Microsoft vs. everybody else: The quotable Kevin Turner

Microsoft’s chief operating officer, Kevin Turner, was in rare form Wednesday at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles — delivering zinger after zinger about Microsoft’s rivals, including Google, Salesforce.com, VMware, Apple and others.

We’ve collected a few of the best quotes below, gleaned from the webcast and the transcript. Here’s an audio clip of selected highlights, as well.

Keep in mind that a major purpose of this conference is to energize Microsoft’s network of partners, and Turner’s rhetorical fuel of choice is hyperbole. But as a glimpse into Microsoft’s competitive mindset, it’s revealing — and also pretty entertaining, if taken with a huge grain of salt.

For example, Turner at one point showed this slide, citing Apple’s “ecosystem divide.”

“When I talk about that Apple ecosystem, the ability to get one application to run across those five platforms is very difficult,” he said. “In the future of Microsoft using HTML5, IE9 and 10, the scalable OS, the ability to do that gets much, much easier. And so having that vision to take us to a unified ecosystem with consistently connected user experiences is really, really strategic for us.”

That may be where Microsoft is headed with the future release of Windows 8 and other products. But keep in mind that this is a company with a music device, Zune, with apps that aren’t compatible with its Windows Phone operating system.

Other comments by Turner on the company’s competition:

  • “There are no happy Siebel customers in the world, you all know that. And we can go win every single one of those. But now we’ve got this humongous pacifier to stick in the mouth of Marc Benioff called Dynamics CRM Online. Which is a really, really beautiful thing for us, for both partners and Microsoft.” (See this post by CNet’s Jay Greene for the Salesforce.com CEO’s response.)
  • “It’s so exciting to be able to talk about Office 365. I can only describe what Office 365 is in sort of two words. You could say technically it’s three words. But Office 365, ladies and gentlemen, is nothing but a Google butt-kicker, that’s all it is.”
  • “This is a company (Google) that has a mission statement that they have to remind themselves not to do evil, right?”

There was also some news that emerged from the event, with Turner saying that Microsoft plans to accelerate its retail expansion, opening as many as 75 more stores over the next two to three years.

  • Anonymous

    He’s still employed there? Huh. That actually explains a lot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kmorrill Kevin Morrill

    It’s funny because MS has a reputation for gobbling up then spitting out senior execs that come from outside the company.  Turner has lasted at least 5 years.  Another 5 and he might set a record ;-)

    • Anonymous

      That’s a good point. For anyone who’s not aware of his background, Turner is a Wal-Mart veteran who was the CEO of Sam’s Club before coming to Microsoft.

      • Guest

        Yeah, thanks to him Microsoft is the Wal-Mart of the tech industry – sells cheap and cheesy products to the lower class of the population. Oh, and by the way treats employees the same as in Wal-Mart :D

        • cheapskate

          I like Walmart. (perhaps I’m of the lower class of “the” population). Microsoft, not so much.

        • Dave

          Tuner doesn’t set product strategy. And your generalization about Walmart customers simply makes you look stupid and elitist.

  • Guest

    Apple always slag’s and makes fun of Microsoft nobody complains about that, about time Microsoft gets aggressive.

    • Guest

      The difference is that Apple normally backs it up with results, whereas with MS it’s usually just bluster.  

  • Guest

    Kevin Turner and Steve Ballmer are truly the heavyweight tag-team champions of the world!

    • Guest

      More like dumb and dumber.

  • TechGeek

     Well Google may have to remind itself once in a while true.  Of course, what was Microsoft”s mantra?  Oh yeah, screw the world. 

    • Joe

      Exactly, Microsoft never made any attempt to “do no evil”, they do it on a daily basis and have done so for 25+ years.

      • Guest

        I like that. Microsoft’s adherence to her corporate mission is more admirable than is Google’s feeble-minded attempts to compete in areas about which it has no knowledge.

        At the rate Google is going, I expect the “Google Store,” an imitation of the Microsoft Store, to open in 2016.

        • Rev Eggplant

          I remember when Gateway opened its line of stores around the U.S. and other countries back in the late 90s, early 00s. They lasted approximately 3 years after which time, the company closed up all of those stores and then went quietly into the background. Could M$ be telegraphing coming poverty  soon?

        • Daniel Sydnes

          Taken in context of the story, this comment made me fall out of my chair laughing.

          Microsoft has literally hundreds of examples of poor execution in unfamiliar technology spaces, most of which suffer from identity crises…

          HoTMaiL / Hotmail / MSN Hotmail / Windows Live Hotmail

          MSN Search / Windows Live Search / Live Search / Bing

          MSN Earth / Windows Live Local / Windows Live Maps / Live Search Maps / Bing Maps

          Farecast.com / Windows Live Search Farecast / Bing Travel (All after divesting Expedia!)

