“I think it finally happened. We’d all been expecting it for a while now, but not quite so suddenly or emphatically: Steve Ballmer has gone completely insane,” Robert X. Cringely writes for Infoworld.
MS is early to the mobile market? Has Ballmer been right about anything in the market the last few years? His view of the iPad was way off. Apple hardware market share is increasing, currently up to 10%. Without counting iPads, which Ballmer says should be counted. Apple shipped 3.3 million iPads in the third quarter. Including them would have put Apple well above 10% of the market. Now MS is busily scrambling to keep up.
It is a hoot to go back and read his prognostications from years past. Just on the iPhone. From 2007:
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.
Also from 2007:
“[Apple’s iPhone] is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard which makes it not a very good email machine…”
“The real market momentum with operators and the real market momentum with device manufacturers seems to primarily be with Windows Mobile and Android.”
Also in 2009:
“Let’s face it, the Internet was designed for the PC. The Internet is not designed for the iPhone,” Ballmer told the AP’s Jessica Mintz. “That’s why they’ve got 75,000 applications — they’re all trying to make the Internet look decent on the iPhone.”
In 2008, he said that only Symbian, Linux and MIcrosoft were positioned to meet the meeds of cell phone makers.
In 2010, Apple market share for smartphones was at 14% and rising. MS was at 5% and dropping. Symbian is down 10% year over year and Linux is down to 2.4%. Only Google and Apple have cellphone OSes that gained market share.
I wonder how well this goes over with the investors who have watched MS’s share of the mobile market simply die over the last 3 years or watched Apple take over a segment of the market with iPads that MS had tried to drive for 6 years. A year ago he was previewing Windows Mobile 6.5, which is now orphaned a year later for their new OS, Windows 7 Phone, which has all the features the iPhone had 3 years ago.
When a CEO is that disconnected with reality, it usually means they are not long for their position.