Ballmer: Google has taken a failed approach so far to tablets

Steve Ballmer has never been shy to take a swipe at the competition. Besides, isn't that what the CEO of a billion dollar corporation is supposed to do? When it comes to tablets, Ballmer is blasting Google for its failed approach so far, but did state that Apple's strategy has been successful.

The quote comes from the WSJ who spoke to Ballmer about several issues. The article states, "Google 'has taken a failed approach so far' to tablets, while also acknowledging that Apple's strategy with the iPad has been successful." Microsoft has yet to unveil its tablet strategy, but rumors have suggested that it may be shown off at the D9 conference.

Ironically, Microsoft has already played in the tablet market for some time but was never able to gain mass consumer adoption in the way that Apple capitalized the market. What their strategy for Windows 8 tablets will be remains to be seen, and more so, if it will be successful. 

Unlike the previous comments by Ballmer about Windows 8, there is little chance that it will be retracted. Ballmer has also recently come under fire by a popular hedge fund manager who is asking that Ballmer resign after years of stagnant stock prices.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

OnLive to get exclusive on Red Faction Armageddon PC demo

Next Story

Diablo III web update talks about runestones

80 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Nice attempt at explaining away MS absence in this market, and please don't point to the previous slew of failed MS tablet devices as relevant. If anyone cared about those devices this post would not exist.

I haven't been impressed with any Android tablet. A grid of icons when you can do what you do on your phone but bigger is not too attractive. Microsoft has always being about productivity, therefore, a device the size of a tablet that only serves the purpose of reading or consuming doesn't make any sense to them, or to me. If I am going to carry yet another portable device, it needs to serve a purpose that my other devices can't do better or more conveniently. So a tablet serves no purpose for music, or personal assistant, or communicator because I have all that in my phone. Nor can I use it for document creation or productivity; even a netbook is better for this. So far, a tablet is only a reader. I think Microsoft will try to make tablets productive, like the Courier concept, which was a productivity device that allows you create stuff more freely than in a computer.

Charles Keledjian said,
Nor can I use it for document creation or productivity; even a netbook is better for this. So far, a tablet is only a reader. I think Microsoft will try to make tablets productive, like the Courier concept, which was a productivity device that allows you create stuff more freely than in a computer.

Haha, you sir need to stop drinking the Microsoft Kool-Aid. Someone obviously didn't know about Google Docs.

You obviously are holding out for the Windows Fail Tablet. Enjoy it when it is released.

IMHO i think andriod has become abit of a slut, just going around with everything and anything which allows it to boot on... Thats going to be its greatest demise i think...

Windows at least put in some guidelines for their devices these days

brent3000 said,
IMHO i think andriod has become abit of a slut, just going around with everything and anything which allows it to boot on... Thats going to be its greatest demise i think...

Windows at least put in some guidelines for their devices these days

Gotta love ignorance. Umm you do know that Android is Open Source? So manufactures can put it on a microwave if they wanted to. Why do you think Google didn't release the source code for Honeycomb? They didn't want manufactures putting it on phones (it's meant for tablets at this point).

IMHO, Windows Phone 7 is doomed. For cryin out loud Windows Mobile outsold WP7 in the first quarter of this year (and that's not saying much) FAIL!

thornz0 said,
...ballmer is a nutcase. Way to cancel the Courier Microsoft, Fail!

Considering tablet component supply shortfalls, there's no way in hell they could have ever produced the Courier at a competitive price point.

As ironic as it is....he has a point, and what's worse for Google is that it's not even all their fault. With smartphones, while there were Android phones already out such as the G1 and MyTouch 3G, Google never really pushed Android until they felt it was ready (2.0/2.1/DROID). With tablets, Google lost the ability to do this when Samsung and other OEMs started to release Android tablets long before Android was anywhere near ready for them (Froyo makes a terrible tablet OS). This caused Google to rush out Honeycomb, which caused its own set of problems and may have only served to hurt Android tablet adoption more.

Baller always attacks the main competition.
How about Google search vs bing?
Android on phones vs WP7?
Gmail vs hotmail?
Microsoft doesn't even compete against Google. Hence why he choose the only thing Google isn't successful at, yet.
Go work on you company Mr. Ballmer.

+1 and honeycomb is still in early stage..but obviously it is already in the right direction and a better OS than iOS (without relying on apps) and better than yet non-existant MSFT's tablet OS

mr.r9 said,
Baller always attacks the main competition.
How about Google search vs bing?
Android on phones vs WP7?
Gmail vs hotmail?
Microsoft doesn't even compete against Google. Hence why he choose the only thing Google isn't successful at, yet.
Go work on you company Mr. Ballmer.

