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Microsoft Businesses Apple

Microsoft CEO Claims iPhone Will Be Bust 463

Posted by Zonk
from the biased-source-just-maybe dept.
Theaetetus writes "In an interview with USA Today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed there is no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. The article also deals with Microsoft's friction with the Justice Department, friction with Google, and the profitability of MSN. 'No chance. It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get. In the case of music, Apple got out early. They were the first to really recognize that you couldn't just think about the device and all the pieces separately. Bravo. Credit that to Steve (Jobs) and Apple. They did a nice job. But it's not like we're at the end of the line of innovation that's going to come in the way people listen to music, watch videos, etc. I'll bet our ads will be less edgy. But my 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we'll get him to own a Zune.'"
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Microsoft CEO Claims iPhone Will Be Bust

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:02PM (#18942003) Journal
    I want to address the market share statement by citing Apple's PC Market share [appleinsider.com]:

    According to research firm Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totaled 57 million units in the first quarter of 2006, representing a 13.1 percent increase over the same period last year. But in that time, Apple's share of the worldwide market slipped from 2.2 percent to a mere 2.0 percent, the firm's data shows.
    Now, that's a pretty low figure. Yet, curiously enough, I know plenty of people who own a mac. But they only own one Mac that does everything and they aren't allowed to use them at work. So, I would posit that it's simply because enterprise businesses aren't used to Macs so they don't use them. That's a large part of the market share. Yet Apple is still very much in the ball game of the personal computer because of the loyalists and their avid love for Macs.

    Not to mention that special "something" that Apple has and Microsoft clearly does not have [slashdot.org]. I don't claim to know what it is--I don't own a Mac--I'm bicurious about OSX and I don't know why ... is it the bash kernel? I'm also curious about the iPhone. Outrageously expensive but it has that special something to it that will intrigue the masses and we will be informed about it despite the fact that maybe only 2% of us actually purchased the device.

    'No chance. It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get. In the case of music, Apple got out early. They were the first to really recognize that you couldn't just think about the device and all the pieces separately. Bravo. Credit that to Steve (Jobs) and Apple. They did a nice job. But it's not like we're at the end of the line of innovation that's going to come in the way people listen to music, watch videos, etc. I'll bet our ads will be less edgy. But my 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we'll get him to own a Zune.'
    Translation:

    It's obviously expensive, that's bad. They will make more money than us ... someway I don't understand. We have a mobile operating system and are fairly successful in pushing it into mobile devices. I'll leave out how much just our software raises the price of a mobile device ... because it's probably pretty significant $50-$100. We dropped the ball on music and we're currently dropping the ball on a billion phone sales by making them more expensive without providing the customer with the strange benefits I don't understand but Steve Jobs thinks is obvious. I'm sure Microsoft will come out ahead here. Oh, and I can't wait until my uncle squirts Tom Dooley by The Kingston Trio all over me. We're smart, we chose to target the old people who buy and return a single piece of fruit and are electronically hip and are retiring as opposed to the foolish spending youths of today--why do you think we colored it brown?!
    The question left out of this interview was whether Ballmer has to lie to himself that he's working for the greatest company on earth every morning when he wakes up or if that lie persists full strength throughout the week.

    If you underestimate your enemies--no matter how big or small--you're going to get burned.
    • by PinkPanther (42194) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:06PM (#18942087)

      I don't know why ... is it the bash kernel?

      No it is not. BSD kernel, bash shell, but not the bash kernel.

      ;-)

    • by wish bot (265150)

      I can't wait until my uncle squirts Tom Dooley by The Kingston Trio all over me
      That is a very unfortunate image.
    • by MrBugSentry (963105) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:18PM (#18942263) Homepage

      Ballmer just defines ball game differently than you do. Lots of love, low sales is success for some. He would (obviously) prefer little love, high sales.

      I suspect that what Mac has is the notion that by buying the 2% solution, you are smarter than us dolts in the 98%. If you can convince your customers that they are a member of an elite, you can sell them anything.

      Well, maybe not an iproduct [gizmodo.com], but close.

      I speak as a former member of the cult who got seduced by the fact that the Windows market is thirty times the size of the Mac market.

      • Has anyone smacked Ballmer yet? He really needs to wake up. And lets face it ... we all just want to smack pompous people.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Drake42 (4074) *
        I had a macbook but it was too damn slow, so I bought a 64 bit, 17inch monster laptop. It had everything, it could play games, have two documents open side by side, it was a beast. I had owned that macbook for almost three years before I gave up on it and bought the PC laptop.

        I handed that PC laptop to the trash bin after only 12 months. I couldn't hot swap the battery. I couldn't tell how full the battery was until the stupid thing had booted. It's case was plastic and broke. It got stuffed with stup
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dal20402 (895630) *

          Your MacBook is almost five years old? Impressive, considering they first came out about a year ago [macworld.com]... Perhaps you meant "iBook."

