Ballmer Again

January 8th, 2010

Steve Ballmer on the tablet computer:

This morning, I interviewed Ballmer and asked him about the market for tablet/slate computers. He made the excitement sound like empty chatter. He claimed to believe that there isn’t a sizeable market for the tablet.

“They’re interesting,” he said. “But it’s not like they’re big numbers compared to the total number of smart devices in the world.”

Well, Ballmer’s an expert in the field, isn’t he? Here’s Ballmer three years ago, on the iPhone:

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.

Well, there you go.

It might have something to do with the fact that Ballmer had just attempted to steal Steve Jobs’ thunder by showing off three tablet computers at the CES in Las Vegas, to underwhelming disinterest. Since his presentation was a flop, it has to be because tablets just won’t work at all, right?

Cue Steve Jobs, January 27th.

  1. Troy
    January 10th, 2010 at 08:32 | #1

    1. Netbook replacement (with virtual keyboard)
    2. Digital control center for home automation & remote control (direct touch is better than paging through TV screens with the cable remote)
    3. eReader for all books, magazines, and blogs, past, present, and future. With micropayments hopefully.
    4. Media player for commuters (I could live pretty far from Tokyo if I had a train seat and a tablet — I sit around on the computer for hours a day anyway!)
    5. Useful for treadmill exercise — my iPod Touch is a bit too small, a tablet would be perfect.
    6. Digital textbooks. On-demand purchasing and continual revision of textbooks. Plus the addition of multimedia etc to basic textbooks. Abusable, especially if they put banner ads on every page (!) but I can see a big benefit to this.
    7. Sony PSP / Nintendo DS killer
    8. Video phone (why the hell not)
    9. Video camera

    “Old growth” paper publishers have the content, but not the digital distribution. This is exactly parallel to music before the iTMS.

    The present eReaders are for some reason highly reminiscent of 90s if not 80s technology. Useless for media and games, not multifunction devices.

    Apple has an IMMENSE mobile developer base now and as Ballmer said, it’s all about the developers. developers. developers.

    Apple’s going to the moon with this.

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