Cringely thinks it’s simply to stop Google getting it:
“Were Google to buy Skype they’d convert those 663 million Skype subscriptions to Google Voice and Gmail and in a swoop make parts of Yahoo and MSN irrelevant. They’d build a brilliant Skype client right into the DNA of Android, draining telco revenue and maybe killing smaller players like Windows Phone. They’d cut deals with equipment makers like Cisco (Linksys) and NetGear and steal voice revenue from telcos and cable companies alike. That’s all Redmondesque behavior and if anyone is going to be behaving that way, Ballmer feels, it had darned well better be Redmond.”
That sounds like a perfectly Redmondian argument to me.
Joe Wilcox, Betanews:
“Ballmer was right not to make any major tablet announcement, showing off something that wasn’t ready. Any zealous tablet push would have led to bloggers, journalists and Wall Street analysts making iPad comparisons. By staying away from Apple and iPad, Ballmer kept the message pure, which is good marketing. Ballmer set the keynote agenda on his terms rather than taking the position of following a competitor. Surely there was temptation, and pressure, to directly respond to iPad. Ballmer showed leadership by waiting.”
Joe is absolutely right. The last thing that Microsoft needed from this year’s CES was another version of the Courier debacle. By focusing on products that it was ready to announce rather than products the pundits think it needs, Ballmer did the right thing – and, of course, copied something straight out of the Apple marketing playbook.
More from the analyst’s meeting with Steve Ballmer:
“Ballmer told analysts there would be a new class of “ultra-thin” PCs” — or high-end netbooks –coming this year that would combine the light weight of netbooks with high-power and high-performance of traditional PCs.
‘When I talk to many of our customers, they say ‘I love the Netbook but can I get one with a bigger screen?” Ballmer said.
Those new ultra-thin PCs, the first of which will be coming later this year and, presumably running Windows 7, won’t be as cheap as $299 or $399 netbooks, Ballmer admitted, but they will combine netbooks’ portability, with some unnamed but higher-sounding prices that will make shareholders, analysts and Microsoft happy.”
I don’t know about you, but I think that someone already makes something rather like that. Maybe it would be better to buy now, rather than wait to see what the other guys come up with?
Via Joe Wilcox, comes this bit of Steve Ballmer’s speech to financial analysts:
“We have low share, by the way, in the investor audience. I can see the Apple logos versus the PC logos. So we have more work to do, more work to do. Our share is lower in this audience than the average audience. But don’t hide it. I’ve already counted them. I have been doing that since we started talking. (Laughter.) Anyway, we’ve got a bank of them right here in the middle. I know where they all are. One over here on the side. But anyway, that’s OK. Feel free as long as you’re using Office to go right on ahead.”
My guess is that the average financial analyst doesn’t spend less than $1,000 on a laptop…
Ian Betteridge on Macs, mobiles, and technology