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Ballmer outs, teases iPhone user at Microsoft meeting

updated 07:50 am EDT, Fri September 11, 2009

Ballmer mocks using iPhone at Windows meet

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer later on Thursday lightly teased an iPhone owner at a company meeting. According to witnesses that include Twitter anecdotes and a TechFlash reporter, the executive spotted a Windows team member using the Apple device to snap a photo and joked about his using the device before gently putting the phone on the ground and pretending to stomp it before moving on. He later made a similarly joking reference to the event during the presentation.

Events of the sort aren't entirely uncommon at Microsoft, which is known to at times push workers, though not force them, to avoid using Apple products when possible. This includes obvious steps like discouraging Windows Mobile team members from using iPhones but has also included unusual gags such as an iPod amnesty bin for those not using a Zune. Ballmer himself has said he prevents his family from using Apple products at home.

Apple products aren't necessarily restricted at Microsoft outside of the Mac Business Unit. The company's well-known director of programming for Xbox Live, Larry Hryb ("Major Nelson"), regularly uses and talks about his MacBook Pro. Nonetheless, journalist Todd Bishop has ribbed Ballmer for the event and suggested that it's Microsoft's own sluggish Windows Mobile development that led to one of his workers using an iPhone.

"Ballmer might do better in the future by making sure that the employee has good reason to pick a Windows-branded phone over competing devices," Bishop said.

By Electronista Staff


  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002



    they'll have their very own copy of the iPhone so this won't have to happen again.

  1. macjockey

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jun 2004


    what an a**

    what an a**. As a high ranking official Ballmer he should behave a such.

  1. martinX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2008


    I thought MS made software.

    Ballmer, you run a software company. Hows about you make some software for the iPhone.

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2008


    Wasn't Lauren

    Well at least someone at Microsoft is cool enough to own an Apple product!

    I wish Steve could do the same in retort but since most Microsoft products won't work with Macs, I guess that won't happen.

  1. mgehman

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Feb 2001



    Now we can count one more member of the unemployed. While Balmer didn't actually stomp the phone you can bet he stomped the guys job...right out of existence.

  1. Chris Hutcheson

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2000


    Garbage in...

    Of course if you force your employees to use your tired c***, it's pretty hard to visualize anything better. So much for innovation

  1. c. haynes

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2002


    Business? as usual...

    If there ever was a half-a** company it has to be Microsoft. When an exec of MS acts this way what more proof do you need? It may speak to Balmer being as hoodwinked as 85% of the computing world as to the value of his company. Maybe he really believes MS makes anything that can actually compete with Apple. Funny guy, pitiful.

  1. DanielSw

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2009


    Actions speak louder than words

    Ballmer betrays his true mental state with such antics. They're in deep doo doo.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    Blackberry fan I guess

    I guess Balmer is a Blackberry fan...what phone did he expect the employee to have? An android, a Palm....lets, palm, apple, blackberry.....maybe Nokia....can't think of anyone else.

  1. genevish

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jan 1999


    Obvious signs of trouble

    "Ballmer himself has said he prevents his family from using Apple products at home."

    The fact that you have to actively discourage your family from using competing products says a lot about your products.

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