          Agree with your analysis, though. While I might consider a Win/Lin desktop, I have just not seen laptop offerings competitive with Apple's. The closest in terms of build quality and design is Lenovo, and even their offerings are thicker and uglier (while not offering DVI or FireWire 800). Others may be more feature-complete but are huge, heavy, criminally ugly monstrosities next

        • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @01:29PM (#18943449) Homepage Journal
          "During this time I had given my old macbook to my stay-at-home wife and mother of my three year old. The three year old threw it while the plug was in an horribly bent the chassis. But it still worked. My wife is nursing the baby and it turns out that human breasts can spray that milk quite a distance. My macbook had breast milk spattered all over it and in every crevice. It still worked! The three year old stuffed something into the DVD drive to prevent us getting the disk out. After we finally got the disk extracted, everything continued to work. The laptop is over five years old and has literally been around the work with me. It still works fine."

          Interesting, but, I think you glazed over this whole breast and breast milk thing WAY too quickly.

          Can you describe this in greater detail....any pictures by chance?

          I think we need to take this into MUCH greater account when stress testing laptops, and hardware in general!!

          \ Sure as hell is more interesting than watching 2 gorillas throw samsonite luggage all over a cage, the breast milk-laptop test would be one of the most often watched tv commercials in the world!!

          At least, it would be the most tivo'ed commercial.... :-)

        • by rir (632769) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @01:30PM (#18943461)

          I had owned that macbook for almost three years before I gave up on it
          Can I go for a ride in your time machine too? (You do have one, right?)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by hobo sapiens (893427)
        I dunno, guys. First the Zune, now Vista...This is a man who knows a busted product when he sees one.

        Excuse me while I go throw a chair.
    • Not to mention that special "something" that Apple has and Microsoft clearly does not have. I don't claim to know what it is--I don't own a Mac--I'm bicurious about OSX and I don't know why ... is it the bash kernel?

      From the horse's mouth... [youtube.com]
    • While I don't disagree with most of your assesment (someone already pointed out your kernel naming error), the beginning of the second "translation" is a bit off.

      He's saying that at $500, and that's partially subsidized (payed for by someone other than the consumer), the iPhone costs too much.

      Honestly, I don't think he's wrong on that count.
    • by ElephanTS (624421)
      Mate, if a company I worked for made me a millionaire or a billionaire I'd love it too. I find it amusing these people have all that money but still have to suffer Windows at home.

      As a side note, my Uncle squirted 'Milk and Alcohol' all over me and it wasn't a pretty sight.

      • Believe it or not, some people don't find use of Windows to be 'suffering'.

        I've used plenty of OSes, and prior to FreeBSD, for me and my uses, Windows was the best OS. Everybody has different oppinions, thought processes and tastes, and that's why they make different choices, and why some people don't suffer when using things you don't like.
        • by @madeus (24818) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @01:48PM (#18943767)
          Well, it's true that some people think ITV's Pop Idol (aka American Idol) is better TV than the BBC's Planet Earth.

          I bring that up because, personally, I really do think it has a lot to do being able to appreciate a classy product when you see one, a question of taste (for want of a better way of describing it).

          I'm quite serious and I'm really not trying to be snooty (and I know how this sounds and that it could be mistaken for flamebait) - simply not everyone can do that (they can look at something hideous and think it looks 'fine', they can eat terrible food and notice it's awful, can write terrible documentation and think it's "really clear" (or for that matter, write terrible code and have no idea how hideous and nasty it is).

          I'm with Steve Job's on this one, Microsoft just make crass software. They don't even TRY to get it write until they are embarrsed into doing so, and even when they do the result is half assed (compare the IE7 to Firefox or Safari's - it's not only technically worse than either of those two, but the UI is worse).

          I've used plenty of OSes, and prior to FreeBSD, for me and my uses, Windows was the best OS
          I do kind of wonder about that TBH, Mac OS 6 & 7 where so far ahead of Windows 3.1 from everything from CAD, to software development to even word processing.

          Despite the email address, I'm not a fanboy. There are plenty of technical reasons why I also like Gnome desktop (it's really nice, very flexible, and Nautilus has evolved into a better file manager than the Mac OS's current Finder). I think Windows is a terrible choice though (technically, and artistically) - and only worth using when the software you want to use is only avalible on windows, or if your writing software on it (but then, you are getting what you deserve :-).

          I have a Windows system, but it's purely for games (Apple hardware *still* doesn't support SLI, nor Mac OS a wide range of cards - specifically it doesn't support many high end cards, which is totally put be off getting a mac desktop). Windows is actually pretty good at games though, largely due to optimised drivers from vendors, but DirectX itself is certainly to Microsoft's credit (even if it does mean many developers are less likely to use Open GL).
        • by node 3 (115640) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @01:50PM (#18943797)
          Believe it or not, Mac users, even the most fanatical among us, don't believe that no one likes Windows.

