 20 years.

    The analogy of the tortoise and the hair can be applied to Microsoft and Apple.  Microsoft playing the role of the tortoise of course perhaps has stayed the course, albeit slow they will win the race in the end because they eventually will have all the pieces.  Also, Gates stepping down from daily operations has allowed the company to find it’s own identity, not one tied to a single person.  It will be interesting to see if Apple can maintain their relevance in the next decade now that Steve Jobs has passed away.

    • PaulStanley

      This is from a recent *MS friendly* publication:

      “But years of stagnant stock price performance, wobbly post-Bill Gates leadership, inconsistent innovation, seriously threatening competition and chronic uncoolness have left Microsoft stumbling around like a pro athlete in his twilight looking for one last gig.”

    • GuestBoy

      Yes, apple seriously beats microsoft in the “spend 500$ for a phone that would impress people”-game. I find it disturbing that MS even tries to beat apple in that field, they have others where they seriously rock. Over the last years microsoft did so many awesome things to their work-related products, Visual Studio, Office, Serversoftware, Sharepoint. Apple as a corporation has its limits, and that is its image. Lets imagine 90% of all people on earth owned an iPhone…how cool and desirable would having an iPhone be?

      Apple statussymbol-factor already decreases while sales increase and someday it will balance out.

    • GuestBoy

      Yes, apple seriously beats microsoft in the “spend 500$ for a phone that would impress people”-game. I find it disturbing that MS even tries to beat apple in that field, they have others where they seriously rock. Over the last years microsoft did so many awesome things to their work-related products, Visual Studio, Office, Serversoftware, Sharepoint. Apple as a corporation has its limits, and that is its image. Lets imagine 90% of all people on earth owned an iPhone…how cool and desirable would having an iPhone be?

      Apple statussymbol-factor already decreases while sales increase and someday it will balance out.

    • GuestBoy

      Yes, apple seriously beats microsoft in the “spend 500$ for a phone that would impress people”-game. I find it disturbing that MS even tries to beat apple in that field, they have others where they seriously rock. Over the last years microsoft did so many awesome things to their work-related products, Visual Studio, Office, Serversoftware, Sharepoint. Apple as a corporation has its limits, and that is its image. Lets imagine 90% of all people on earth owned an iPhone…how cool and desirable would having an iPhone be?

      Apple statussymbol-factor already decreases while sales increase and someday it will balance out.

    • GuestBoy

      Yes, apple seriously beats microsoft in the “spend 500$ for a phone that would impress people”-game. I find it disturbing that MS even tries to beat apple in that field, they have others where they seriously rock. Over the last years microsoft did so many awesome things to their work-related products, Visual Studio, Office, Serversoftware, Sharepoint. Apple as a corporation has its limits, and that is its image. Lets imagine 90% of all people on earth owned an iPhone…how cool and desirable would having an iPhone be?

      Apple statussymbol-factor already decreases while sales increase and someday it will balance out.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Jobs. I started programming Windows in 1988 on version 2.03. Back then it was GUI shell for DOS. I programmed exclusively in Windows till 2000 and I continued to do dev in .NET, at a declining rate, until the last year. Now I am out of MS land entirely. I am running my own startup right now and when you compare launching a new company on LAMP / AWS with launching one on the MS stack, there is just no contest. 

    I am not alone in this opinion and it is a big deal for the future of MS.  The startups today are the big companies tomorrow. How many dev jobs will there be on the MS stack in 10 years? More importantly, WHERE will there jobs be. From where I stand, it really looks like staying on the MS stack is like programming COBOL on IBM mainframes back in the day. There would always be jobs doing it but did you really want to spend your career working for the kind of companies that stayed on that technology.

    And this is not about Apple, the only Apple product I have ever owned is 1 iPod 5 years ago. I made my choice between Apple and MS 20 years ago. And if the only choice was still just between  Apple and MS, I would still be on MS.

    MS has huge mass and will continue to make money and be big company for a long time. But Jobs point is about relevancy. IBM had more sales than MS during the 90’s but no one thought that IBM was more relevant than MS.  MS is the new IBM. Big, profitable, and irrelevant to where the industry is going.

    • Guest

      “MS is the new IBM. Big, profitable, and irrelevant to where the industry is going.”

