I’ve fixed Nick Wingfield’s headline for The New York Times.
The main problem is that if you had written this post on September 19, 2012, the story would have been that Apple’s stock is up roughly $320 a share — nearly 100 percent — since the day Tim Cook took over as CEO.
Under Ballmer, Microsoft’s stock price has never been higher than when he took over. That was January of 2000 and the stock was around $100 a share. The closest the stock has come to that again under Ballmer was around $50 a share, leading up to the stock split in 2003. Since then, the stock has basically hovered in the $20s a share range for a decade.
In other words, when you point out that Cook’s tenure has seen a collapse of Apple’s stock price, it’s silly not to mention that it was a fall from the unbelievable highs that he also presided over. With Ballmer, he’s presided over a loss of the market value that was run up by his predecessor, Bill Gates.
Anyway, I actually agree with the sub-point — that a stock price is often not as closely tied to financial performance as one might imagine. That has been made very clear with Apple. Instead, it’s largely a game about trying to predict the future. And some now feel that Apple’s future is as bleak as the future people have been predicting for Microsoft for the last 10 years (myself included).
But Apple’s stock crash has a different feel, in my opinion. It feels like hedge funds and other large entities are playing a different game with the most valuable company in the world. And the people who don’t realize that are on the losing side of that game, and will remain there.
John Paczkowski writing for AllThingsD in September of last year:
“One year from now, between Windows phones, Windows tablets and Windows PCs, we’ll see close to … 400 million new devices running those new operating systems,” Ballmer said during the unveiling of Nokia’s new Lumia smartphones this morning. “Those devices running Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 represent the single largest opportunity for software developers today. Four hundred million per year? That is unrivaled. I’ll bet you right now, the next app developer to hit it really big will do so on Windows.”
As Horace Dediu quipped on Twitter yesterday, “Only 320 million to go.”
Steve Ballmer, talking to MIT Technology Review.
Also, read the question — it’s a non-answer.
A lot of gems here. Like:
All new consumer PCs are now Windows 8 based. So in that sense, I would say that here the adoption rate is perfect.
That’s one way to look at it. And:
Oh, I don’t know. Our number one thing is supplying products to consumers. That’s kind of what we do.
So. Many. Quotes.
“Well, you’ve got to remember, 100 million sounds like a pretty small number to me, actually. We’ve got a lot more Office users. And actually if you even want to go to the cloud, we have a lot of Hotmail and SkyDrive users. I’m not beating on Dropbox. They’re a fine little startup and that’s great.”
Steve Ballmer, speaking with Businessweek’s Ashlee Vance on the topic of Dropbox.
I often predict that a comment will come back to bite someone from Microsoft in the ass. But I can say with near certainty that this one will. I mean, what a monumentally stupid thing to say.
What’s the upside here? Goliath beating its chest? Does he think startups will cower at that? Why would they? It’s clear from this statement that Microsoft is either:
> a) arrogant and thus, ripe for disruption
> b) scared shitless of disruption
It’s not clear which is actually worse.
Walt Mossberg, in his BlackBerry 10 review.
I still vividly recall arguing with dozens if not hundreds of people that the iPhone’s touch keyboard was the way forward for everyone, period. Not hearing too much on the topic out of those same people these days…
One of them, you may know.
Steven Sinofsky on the internet figuring out he was using an iPhone:
Moving beyond the gotcha blogs, there’s an actual reason for using technology products and services other than the ones you make (or happen to be made by the company where you work/ed). I think everyone knows that, even a thousand tweets later. The approach in many industries to downplay or even become hostile to the competition are well-documented and studied, and generally conclude that experiencing the competition is a good thing.
Learning from the competition is not just required of all product development folks, but can also be somewhat of a skill worth honing. Let’s look at the ins and outs of using a competitive product.
Obviously you should use a competitive product. You should know what you’re up against when a consumer (or business) ultimately faces a buying decision. They will weigh a wide array of factors and you should be aware of those not only for the purposes of sales and marketing but when you are designing your products.
Sinofsky’s former boss, Steve Ballmer, to Fortune in 2006:
Do you have an iPod?
No, I do not. Nor do my children. My children—in many dimensions they’re as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I’ve got my kids brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod.
“I think everyone knows that…”
All you need to know about CES 2013.
Not sure if Big Bird or Ballmer was better — or all that different.
Steve Ballmer answering a question from a shareholder about Microsoft’s competitiveness against Google and Apple.
I have no idea what this means either.
Steven Burke of CRN spoke to Steve Ballmer after Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto:
“But we are not going to let any piece of this [go uncontested to Apple],” shouted Ballmer. “Not the consumer cloud. Not hardware software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch.
If you have to say it, you’ve probably already lost. If you have to shout it, you almost certainly have.
“We do feel empowered to innovate everywhere and bring our partners with us,” Ballmer said. “We are just not going to leave any — what’s the expression people like to use — We’re not going to leave any stone unturned, so to speak, as we pursue that.”
“What’s the expression people like to use”. This is a weird speech tic Ballmer turns to quite often (and hardly his only one). It almost seems as if he’s using it as a mega billionaire trying to relate to the “common man”, but it comes across as pretty much the opposite. “What’s the expression people like to use” — as opposed to what, donkeys?
It also reminds me of another famous clip of Ballmer speaking. In 2007, when asked about the just-announced iPhone:
“Right now, well let’s take phones for instance. Right now we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year. Apple is selling zero phones a year. In 6 months they’ll have the most expensive phone by far ever on the market place. And… Let’s see — what’s the expression — let’s see how the competition goes.”
“What’s the expression”?
“Let’s see how the competition goes…”
Just to beat a dead horse, after seeing the post noting Apple’s iPhone business now brings in more revenue than all of Microsoft’s businesses combined, Jason Hiner reminded me of Steve Ballmer’s classic 2007 video laughing off the iPhone announcement (above).
To be fair to Ballmer, he does say that selling a $500 fully-subsidized phone is insane, and Apple did end up dropping the price, which has fueled sales. Still, the business argument sounds like something RIM would (and did) make. How’s that working out for them now?
As for “I like our strategy, I like it a lot” — there’s simply no excuse. Windows Mobile was quickly exposed for the turd it was, and Windows Phone, while good, was far too late. But 2007 wasn’t all bad for Ballmer…
Mouth writing checks that body can’t cash?