          Windows CE / Windows Mobile / Windows Phone 7

          Don’t forget the bungled Danger acquisition in 2008 that was supposed to re-energize Microsoft’s mobile offerings.  By October 2009, most of the ex-Danger employees had left.  Matias Duarte, Director of Design, left for Google’s Android division.

      • Guest

        The 90′s called and said they’d appreciate if you’d leave their decade now.

    • Techtwit

      Yeah, a lot of us reading this and replying on a PC, thanks in part to MS, really got hosed.

  • Victor

    Chest thumping all you want, the simple fact is this, the technology pie is getting bigger all the time, yet Microsoft is getting a smaller and smaller piece of that pie. 

  • culturalcapitalism

    Kevin Turner is Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft in a nutshell: Walmart on the inside, fancy tech on the outside. wo.   

  • seandr

    So Microsoft is now run by a guy from Proctor and Gamble and another guy from Walmart? Hard to believe they are stuck playing a perpetual game of “catch up” with their competition.

  • Daniel Sydnes

    Mr. Turner should remember his audience — Microsoft partners.  The same folks who have suffered bone-jarring, backwards-incompatible platform shifts in Windows, Windows Mobile, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft CRM.  The same folks who have to cope with the hot mess of acquisitions that represent Microsoft’s accounting offerings — Axapta, Concorde C5, Great Plains, Navision, Office Accounting, and Solomon IV.

    Likewise, Turner’s concern about Apple’s inability to unify iOS and OS X is misplaced.  That task is a minor headache compared to the ongoing train wreck of developing packages for Microsoft’s incompatible and divergent operating system offerings (e.g., Windows Mobile vs. Windows Phone 7 vs. Windows XP vs. Windows 7 vs. Windows Embedded vs. dozens of others).

    • BrentW

      WM and CRM I can see. But bone jarring backwards incompatible platform shifts in Windows and Office? Compared to what? One thing MS has done a very good job of with those two product families is backward compatability. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s far better than most.

      • Daniel Sydnes

        Perhaps you are thinking of document compatibility.  I’m referring to API compatibility.  I’ve written dozens of add-ins and extensions for Outlook, Word and Excel.  Each of them had to be reworked as Office updated versions (95, 97, 2000, XP, 2003 — I gave up after that).  Or the hundreds of applications I’ve written in Access, which are pretty much locked to a single version of the application since the API changes willy-nilly.

        Compared to what?  How about OpenOffice?  The three extensions I’ve written for it work without modification through four major revisions of the software.  Or compare Access to FileMaker Pro.  The applications I’ve written in it worked without modification (except for file format upgrade) from version 4 through 8.5.  They make work in version 11 — I don’t know because I no longer work on those projects.

        As I wrote before, Mr. Turner’s audience was MS partners and developers.  The very folks who extend and integrate the frameworks that Microsoft creates.  Perhaps the business models of ISVs and consultants are based on a steady income of labor-intensive upgrades.  That certainly isn’t the case for SMBs and enterprises who choose to deploy the technology.  Nor end users, who must face radically (and arguably pointless) redesigned UIs, missing functionality, and broken code.

      • Daniel Sydnes

        Perhaps you are thinking of document compatibility.  I’m referring to API compatibility.  I’ve written dozens of add-ins and extensions for Outlook, Word and Excel.  Each of them had to be reworked as Office updated versions (95, 97, 2000, XP, 2003 — I gave up after that).  Or the hundreds of applications I’ve written in Access, which are pretty much locked to a single version of the application since the API changes willy-nilly.

        Compared to what?  How about OpenOffice?  The three extensions I’ve written for it work without modification through four major revisions of the software.  Or compare Access to FileMaker Pro.  The applications I’ve written in it worked without modification (except for file format upgrade) from version 4 through 8.5.  They make work in version 11 — I don’t know because I no longer work on those projects.

        As I wrote before, Mr. Turner’s audience was MS partners and developers.  The very folks who extend and integrate the frameworks that Microsoft creates.  Perhaps the business models of ISVs and consultants are based on a steady income of labor-intensive upgrades.  That certainly isn’t the case for SMBs and enterprises who choose to deploy the technology.  Nor end users, who must face radically (and arguably pointless) redesigned UIs, missing functionality, and broken code.

        • Daniel Sydnes

          Ooops.  I forgot the obvious case, since Mr. Turner was being the drum for hosted CRM — Salesforce.  My colleagues & I have written numerous applications Apps for it.  Most work without revision as the platform upgrades.

          Consider also Joel Spolsky (Program Manager on the MS Excel team between 1991 and 1994, Fog Creek Software, Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange):

          How Microsoft Lost the API War (Sunday, June 13, 2004)
          http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/APIWar.html

    • BrentW

      WM and CRM I can see. But bone jarring backwards incompatible platform shifts in Windows and Office? Compared to what? One thing MS has done a very good job of with those two product families is backward compatability. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s far better than most.

  • PrettyFarNorth

    I would like to see Kevin make it in a much smaller company, one that cannot absorb the mistakes, the meanness,  and blowhard antics.