          After all, some people like to be peed on, and, most of the time, using Windows isn't as bad as *that*, so it stands to reason. :-)

          • by @madeus (24818) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @03:47PM (#18945759)

            Believe it or not, Mac users, even the most fanatical among us, don't believe that no one likes Windows.
            Yeah, but it's that guy in the tweed suit, and who wants to hang around with him?! [1]

            [1] That was supposed to be a joke, but I no-so-secretly believe it.[2] :)
            [2] And yes, I'm a big fat nerd with man boobs sitting in an home study full of posters from the Science museum, with not one but two Darth Vaders models, surrounded by a multi processor Sparc system, a server running debian, two Macs (one G4 PPC, one Intel Laptop) and a Windows XP gaming system but in the presence of other nerds I'm positively dynamic :)
        • choices (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @03:05PM (#18945079) Homepage Journal
          You have a valid point. There's another interesting way to look at this issue, however. People's choices affect other people at times and in ways they don't always anticipate or even care about if informed. The classic example is the protective helmet. If you ride your bicycle or motorcycle without a helmet, you are contributing to a social problem (head injuries) which cost me (the taxpayer) money. Eventually somebody (insurance companies and Medicare) get tired of paying for stupidity and persuade Congress (or State Legislatures) change a law to reduce the cost to the society as a whole from individual stupidity.

          If you choose to run Windows that's fine on the level of the individual decision. In theory, I don't care what you run on your PC so long as you and I have access to web sites, can exchange email and photographs, etc. We can be friends and share data freely without even knowing what type of system the other person uses.

          However, I care about the fact that email is very nearly useless now. I care about identity theft. I care about industry and government data which is protected in order to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology.

          How many billions of dollars must be stolen or wasted and how many years must pass before we admit that there are systemic problems with security on Windows which seem to be deeply rooted not solely in hubris as often thought, but also in more subtle philosophy, technology, and methodology choices? These go back decades, and have enabled an enormous industry in identity theft and spamvertising to take root and thrive despite, ahem, entirely new versions of Windows which are, ahem, more secure than ever. Some of these problems can be fixed, and some of them have been substantially mitigated if not outright fixed, for decades, on UNIX. The sad realization that Microsoft apologists refuse to admit is that development methodology and management philosophy affect the security of products produced by the organizations practicing them.

          If software vendors were held liable for the expensive calamities that result from their security defects, would the technology industry collapse? Or would it adjust, and then march steadily on, with a greater emphasis placed on security? I suspect it would not collapse, but I don't have the lobbying dollars t back up my position, and neither does anybody else who shares it (thus far). The recent law suits brought against TJX by banks over stolen credit card data may portend a coming shift in alliances. If the banks turn against the software industry next, we will see a shakeup in political alliances and an eventual fight in Congress over this issue. Until then, the issue will remain the abstract musing of the occasional columnist or security analyst.

          Discussions of botnets in forums like Slashdot often include the idea that individual home users should be held accountable for the security of their home PC. Well, should they really? They didn't sign up for that. Are they held accountable for the global security implications of their refrigerator? No, they are not because there aren't any except for a few highly abstract issues related to the resources it took to build it and the energy it takes to run it. With a home PC the global security implications are complex, but not highly abstract, rather they are quite direct. Your home PC can be used to steal your identity which could be sold to raise funds for terrorism, for example, which is pretty direct. It can be used to attack other hosts or assist with Distributed Denial of Service attacks on hosts or entire networks, which is unambiguously direct: PC -> Shitstorm.

          Quite frankly, the statistics are stark and unforgiving. Windows: roughly 100,000 "known viruses" vs. roughly zero for the Macintosh (margin of error +/- 5 (five)). Twenty percent of home Windows PCs infected vs. roughly zero percent of home Macintosh or Linux systems infected (margin of error +/- 1/100 of 1%). If a relationship bet
    • by MightyYar (622222)
      I don't know about all of that, but he sure sounds like this guy [welovethei...nister.com]:
      "There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by frdmfghtr (603968)
      I find it interesting that Ballmer is projecting that the iPhone will get a bigger chunk of marketshare (2-3%) than Jobs predicted in the MacWorld keynote...didn't he state that the target for iPhone sales was 1% of the cellular market?

      1% of a giant shitload of phones (and there is a GIANT shitload of phones in use today, with over 230 million subscribers [twice.com]; where does Ballmer get the 1.3 billion from, world market?) is still a big number; and sometimes keeping things small and manageable can be more profitab
  • by jonnythan (79727)
    You just absolutely guaranteed that the iPhone will be a huge success.

    Nice going.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Falladir (1026636)
      Are you sure? I mean, it's not like people hate Ballmer enough to sign up for Cingular and put down $500 for iPhones just to spite him, is it?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Are you sure? I mean, it's not like people hate Ballmer enough to sign up for Cingular and put down $500 for iPhones just to spite him, is it?


        Yes! *throws chair* I'm gonna f**king KILL Ballmer!
  • marketing genius (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sir 8ed (207862) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:04PM (#18942033)
    yeah, go for the 85 year old demographic, lots of money in music downloads to be had there.
  • by phasm42 (588479) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:05PM (#18942053)

    But my 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we'll get him to own a Zune.
    What Ballmer is saying is that the Zune's target market is old people.
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:05PM (#18942061) Homepage Journal

    There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It's a $500 subsidized item.

    Excuse me, Mr. Balmer? Subsidized by who or what?