      No they’re not. IBM has successfully reinvented itself several times over its history, including over this last decade. MS hasn’t managed it once. IBM is also now growing faster than MS and nobody is particularly worried about their ability to keep doing so long into the future. Everybody is worried about MS’s ability to do so. Mostly because it has had very little success against the main competitors driving those secular shifts (Google, Apple, etc).

      • Anonymous

        But IBM is still not relevant to the industry. 

        It is not about being profitable and big, it is about relevancy, how what you do influences the direction the industry is going.  Yes, IBM is doing well for IBM shareholders but they are still following, not leading the industry. Back in the day, new versions of IBM mainframes determined where the industry went. Most of the other companies positioned there products relative to IBM’s products. 

        There are a bunch of companies, startups and mature companies, that are trying to break into a leadership position or jump ahead with the next big thing. The companies this group is watching, pivoting off of, trying to leap frog, those companes are the relevant companies. Back in the mainframe days it was IBM, MS was the one in the 90’s. Now it is Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook even maybe Salesforce. Nice thing about right now is how diverse things are. 

        Again, saying MS is irrelevant to the industry is not the same thing as saying MS is going away. Wal-Mart is big and profitable but it too is irrelevant to where the industry is going 

  • Guest

    Less than 5% of the mobile market. Less than 4% of the tablet market. I’d say that qualifies as irrelevant, at least with respect to the future and where the industry is going.

    • Jay

      Do you do all your work with tablets and phones?

    • Jay

      Do you do all your work with tablets and phones?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Zahl/1670371040 Steven Zahl

    Ballmer has to go.

  • Thom Blake

    90% of the world’s computers?  I’d like to see a citation for that.  [Wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems) lists about that number in “web clients” and “desktop and laptop computers”, though with a lot of caveats.  However, MS is totally irrelevant in mobile, tablets, servers, and supercomputers, and is likely to remain that way unless hell freezes over and they switch to a Unixlike core.

    • Donmas

      MS is totally irrelevant in mobile, tablets, *servers,*

      Irrelevant in servers??? 

      You can’t possibly be serious.

      • SteveYobs

        haha, no they’re relevant, they’re the bane of every server admins existence.  They *should* exit that area, rather than try to compete in it, because they’re beyond bad at it, it’s almost like they’re trying to do it wrong.

  • http://ClaussConcept.com Jason Gerard Clauss

    One of the few things I agree with Jobs on. Ballmer sucks.

  • getALife

    lots of bitchy drama queens here ;)

  • http://www.calprofat.com Saha

    I think Steve missed the point that Ballmer is not a typical salesman. He had been a mathematician until he moved to large business. He even has a degree. There are other factors, I suppose, not just Ballmer’s proficiency.

  • http://www.calprofat.com Saha

    I think Steve missed the point that Ballmer is not a typical salesman. He had been a mathematician until he moved to large business. He even has a degree. There are other factors, I suppose, not just Ballmer’s proficiency.

  • http://www.calprofat.com Saha

    I think Steve missed the point that Ballmer is not a typical salesman. He had been a mathematician until he moved to large business. He even has a degree. There are other factors, I suppose, not just Ballmer’s proficiency.

  • http://www.calprofat.com Saha

    I think Steve missed the point that Ballmer is not a typical salesman. He had been a mathematician until he moved to large business. He even has a degree. There are other factors, I suppose, not just Ballmer’s proficiency.

  • SteveYobs

    In the past 20 years, the last thing to interest me that Microsoft made was Visual Studio 6, what’s that saying?  Their OS’s have always been a piece of crap, we aren’t talking about market share, we’re talking quality over quantity, and that’s the difference.  Steve Jobs wanted to make a good product, not money.  Bill Gates wanted to make money, and didn’t really give one half-shit about the product.  Bill Gates builds himself a 60k sq foot home, Steve Jobs lived in a regular home, even though he had billions too.

    And in that stroke, I’ll say windows programmers in general suck, and are an unimaginative bunch, and bless linux and the mac for giving the world something better than that pathetic excuse of an OS we know as winblows.

    And a direct callout, MHazell you’re an idiot, probably some overseas jackoff, just shut your cakehole, you’re useless.

  • Nigelash

    Ford will always outsell BMW, for obvious reasons, but the difference in driving experience in a BMW next to a Ford is significant. 
    If all you want is an appliance to get from A to B you probably won’t care, but if you relish the road you’ll spend the extra cash to make your journeys count.
    If you have no clue what I’m even talking about, you’re a Windows user.

    • Anonymous

      I’m a Linux user and I have no clue what your talking about.

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