People Buy Windows PCs, Not Windows, Says Steve Ballmer

Way to drive home the point, Steve! In a bit of a surprise statement, outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer shared some insight into Microsoft’s transition to a devices and services concept.

In an interview with Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, Ballmer explained that nobody ever buys Windows. They buy Windows PCs. And it stands to reason then, that Microsoft clearly needs to go all out on devices and services now — there is no other way.

Ballmer, obviously, is the biggest proponent of this strategy. He, after all, started this major transformation plan to get Microsoft closer to this particular concept.

And while Redmond had already created hardware before (the Xbox, for instance), the fact that Windows is now the very foundation for almost all its products means that Microsoft wants to become a leader in this side of the technology industry:

“One of the things tech companies really do terribly is build new capability. Unfortunately, when the industry changes, if you haven’t built any new capability, you can become less relevant because the thing you were good at becomes less relevant and you didn’t built capability in a new area.”

He also touched upon the direct completion with Apple, and how Microsoft had no choice but to release its very own tablet — the Surface — and in the process becoming a competitor to its partners.

The interview is another insightful read, where Ballmer talks about how Microsoft got into the hardware business in the first place, and why the company must remain in it.