    Maybe Balmer knows something I don't (always possible), but methinks that he needs to go back to CEO school* for lessons on how to pay attention to your competition. In specific, the reason why the iPhone is going to cost $500 is because it's not being subsidized by cell phone contracts. Jobs is trying to change the rules in that respect. Like Nintendo, Apple wants to make a profit off of every hardware unit sold. Any money that comes in through the surplus channels of additional content or features will simply be creme.

    My 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we'll get him to own a Zune.

    I can see how that went: "Here uncle, take this Zune player. It's FREE! That way I can tell everyone that my 85 year old uncle has a Zune, but doesn't want an iPod."

    Uncle: "Have you lost your marbles, sonny-boy!?! What in tarnashun' does your old uncle here need with this Dune player?"

    Balmer: "Zune..."

    Uncle: "Don't interrupt me when I'm talking boy! You think you're so sh'mart with yer fancy electronics company!"

    Balmer: "Technically soft-"

    Uncle: "I said DON'T INTERRUPT ME!"

    Blamer: "Um. Sorry."

    Uncle: "That's better. Now get rid of this piece of junk. Did I ever tell you about the time I was flying over Iwo Jima and ended up in a blazing dogfight? I think it was 1942..."

    Balmer: *sigh*

    Two months later...

    Blamer: "My 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we'll get him to own a Zune."

    Reporter: "Oooooo..."

    * I hear that he didn't finish his Dark Lord training with Jeff Skilling... :P
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anti_Climax (447121)
      I find it hilarious that Ballmer suggests that there's no advantage to selling subsidized hardware (which it may be, but likely not by Apple) when that was SOP for the original XBox

  • The iPhone? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:05PM (#18942065) Homepage Journal
    "No squirting. Less weight than a Zune. Lame."
  • by F34nor (321515) * on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:06PM (#18942077)
    In a shocking news story Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the media that the Zune will be a totaly bust.
    http://www.engadget.com/2006/10/16/steve-jobs-worr ied-about-the-zune-in-a-word-no/ [engadget.com]
  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:06PM (#18942081)
    If you are #1 in your field with a monopoly, you should not be talking about (read advertising) your small competitors.
  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:06PM (#18942093) Journal
    This is a product that hasn't launched yet, hasn't been seen in the wild, and only demo'd under controlled circumstances. Yet we've had his illustrious personage repeatedly [valleywag.com] tell us [youtube.com] that this phone is going to be a bust.

    If it's such a dead-certain bust, why is he constantly mentioning it in the media ? Surely shome mishtake ? The fact is that he's terrified Apple are going to repeat their success with the iPod, and it shows.

    Simon.
    • by john82 (68332)
      Hundreds of drones sit in front of a view screen. Fearless Leader tells them "our enemies shall talk themselves to death ... yadda yadda ... We shall prevail".

      Meanwhile, some athletic chick carrying a hammer is running full tilt boogie towards the screen. She lets fly with her hammer and smashes the screen whilst Dear Leader is in mid-doublespeak.

      Yeah, I think I've seen this one somewhere before.
    • by peragrin (659227)
      Ballmer is just trying Karl Roves trick of saying something enough times so that it becomes true.

      EndlessLies, er sorry Enderle also says the iPhone will suck.

      Of course neither of these men have actually held one in their hands, used it. While I will never own an iPhone that is not because I don't think it's cool, but because I like my tiny phone, with simple menu's that is only good for making phone calls.

      But that's me, the iPhone though does look good though.
    • by kjart (941720) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:38PM (#18942603)

      If it's such a dead-certain bust, why is he constantly mentioning it in the media ? Surely shome mishtake ? The fact is that he's terrified Apple are going to repeat their success with the iPod, and it shows.

      He was specifically asked about the iPhone - I tend to talk about things too when I'm asked about them. Read the rest of the interview - he speaks fairly candidly (if obviously from a biased position) with respect to Office competitors from Google and Open Office.

      In any case, I tend to agree with his analysis, which is that the iPhone wont get a significant marketshare. Most people will not shell out $500 for a phone. He does say that Apple may find the iPhone very profitable (i.e. it will be a high-margin item, for sure, like most Apple products), just that they wont get a huge marketshare.

      • by Dan Ost (415913) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @01:10PM (#18943135)
        Every road warrior I've talked with recently is planning on getting an iPhone.

        Do they care that it's $500? No. And why should they? They're going to expense it anyway.

        Time will tell exactly how big the market for the iPhone is, but if I had to guess,
        I'd say the Apple will do very well.
        • by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @01:32PM (#18943481) Journal
          The thing is, you're both right, and so was Ballmer. In fact, the only thing wrong here is the headline of the /. article. Ballmer is right that Apple won't see the utter dominance in phones that they've gotten with the iPod. But he and you are also correct in that Apple will sell these things as fast as they can make them for a good while, and they'll make bucketloads of cash off of it.

          I guess it's the fault of Microsoft (and maybe IBM before that), that so many people have a hard time calling a company/product successful unless they utterly dominate all of their competitors and basically own the market. In reality, most industries have many competitors, many of which make consistent profit and should certainly be considered successful.

