updated 08:35 am EST, Fri February 16, 2007
Vista Out of Whack
Microsoft late yesterday surprised analysts by trying to downplay Windows Vista's sales for the next year, according to the New York Times. Although still positive about the ultimate future of his OS, company CEO Steve Ballmer told a meeting of financial experts that many of them hadn't drawn a realistic connection between Vista and PC sales, suggesting that Microsoft would thrive in spite of a sluggish PC business.
"These [predictions] are out of whack," Ballmer complained. "If Vista is growing, there should be a lot of [PC makers] participating."
The executive further added that Vista was mainly a survival exercise, saying that it was primarly a "chance to sustain what revenue we have" in the Windows world rather than the fuel for growth that XP and earlier editions had been. A recent PC sale surge triggered by the software was countered by a similar drop in upgrade copies, suggesting that the Redmond firm had gained in one area only to lose in another.
Ballmer was also gentler in his response to Apple's ads than fellow company leader Bill Gates had been earlier in the month. He was willing to "give credit" to Apple for getting attention through its recent "Get a Mac" ads, though he argued that the OS rival had little to lose through the extra publicity.
"Remember, when you're the little tiny niche guy who owns about 2 percent of the worldwide market, you can be cute one time and it helps you grow."