I just read a great article in Forbes where they interview Steve Ballmer.

It’s a pretty nuanced and balanced portrayal of the CEO of Microsoft.

Some choice quotes:

Will Microsoft be disrupted? I don’t know.  So far we’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding it.  It doesn’t mean we’ve done a perfect job, doesn’t mean there aren’t things of which I’d say, gosh, I wish we had invented that or we were first to this or that or the other thing. But nonetheless we’ve done a pretty amazing job.

The one thing that I think separates Microsoft from a lot of other people is we make bold bets.  We’re persistent about them, but we make them.  A lot of people won’t make a bold bet.  A bold bet doesn’t assure you of winning, but if you make no bold bets you can’t continue to succeed.  Our industry doesn’t allow you to rest on your laurels forever.  I mean, you can milk any great idea.  Any idea that turns out to be truly great can be harvested for tens of years.  On the other hand, if you want to continue to be great, you’ve got to bet on new things, big, bold bets.  It’s in our value statement; you go to our website.

And you’ve got to be patient.  I think our patience and the fact that we make bold bets is well understood: Xbox, Bing. Our patience with those bets I think is starting to show some real return in terms of great products.

and he throws in the standard Bing hype:

I don’t know if that was a compliment or not, but nonetheless most most big companies either don’t have the gumption or the resources to make a big bet.  We made a big bet on Xbox and I’m glad we did.  We made a big bet on Bing, I’m glad we did. Bing hasn’t derived full financial return, but man, we have a product that delivers more relevant results than Google, and is more differentiated for social and for our Facebook partnership, than anything out there.

I love what we’re doing with Windows 8, and it’s a bold bet.  We’re reimagining our number one product. That’s cool. But it’s not for the fainthearted.  It takes a certain boldness and a certain persistence.

He also clarifies their stance on the Microsoft Surface:

With Surface we’re not opening up new ground in terms of having hardware capability.  What we wanted to make sure was that no stone is left unturned in terms of really showing Windows 8 in its most innovative form. With Windows 8 you can get a tablet and a PC in a single package, and I think Surface probably proves that as well as anything.

Our goal is not to compete with hardware partners. The bulk of our Windows volume is going to come from our hardware partners.

The Microsoft Surface statement is interesting.

He makes it sound like Surface is just a reference device that will be one of many devices out there that will run Windows RT. To his credit, that’s a pretty unequivocal clarification but I’m still not sure that I buy it.

It still begs the question, what happens if consumers flock to the Surface at the expense of other OEM’s? Will Microsoft slow down supply to encourage consumers to look elsewhere?

I think not. Time will tell…


About the Author

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of EyeOnWindows.com, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. (www.learnabouttheweb.com) and The Redmond Cloud (https://www.theredmondcloud.com).

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  • sarveshmotihari

    Bing hasn’t derived full financial return, but man, we have a product that delivers more relevant results than Google

    Oh..I love this statement… 🙂

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      It’s pretty funny eh?

  • http://twitter.com/Tech_Gone_Wild Ezekiel Carsella

    i use bing but sadly it does not show my own blog no matter how relevant the searches are to tags.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      What’s your blog URL?

  • Robert Kegel

    Surface is only going to be sold online and in Microsoft Stores. Its going to be more like the first Android phone that was just sold in T-Mobile stores and online. I don’t think many people are going to really know about it unless Microsoft really advertises it. I think this is Microsofts way of letting OEM’s have their chance. Now if they fail to make good Windows RT, 8 and Phone products MAYBE they’ll start selling Surface at Best Buy and other retailers and IF it sells well then MAYBE they’ll make more of their own hardware. So until Surface is sold in stores other than Microsoft Stores, its not a real threat to OEM’s.

    Right now I still say Surface is the line in the sand. It may be a threatening line saying “build something good or we will”, but its still only a line. Microsoft is being very deliberate not to cross it, not to say anything that will hurt its relationships with OEM’s.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Sounds good as a theory…

      • Robert Kegel

        We both have theories, one is going to be right.

  • timiteh

    If customers flock to Surface, it will just mean that OEM are unable to produce better and/or more appealing products than Surface. Then Surface would be a safeguard to prevent complete failure of Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets. This said, i think that either Nokia or Asus has the potential to come with better/more appealing devices. Nokia could design an E7 like tablet that i would be eager to buy even if i don’t especially like tablets.

  • sarveshmotihari

    Just launched my new website:


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