          Anyone looking for Apple to own the cellphone market a few years down the line is going to be very disappointed. No matter how big a splash they make, it's an absolutely huge industry, and the iPhone can only grow so fast. Apple will likely be a significant player, and much like in the computer industry, they'll probably hold some influence well beyond what their market share would indicate. And that'll be good for Apple, hopefully good for the mobile phone industry, and good for people who want iPhones.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by illumin8 (148082)

        Most people will not shell out $500 for a phone. He does say that Apple may find the iPhone very profitable (i.e. it will be a high-margin item, for sure, like most Apple products), just that they wont get a huge marketshare.

        Sure, the first one will cost $500, just like the first iPod did. Do you think people were lining up around the block to pay $500 for a 5GB music player that was about 3 times the size of the current iPod? No, but the early adopters bought them, then the rest of us saw how well the wo

  • A CEO claims his competitor's big product will fail? Incredible!

    Bizarro Steve Ballmer may actually speculate based on logic, and say the iPhone will break sales records, and admits the Zune is a piece of shit that no one will even accept as a free gift. However, back here in the real world, CEOs lie to try and steal the thunder from their competitors' announcements, and to keep their own stock price from sliding.

  • I've noticed Balmer appearing/interview on a number of media outlets recently. USA Today is just the most recent. Two page spread in the middle of Money section. There is normally barly enough content to cover a bathroom trip. First question: is Microsoft buying articles (under the table, big advertiser offers an interview with CEO, business journalist bites)? Second question: Why do they feel the need for publicity now?
  • by hirschma (187820) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:08PM (#18942119)
    Want to bet which brand is more recognizable to consumers after one year - iPhone or Windows Mobile 5/6/7? The figures will be even more skewed on the desirability factor. Let's see - do I want something cool, or do I want something that reminds me of the operating system that I _have to use_ at work/home? I mean, the name is just stupid marketing - Windows (a brand that's as old as dirt, with more than a few dings), 5/6/7 (reinforces the whole "oldness").

    Balmer shouldn't be afraid of the first iPhone. He should be afraid of the first "iPhone NanoMini". He'll be singing a new tune after that.
  • by boxlight (928484) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:11PM (#18942173)
    Ballmer is in total damage control mode.

    He knows the iPhone is going to be big and that it will put pressure on Microsoft's hand-held OS to match it feature for feature; but since MS doesn't not design the hardware, they'll be in tough to compete.

    The hand-held market is the dominant computing platform and Jobs is going after it with a vigor not seen since the first Macintosh came out. Apple has yet to ship a single unit, but already iPhone (and mini OS X) is a top-ranked contender for that market.

    Ballmer is either scared or stupid, plain and simple.

    boxlight

  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:13PM (#18942205)

    I hope he's not saying that windows has 50%, 60% or 70% of the mobile handset market share, because microsoft is not even close.

    Symbian - 72.5%
    Linux - 16.9%
    PalmSource - 2.0%
    Microsoft - 4.6%
    RIM - 3.8%
    Others - 0.2%

    So if he's saying Apple will get 5% of the market share, well they will then have a larger share of the market than MS.

    Silly Ballmer-speak

  • Yeah, let's sell our stuff to 85 year olds, who are statistically already dead, as opposed to the youngin's who have, um, 40-60 buying years ahead of them. Now that's some good CEO-ing there.

    Ballmer, check out how well the "sell to the dead" strategy worked for Cadillac, and who they've been targeting for the last 10 years.
  • 85-year old Uncle (Score:3, Insightful)

    by necro81 (917438) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:16PM (#18942231) Journal
    But my 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we'll get him to own a Zune.

    If his uncle isn't in the market for an iPod, what makes him think that he'll be in the market for a Zune, or any other portable media player? Is his uncle such a discerning consumer that he would notice the differences among the devices? Would he merely own and use a Zune to make his nephew happy? (Note that I don't say "buy" a Zune.)

    I could understand members of the /. crowd being in the market for a portable media player, and strongly ruling out owning an iPod. I doubt, however, that his 85-year old Uncle is that kind of consumer. For him, there's essentially no difference between the two. If he isn't in the market for one, he probably isn't in the market for any.
  • iPod 2.0 (Score:2, Funny)

    by naden (206984)
    No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.
  • by fermion (181285) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:21PM (#18942305) Homepage Journal
    In the MS philosophy, success of a new product is not that it generates a profit, but that it has market share. Just take a look at xbox. Even MSN is more concerned with market share than profit. This is the old we will make in volume what we lose in profit. This business plan is not unreasonable. it is often the case that some product are primarily sold to cover fixed costs. Such products, however, are often the low end or old models, not the high end marquee products. The advisability of such plan also has fallen from grace due to the bankruptcy of some many companies that ascribed to such magical thinking. Apple, fortunately, has generally put forth a more naturalistic bussinees model of selling good products at a a reasonable sustainable profit.

