Who do you know that loves Microsoft? Surely there are plenty of detractors and proponents of the Windows maker.
Who loves Microsoft so much that reality is truly distorted? Guess. Bill Gates? I think you’d be wrong.
The public hasn’t heard much from Bill Gates in the past two years, but we’ve heard plenty from his CEO successor.
Microsoft’s head honcho, Steve Ballmer, is the ultimate cheerleader, despite the company’s ongoing woes. Woes? What could possibly be wrong with a company that has so much money, is so profitable, and has such a huge market share?
Good question. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide use Microsoft’s products; from Windows to servers to developer tools to game boxes, and now music players.
Do Microsoft’s customers carry the same passion and loyalty for the company’s products as Apple? That’s another good question.
On the surface, I’d argue an unqualified “no” but if we add up all those worldwide who swear by Microsoft’s products, the numer may likely exceed all those who love Apple, the Mac, the iPod. See the problem? Success has different definitions.
Microsoft decided to counter Apple’s success in the portable music field with the no-quite-so-popular Zune; available in white, black, and brown.
It can’t be that the company needs the money. It can’t be that the company needs even more bad press (the Zune has gathered plenty in just weeks).
So, why does Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer smile so much? Why does he seem so supremely confident in public interviews? Good question.
Maybe it’s easier to smile when you’re richer than God, and few men on the planet are richer than Steve Ballmer.
ZDNet has an online interview with Ballmer regarding Windows Vista, the Zune player, and Microsoft in general.
Ballmer’s answers to ZDNet questions do not indicate a Microsoft struggling to re-define itself.
There’s the usual talk of resources, development, blah, blah, blah. Page 3 of the interview gets down to the nitty gritty. Apple. iPod. iPhone.
Parts of the interview make it sound as if Microsoft sees a bigger market in cell phones than in PCs.
So, there’s a market opportunity for Microsoft that dwarfs that of portable music players. Cell phones. Microsoft is already there. Apple is not.
Does Ballmer think Apple can repeat iPod success in other markets? Does he think Microsoft can take on a resurging market leader in portable music? Will there be a Zune “halo effect?”
Hmmm. What’s wrong with this picture? Ballmer’s responses appear to be pragmatic, straightforward, reasonable. So, why is this man smiling?