Steve Ballmer, 2007:
Right now we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year. Apple is selling zero phones a year.
Steve Ballmer, a few months later:
It’s sort of a funny question. Would I trade 96% of the market for 4% of the market? (Laughter.) I want to have products that appeal to everybody.
Now we’ll get a chance to go through this again in phones and music players. There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.
Steve Ballmer, yesterday:
Mobile devices. We have almost no share.
I think we can probably do better for consumer names than ‘Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020. Yet, because of where both companies are and the independent nature of the businesses, we haven’t been able to shorten that. … Now, we can simplify the overall consumer branding and messaging gets much simpler. That is an efficiency of being one company.
Steve Ballmer, speaking during a conference call on the Nokia deal this morning.
I mean, he actually said this — while typing on his Microsoft Surface RT with Windows RT featuring Office 2011 Pro Plus with Microsoft Live SkyDrive for Enterprise Workgroups using Azure for the Cloud 2013 Bing Edition 7.43 and a Touch Cover.
I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista.
That’s why I think death is the most wonderful invention of life. It purges the system of these old models that are obsolete. I think that’s one of Apple’s challenges, really. When two young people walk in with the next thing, are we going to embrace it and say this is fantastic? Are you going to be willing to drop our models, or are we going to explain it away? I think we’ll do better, because we’re completely aware of it and we make it a priority.
Steve Jobs, in an interview with Playboy in February of 1985 (as recalled by The Next Web).
I love this quote in the context of the recent changes atop Microsoft. Steve Ballmer spent too much energy guarding old models, and too little embracing news ones while explaining them away.
Steve Jobs, by the way, was just 30 years old when he said this. He was still one of the “young people”.