    In any case, given the MS philosophy of socializing the computer market through direct private investment, it is no wonder that radical idea of selling a competative product at a profit does not seem viable. How can Apple possibly imagine that it can survive if it sells a mere hundred thousand phones at a $100 profit, when in fact it should try to ship one million units at little or no profit, or even a $126 loss. Such a loss will be made up in volume.

  • Wow, I can believe how much of his own koolaid Steve has drank. Could anyone get it any less? Does he actually do any good for Microsoft or is he just a figure-head these days?
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:25PM (#18942367)

    Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed there is no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share... 'No chance. It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.
    In other news, Ford's CEO mocked Ferarri: It's a $200,000 item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually look at the 1.3 billion cars that get sold, I'd prefer 60% or 70% or 80% of them to be Fords, than I would to have 2% or 3% which is what Ferarri might get.

    In both cases, a company is completely happy building a niche product, that does its job exceptionally well, that they can be truly proud of, and that they can turn a profit on every single one.

    Apple themselves said they were only going after 1% of the market. 1% of 1.3 billion is still 13 million. If they can turn $50 profit on each and every one of those, they walk away with an extra $650m on their bottom line next year. Not a bad kick in the teeth for the indignity of having to be exactly the market you went for.

    Microsoft has a totally different model. They want global dominance in cell phones because it'll help prop up their model of making the entire world have to use your stuff if they want compatibility and then you can extort money on things like office suites. They'll happily give away their mobile O.S. if it means propping up that model.

    Neither one is particularly wrong per se. They're just two totally different models that, evidently, are successful for both companies. Microsoft turns a profit, Apple turns a profit, yay for both of them.

    But knocking one model for failing to succeed based on the metrics of your model... while totally succeeding on their own model's metrics and turning a profit... that's a little cheap.

    What is interesting is that Apple's own figures were they were aiming for 1% market saturation but Balmer's already referencing 2-3% before it comes out. I'm curious as to whether that's a case of his not getting numbers straight, of Microsoft expecting more success for Apple than Apple's actually banking on, or whether they're just trying to raise the bar now so they can say Apple failed to meet numbers Apple never went for later.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:28PM (#18942411) Homepage Journal
    Quote from Microsoft:

    1989: The GUI will never gain significant market share (And the end user will only ever need 640K of RAM!)
    1994: The Internet is a passing fad and will never gain any significant market share!
    1995: MS BOB Will be a huge market success!
    1997: The DOJ will never convict us of being a monopoly!
    1998: The end user doesn't care about security!
    1999: What's this Linux thing you're talking about?
    2001: What's this Apple thing you're talking about?
    2002: iPod: Less storage than a Nomad and no wireless. Lame.
    2006: iPod: Less storage than a Zune and no wireless. Lame.
    2007: The iPhone will never gain significant market share!

    It would seem that if you want to accurately predict popular technology trends all you have to do is listen to what Microsoft is saying and then predict exactly the opposite!

    • The 640k quote is a total myth [wired.com].

      Even though they were convicted of being a monopoly, they pretty much dodged that bullet.

      Security wasn't as huge of a deal in 1998 for end users on dial-up as it is today, and insofar, Linux has still failed to take off completely. (On the other hand OS X has been very successful)

      (And the iPod/Nomad comments were made [slashdot.org] by our very own CmdrTaco)

      Right now, I personally put the odds of the iPhone being a success at 40/60. Unless they can get the price down, and open it up to oth
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        The 640k quote is a total myth.

        The supposed debunking of the 640k quote is from BillyG himself. If you said something that fucking stupid, wouldn't you deny it, too, if no one had an audio recording of the event?

        The only argument AGAINST the argument I'm making is that when he visited Acorn computer he said "What's a network" and he hasn't denied that. Yet.

  • by Edward Kmett (123105) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:29PM (#18942425) Homepage
    Even if apple grabs 2-3% of the market share, they will be drawing the revenue from both the hardware and software side of the sale. After all, Jobs' state GOAL was only 1% of the market in 2008. So Ballmer is really saying that he thinks Apple will do better than they will publicly admit to thinking.

    Microsoft still doesn't get that Apple operates in a fundamentally different space than they do. Microsoft sells software; Apple sells hardware AND software.

    Its like comparing Mac and PC sales. By controlling the hardware channel, Apple makes a hell of a lot more money per unit sale than Microsoft. Yet because they control both sides of the equation it is very difficult to compare them to pure software companies like Microsoft or to pure hardware companies like Dell. Apple's balance sheet shows net income in the ballpark of HP and Dell, based on revenues a half to a third the size. http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/9E F16A95-278E-40ED-9E00-FBEBD75207FB.html [roughlydrafted.com]

    So, yes, Microsoft would rather have software on 60% or 70% or 80% of the phones out there, just like they would like to have software on 60% or 70% or 80% or 90% of the desktops out there. Apple has a fundamentally different business model.
  • Balmer knows about as much about the iPhone as I do.. that's pratically nothing.

    Windows Mobile STINKS.. its awfal software. I personaly think Symbian is the best mobile software out there right now.

    He made a comment afew weeks ago that it won't support office documents however.. both Symbian and Garnet Palm's actually *do* support it. If they do.. I can't see why Apple's iPhone couldn't also.

