Steve Ballmer greets the iphone, and other CEO bloopers

Ballmer scorned the iPhone, no Jobs he

Leo dumps HP PCs, Touchpad

More 99c Touchpads coming!

Is Ballmer the big fly in the ointment at Microsoft, a huge company with vast resources that has missed the boat ever since the Cloud appeared – actually ever since the cell phone appeared.

Steve Chen reports that at least one heavyweight investor thinks so.

Here’s the champion quote from the Master of Microsoft, which launched tablets as large and heavy as laptops in the early 2000s and then just sat there as touch screens became available. It concerns the iPhone, when Ballmet encountered it before it launched in 2007:

That is the most expensive phone in the world, and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good e-mail machine,” Ballmer said in a January 2007 interview with CNBC. “I kinda look at that and I say, well, I like our strategy. I like it a lot.

So what are we left with in 2011, as Microsoft’s decline continues? Surpassed by both IBM and Apple now in terms of market value, and the world moving away from desktops and Microsoft’s relatively meaningless “simplification” upgrades of OS’s that shoud have worked better in the first place, nothing much more fruitful than a desktop software company for outdated equipment, the big and heavy desktop PC.

But then Bill Gates never had an original idea in his head that ever went anywhere, ever since he proved his coding genius by running across town and buying DOS to con a big order from IBM. He proved it again with his laughably blindeyed book about the future, The Road Ahead.

The most annoying thing about late stage capitalism as exhibited in the US is that a cheating monopoly appears to be the most profitable enterprise still, just as it was in the robber baron days a century ago.

Even Apple seems to be falling into this mode, as the reliability of its devices – the whole point of its vertical strategy – seems to be declining month by month, judging from the genius lines at the Apple stores.

But no one can gainsay the simpleminded genius of Jobs in demanding his engineers work on his nerd fantasies, which he dreams when faced with a new item like the touch screen.

The really interesting question is, why is a Steve Jobs so rare? Soon we won’t have even one of thm, judging from his sadly spare appearance.

HP runs for dry land

Now we have the new CEO of HP, Leo Apotheker, announcing the shocking news that HP, the king of personal computers in that it sells more than anyone else, is abandoning the kingdom in order to chase IBM and profits in corporate territory. So a new guy comes in from SAP which is a business software company he revamped and decided to revamp HP into a totally different company? Sounds like stupidity to us.

Profits are not there for HP, it seems, as the desktop PC turned into a commodity with dwindling sales numbers as ultraportability reigns. But to write off such a huge investment in so many shiny machines and a leading position seems prima facie a desperate move partillay fueled by lack of faith on one’s staff in the face of Apple’s steamroller, especially when one walks around Best Buy and sees how big HP’s footprint is there.

Well, we could always read the writing on one wall as we tied up the phone lines to the support people and had three visits to fix our own HP desktop, the s3500t with Vista Home Premium, which as a matter of fact we rather like.

But that’s no way for HP to stay in business, having innumerable Phillipino and Indians politely answering your call whenever anything goes wrong, and putting you on hold while they look up the answer in their manual, which they are not often familiar with, and then send a repair guy out to your site with a replacement part after first trying to get you to take the machine cover off and reseat cables and other parts. But the buyer satisfaction was sure tops.

The TouchPad giveaway!

The a second stunner. Not only promising a wholesale retreat from its hard won (expensively paid for with the $1.2 billion CHECK purchase of Compaq) PC kingdom, Apotheker also retreated from the smartphone market and dumped his shiny new Touchpad after only seven weeks of marketing after a year or more of development what was the only potential rival to the iPad, though it couldn’t yet compete on speed, or applications available- 300 compared with 400,000.

Priced the same as the iPad it was bound to go under. But at $99 for 16GB and $149 32GB version, the lines were around the store at Best Buy till the last one left was sold today (Thursday Aug 25).

We snagged a 16GB at 86th St after three hours in a line where we were one ahead of Bill Robinson, an ebullient fellow who claimed to be columnist for Ariana Huffington, as their token conservative. But we could not find him at that vast site.

Update Sep 5: There are reports (stemming from a blog by HP spokesman Mark Bludgell and notified by Nicholas Kolakowski at eweek on Aug 30 atHP TouchPad Revived Zombie-Style for Limited Run) that HP will produce another last run of TouchPads “in a few weeks” to satisfy huge demand for the tablet at these same price levels, though the devise is said to costs $340 to produce. Maybe it sees some kind of future for WebOS after all, thus getting something back oin its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm. Earlier Apotheker did claim to be adding WebOS to all its desktops and computers in 2012.

Keep an eye on Blodgell’s blog at More TouchPads on the Way and on twitter at
Bryna (@BrynaatHP) and Mark (@MarkatHP) for timing.

This entry was posted in Creativity, iPhone, Microsoft, Quotes, Steve Ballmer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Steve Ballmer greets the iphone, and other CEO bloopers

  1. JKJ says:

    Yeah, HP was too kind to their customers, giving them unending support and replacement. WTF, I thought they were setting a good example. Maybe they should charge a tad more for that and make money, with everyone happy. Nothing like good support on PCs that’s for sure.

  2. David Pritchard says:

    The Touchpads are fine if you need only basic stuff, Web, email, calendar (both the latter can be fed by google for offline display) and they can multi task unlike the iPad. But they are slower. Angry Birds is free!

  3. Cumberland says:

    Who knows if these guys are able to see anything at the helm of such large ships? Undercover Boss shows how little they know about the customer level of their businesses, very often.

    But that’s how savvy consumers benefit from such giveaways as the Touchpad for $99!

    Its disappointing when it zooms photos, though – only does it one level, so you cant really show people small details (like the smashed racquet under the chair after one angry female got mad with herself at losing the final point at the US Open I caught the other day). Video it wont even show MOV files, either – you have to translate them to MP4.

  4. Cumberland says:

    Forgot to mention, the iPad doesn’t read Flash, TouchPad does.

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