Ballmer Bollocks

Good Ballmer quote catch:

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.

Do Ballmer’s kids sneak a few furtive Google searches when Steve’s not looking? Inquiring minds want to know.

More seriously (and as Barry points out), and without reading overly much into Ballmer’s glib comment, it is typical of Microsoft that it would find no embarassment in using edicts to dictate product use. It is, of course, reminiscent of certain declining North American auto makers that demand employees only drive their cars to work.

[via Barry Ritholtz]

[Update] Robert Scoble points out in a comment to this post that his son is a well-known Apple nut, and that Scoble pere has neither been fired nor derided for Scoble fils crime. A fair point. Mind you, Scoble saying that his son uses Apple gear doesn’t carry the same weight as Ballmer (joking) that his kids don’t, but if I’m going to engage in selective empricism I might as well be selective in both directions.


  1. fartikus says:

    so much “sad” news about msft these days. i also hear that ballmer may try to go the sco route and “sue linux”. software no one wants or needs can’t even get released on time. online services that go heavy on eye candy and soft on features people really want. a stock price that is encased in a block of ice. and how long can that last? msft is over, its a bear trying to compete with a swarm of bees….is it apple or google that is kicking its ass today? depends on the weather.

  2. Franklin Stubbs says:

    What a fascinating look into Bad Boy Ballmer’s psyche. That quote is so ham-fisted, so obtusely close-minded, one would think he almost has to be joking. But even a joke about brainwashing one’s kids is not all that funny.
    If he were confident in the future of Microsoft, he could have been relaxed and honest, saying something like: “Sure my kids have iPods, and they use Google too. But you know what? When Microsoft comes out with better versions of both, they will switch in a heartbeat. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
    Would have made for much better press, and the honesty would have been refreshing. Do these guys have no PR sense whatsoever?

  3. gavin macleod says:

    Oh give me a f**ing break. You can fault Microsoft on many things but using edicts to dictate use or even something along those themes in their genetic makeup is so far from the truth. They have to be one of the most open companies I have ever known in that regard. It’s called a joke people.

  4. That’s a great analogy, Paul. I wonder when Mister Softee will start with the “no money down” zero-interest rate financing :-)

  5. I work for Microsoft. My son is a famous Apple freak. Here’s a picture of him:
    Have I gotten fired? Derided? No.
    When we have a product that my son finds to be better than his iPod, he’ll let you know.

  6. Fair comment, Robert. I have updated my post to add some selective empiricism to both sides.

  7. Ballmer’s comment goes well with the comment he made late last year that he doesn’t read blogs.

  8. Scoble is a PR flack wearing blogger’s robes. Only he is becoming increasingly transparent one. (thats a good thing)
    No one said MSFT would fire you for buying an iPod — Paul’s reference was to the closed minded, not invented here, insular quality at Microsoft.
    Not surprisingly, that was spun into “Fired? Who’s getting fired?”
    A spinmeister is a spinmeister is a spinmeister. I don’t mind spin, but lets not pretend its anything other than that.
    : terminate line :

  9. When did this site and the commenters become so petty?

  10. The post is petty.

  11. Far be it from me to disavoy pettiness, but pointing out, with appropriate caveats, Steve Ballmer’s blithely close-minded comment about two competitors’ market-leading technologies is hardly petty.
    Mind you, pettiness does have its place, so when I decide to truly be petty then, helpful fellow that I am, I’ll be sure to label it as such.

  12. Franklin Stubbs says:

    You want Petty, here’s Petty: “Freee Falllinnn..”
    Just kidding, here’s real deal Petty for ya: how do we know that picture of the “Macintosh kid” wasn’t a Scoble PR plant. It’s dated 3.27.06 but how hard is it to rush to the local apple store, buy some gear, and back-date a post… asinine theory I know, but no more asinine than ditching on a technology blog for commenting on a CEO’s comment made to the business press.
    Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones…

  13. Franklin: saying that Tara Hunt might be a Microsoft PR plant made me laugh my Diet Pepsi right out of my nose! Please warn me before you do that, OK? :-)