    I think they are scared.
  • ...who brought you Windows Me and "Bob."
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:31PM (#18942471) Homepage Journal
    I happen to agree with one point he makes, Apple is late to the party. With the iPod they arrived "fashionably late", well before the party was going, but not until they knew it was going to be a good party. With the iPhone what we have is a big party and another glam-chick pining for attention. She'll attract eyes when she comes through the door but when people realize how shallow of an offering she is they will wait for her younger sister to arrive.

    Talk is cheap, many people love to chime in they will buy one, but I bet they won't. It is a feel good response, makes them feel like part of the "in crowd" while never being obligated to do anything.

    Apple's way late to the big show and their offering is seriously lacking. Wait for the second or THIRD revision of this iphone before jumping
  • by simong (32944) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:32PM (#18942487) Homepage
    Steve -

    Dude, shut up.

    Bill

    Ballmer's job seems to be to cast aspersions on any IT company that might be encroaching on Microsoft's world in the hope that people will pay attention, whereas it just looks like fear and loathing. Cool dance moves though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:34PM (#18942515)
    I cant hear you over the sound of the zune sucking.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:56PM (#18942887)

    Q: Let's broaden this a bit then. What type of future does MSN have? It's in third place, and that's a tough place to be in the search market.

    A: Well, in a way it is and in a way it isn't. Online activity is really quite fractured. Microsoft has the most visitors. Yahoo actually has people spending the most total time with them. And Google makes the most money.

    The real question is what's going on in the commerce and advertising side. That is not very fragmented. Most websites rely on DoubleClick or Google or Yahoo for our stuff to run.

    MSN has the most visitors? Is that because it is the default search for IE when it can't find something? And yet, it has yet to show profit. Google visitors spend the least amount of time yet Google is making the most money. Perhaps the reason is that they are the most efficient. I know when I search using Google, it takes me to the results I want right away and I don't spend a lot of time hunting. If I was an MS investor, I would like to know what MS is doing about the unprofitable divsions like MSN and Xbox which have not shown profits in half a decade.

    Q: People get passionate when Apple comes out with something new -- the iPhone; of course, the iPod. Is that something that you'd want them to feel about Microsoft?

    A: 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.

    The interviewer was talking about Apple's music player and upcoming smart phone, not OS. Different products and markets. In those categories, MS is substantially behind Apple in music players (20% only if you include all MS partners) and even further behind Symbian (4% of the phone market). Face the facts, Ballmer, in ventures other than OS and Office suites, MS is woefully behind others.

    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. It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.

    Funny how he forgets to mention that MS only has a very small market share in cell phone OS. At 5%, Apple would still beat MS in market share. At 2% or 3% it would be half of MS even though MS has been in the market years longer.

    In the case of music, Apple got out early. They were the first to really recognize that you couldn't just think about the device and all the pieces separately. Bravo. Credit that to Steve (Jobs) and Apple. They did a nice job.

    This is rather revisionist history. Apple was not the first MP3 player out there, and they were not the first music store. But they were able to recognize what people really wanted.

    But it's not like we're at the end of the line of innovation that's going to come in the way people listen to music, watch videos, etc. I'll bet our ads will be less edgy. But my 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we'll get him to own a Zune.

    So the first attempt to market the Zune as edgy and cool failed. I've seen the ads and the biggest mistake was the attempt to copy the style of Apple (which MS didn't do very well) without any real substance. With the iPod ads, you understand (1) what the product does, and (2) who is making the product. With the Zune ads, it was a totally mystery as to what was being advertised and who was adverstising.

  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gillbates (106458) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:58PM (#18942939) Homepage Journal

    Motorola's CEO said basically the same thing: it's a niche product, and it doesn't have the backing of the major carriers.

    That's really not the point. Jobs could care less how many of them sell - he's more concerned with testing out the market for unencumbered phones, and hoping that he can create a new market for phones.

    The iPhone is dangerous and disruptive in this respect. If consumers can grow a pair and tell the cellphone companies they'd rather have an unencumbered, standards-based service than a proprietary, locked in, shaft-the-consumer service, then we will see real positive change in the cellphone industry.

    Jobs can do this. Ballmer can't. And that is what scares him and everyone else at Microsoft.

    Maybe it will become another Newton. But it doesn't matter, because Apple can afford the risk, and they stand a fortune to gain by being the first in the unencumbered phone services market.

  • by Lazerf4rt (969888) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @01:31PM (#18943473)

    And Ballmer is right. That "insignificant" 3% market share of 1.3 billion handsets would translate to 39 million iPhones sold. Which translates to $19.5 billion in revenue. With a conservative 20% margin, that's $3.9 billion on the bottom line.

    Isn't that the whole point of running a business?

  • That's SMART phones (Score:3, Interesting)

    by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @01:48PM (#18943773)

    But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.

    ...but iPhone and Windows Mobile aren't competing with the 1.3 billion phones sold. They are competing for the same, relatively small subset of the market representing high-end smartphones with EMAIL and serious web-browsing facilities.

