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Steve Ballmer: 'we always will be' in a Windows era

updated 01:10 pm EST, Tue November 15, 2011

Microsoft CEO shrugs off threat to Windows

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer during the company's annual shareholder's meeting made the declaration that Windows would never go away. When asked if the company was in a post-PC era, as Apple's late Steve Jobs said, he denied it completely, saying that Windows would always be at the forefront. The expansion of smartphones and tablets was a "fantastic thing," he said, since it only helped Microsoft.

"We are in the Windows era -- we were, we are, and we always will be," Ballmer insisted. "Through the power of Windows, the PC will be a tablet machine, will be a reading machine, will be a note-taking machine."

He also partly sidestepped when asked why people couldn't buy "quality Microsoft tablets" today by holding up a Samsung Windows 8 Developer Preview tablet. Although based on a Series 7 tablet that can be bought in a store, Ballmer was ironically holding up an upgraded device only given out at the Build conference and can't be bought outside of auctions.

The statements followed as Microsoft's core Windows business was largely inanimate, as growth just topped three percent worldwide last summer, according to Gartner, and fell 11 percent in Western Europe. Microsoft has also so far been damaged more than helped by the move to mobile, as it shrank to just 1.5 percent of smartphones and saw Windows tablets' entire lifetime sales eclipsed by the iPad after just nine months.

Ballmer has also traditionally had a history of predicting the opposite of what occurs in the market. He's well-known for having predicted that the iPhone would have "no chance" in the face of Windows Mobile, albeit at a time when it cost a minimum $499. His latest remarks, touching primarily on tablets, came even as last year he had said it was urgent to kill the iPad in recognition that it would likely damage Windows' position in the market, which it ultimately did as netbooks crashed and led to rare successive declines in Windows revenue.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005



    MICROSOFT will always be in the Windows era.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world has moved on.

  1. Camelot

    Mac Elite

    Joined: May 1999


    Go Steve

    Oh Steve, may you stay at the head of Microsoft forever, or at least for as long as it takes MS to be truly irrelevant in the marketplace (so that's just a few more years at the rate you're going).

  1. sribe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2003


    who's "we"

    OK, I get that ***BALLMER*** will always be in the Windows era ;-)

  1. dwoodruff

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2006



    This era is called the downslide. Or perhaps the epilogue.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    I shall always be delusional

    I am a JACKA55.

  1. makemineamac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    His use of the word 'machine'

    when referencing tablet functionality really underscores how hopelessly out of touch this guy is. And he has consistently used it in many, many interviews.

    It is unbelievable to me that he has been allowed to continue as the leader of this company, when, again as noted in the article here, the opposite occurs of whatever he believes will happen. Every time.


  1. agengler

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2010


    Yeah sure

    I've never heard a man so rich and in charge of so much who knows so little about the real world. I hope Microsoft doesn't fire him, it would be fitting justice if he continued in his role.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    There is a Windows era...

    And there is also a timeless era like the Windows era, it's called the bygone era.

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    He's right

    Windows is a government approved monopoly. For those states that sued, they got a nice payoff to keep them happy. As long as Windows is an approved monopoly, MS will always dominate and reap profits every quarter. No matter how many dumb money losing products they release.

  1. syzygi

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008



    What alternate universe is he talking about now?

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