    Now, in the MS corner, we have Windows Mobile. I have a fairly high-end Windows smartphone, and while I like the pwer of the thing, using it can be like kicking a dead whale along a beach. Using it as a music player is particularly excruciating. I would be very reluctant to recommend it to a non techie. Mind you, some basic phones are pretty nasty to use, as well.

    Although nobody has seen an iPhone properly, Apple have a track record and would need to be having a very bad day not to produce something vastly more usable. Its not like XP vs. OSX: personally, ignoring security and reliability, I don't think that there is any clear blue water between OSX and Win2K/XP on the usability front - I actually prefer the XP GUI in some ways - but Windows Mobile feels like a throwback to Windows 2.

    Its not that Apple stuff is perfect - just that it usually gives the impression that it was actually designed by people who gave a damn about the product in a world where many - if not most - other computer and home electronics products seem to have congealed out of a committee process.

    Also - Apple seem to be capable of making "less is more" decisions. Notice that hardly anybody has matched Apple's minimalist design style? Other manufacturers have produced designer-y ranges but the extra buttons, chrome grills, go-faster stripes and blinkenlighten just creep back in - as if the designers are scared that punters will see "less chrome" as "less power". My phone has about a dozen buttons scattered about its periphery PLUS a thumbwheel PLUS a touch screen/stylus PLUS a slide out keyboard - and while you can pretty much do anything using just buttons, just touch-screen or just keyboard, you need a lot of practices and cover-to-cover RTFMing. Usually, you end up using an inefficient combo of all of them (untilyou drop the stylus). Apple have the cojones to say "no - you're not having any buttons or a slide-out keyboard" and, if they put all their efforts into making the touchscreen work really intuitively, they could have a winner that will "grow" the market for powerful smartphones.

    The non-3G thing seems "interesting" though - perhaps it makes sense in the USA but I assume that they don't plan to launch in Europe without 3G or better...

  • by dark-br (473115) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @02:36PM (#18944577) Homepage
    Overall market share numbers capture the vast scale of PC disposability, but do not reflect the product profitability that comes from building a better quality product.

    While Apple is cited by Gartner and IDC as selling around 5% of all the computers in the US, it isn't obvious that Apple's 5% share is the cream of the market; it's actually worth more than the same or larger percentage shares held by rivals.

    There were 9.8 million Macs sold in the last two years, up from 6.2 million in the previous two year period. Those numbers don't compare with the stunning volume of PCs shipped by HP and Dell--which each sold 38 million PCs in 2006 alone--but Apple's profits do.

    In the forth quarter of last year, HP and Dell combined sold 10 times as many PCs as Apple in the US, earned 5.5 times as much revenue as Apple, but together only ended up with 2.2 times as much net income as Apple.

    In other words, Apple earned nearly half as much net income with its 5% share the market as HP and Dell together, with their combined 55% share of the US PC market: $1 billion for Apple vs $2.2 billion for HP and Dell together!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Oswald (235719)
      Yours seems like an honest comment, so I'll point out an honest error in your evaluation. You strip out the most profitable part of the PC when you look only at the hardware makers.

      Apple Computer had net income of just under $2000 million last year. I haven't even bothered to subtract out their iPod business from that number. Microsoft, on the other hand, netted just under $12000 million, including all the money-losing operations they subsidize with Windows and Office. Six times as much, just for the

  • by mattr (78516) <mattr.telebody@com> on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @04:25PM (#18946517) Homepage Journal
    According to a Bloomberg News article [iht.com] I found, the global cellphone market is forecast to grow 12% over the previous year and reach 1.14 billion units in 2007.

    The same article describes how Motorola grabbed 4% more of the market,with Sony Ericcsson the star performer grabbing 8%.

    Sony Ericcsson models (at least the one with music that I wanted to buy) when I looked cost about $500 bucks. These things aren't subsidized either. You pay a chunk up front and then a chunk all along.

    So Ballmer says Apple will grab 2%? Wow. 2% of 1.14 billion is 22.8 million units. At $500 each, that's over 11 billion dollars. Apple's sales for the fiscal year ending Sept. 2006 was [answers.com]$19 billion. So Ballmer says they are going to have *only* this incredible success, whereas if Apple pulls anything at all interesting out of this hat it has a chance at going like Sony Ericcson, which actually has worse design and features than the iPhone?

    That, plus the trend for phones toward full browsers, larger screens and music. Maybe not in the U.S. where people don't spend money and are happy with motorola bricks, but there is a distinct possibility the iPhone could grab market overseas too.

    My forecast is Microsoft needs to start ordering in chairs by the busload.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by simong (32944)
      I'm not sure about overseas sales, haven't been since the announcement. Compared to Nokia's current flagship phone [nokia.co.uk], the N95, the iPhone looks pretty weak. It's possible that things will change before release but while the closed system will help Apple's support overheads it restricts access to logical extensions of the system like Skype and other VoIP systems and Blackberry and Blackberry-style email systems, possibly at the behest of Cingular. My Nokia E61 from T-Mobile does Skype and VoIP over 3G as well

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