Hotmail is actually more successful than Gmail.

Microsoft webmail properties: 256.2 million users
Yahoo: 254.6 million users
Google: 91.6 million users
AOL webmail properties: 48.9 million users

http://www.email-marketing-rep...etrics/email-statistics.htm

Just keeping it real from a guy that loves Google.

UndergroundWire said,
I love my Xoom. I hate my Windows Tablet. Oh wait, a Windows Tablet doesn't exist.

good greif, yes windows tablets do exist.... they have been around since 2002 in slate format... everyone just refuses to believe that MS had a tablet design 9 years ago for some reason

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

good greif, yes windows tablets do exist.... they have been around since 2002 in slate format... everyone just refuses to believe that MS had a tablet design 9 years ago for some reason

A real tablet with a TOUCH FRIENDLY OS is quite a bit different than a keyboard-less laptop.

MS Lose32 said,
A real tablet with a TOUCH FRIENDLY OS is quite a bit different than a keyboard-less laptop.
Because touch friendly hardware was cheap to make in 2003....

Xerax said,
Because touch friendly hardware was cheap to make in 2003....
Um, how does the price of hardware have anything to do with MS's ability to make the OS touch-friendly?

MS Lose32 said,
Um, how does the price of hardware have anything to do with MS's ability to make the OS touch-friendly?

Because if no one was buying touch-enabled devices then due to price, why should they make them touch-friendly?

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

good greif, yes windows tablets do exist.... they have been around since 2002 in slate format... everyone just refuses to believe that MS had a tablet design 9 years ago for some reason

The fact that you have to convince is further proof that it was an epic fail. Ballmer really should be fired. He has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth.

Where's the original article?

The author here just quoted that sentence without giving more details as to why it has failed according to Ballmer.

xpclient said,
So as long as it doesn't wildly succeed like Android in the phone market, MS can take potshots right?

But MSFT has nothing. Who are they to criticize?

Just kick him out already! This kind of talk is not serving anyone - especially not Microsoft.
Perhaps Mr. Ballmer should pay more attention to their own products...

Apple has no strategy. They will release whatever and KNOW for a fact people will buy it due to the name and symbol thats printed on it. Wait 9 months and than release another thing with only 2 new features a "camera" and a bigger HDD.. and sell it for $900. If Ballmers making these kind of PR Comments than he must have huge faith in Microsofts newest W8 Tablets, but then again, we all know where his faith in the Kin got him. Please Ballmer blow more smoke while your not doing much better than Google at this point.

Morphine-X said,
Apple has no strategy. They will release whatever and KNOW for a fact people will buy it due to the name and symbol thats printed on it. Wait 9 months and than release another thing with only 2 new features a "camera" and a bigger HDD.. and sell it for $900. If Ballmers making these kind of PR Comments than he must have huge faith in Microsofts newest W8 Tablets, but then again, we all know where his faith in the Kin got him. Please Ballmer blow more smoke while your not doing much better than Google at this point.

Of course they do, making money, and they do it better than Microsoft with its Billion PCs running Windows and Office.

Morphine-X said,
Apple has no strategy. ...

And then the rest of your post describes their strategy.... ummm.... hrmmm....

Anyway. Apple has secured magazines, book deals, movie rentals, and have the most high-quality apps in their app market out there. Troll all you want, but they obviously have a strategy and it is working.

Shadrack said,

And then the rest of your post describes their strategy.... ummm.... hrmmm....

Anyway. Apple has secured magazines, book deals, movie rentals, and have the most high-quality apps in their app market out there. Troll all you want, but they obviously have a strategy and it is working.


If people would actually RTFA, even Ballmer thought that Apple was successful when it came to the iPad.

Shadrack said,

And then the rest of your post describes their strategy.... ummm.... hrmmm....

Anyway. Apple has secured magazines, book deals, movie rentals, and have the most high-quality apps in their app market out there. Troll all you want, but they obviously have a strategy and it is working.

Lol the term troll is used t0o vaguely now on boards like these. Please you wouldn't know a troll if it smacked you in the face with a ring that had an imprint of "Troll" on it.

All I'm saying is the only strategy they have is the fact EVERYONE will by their product whether or not it was good. That said fact is the ONLY reason why they have deals with companys to bring in a wide variety of things such as E-Books, Magazines, Apps, E-News, etc. The only thing that's working is people will buy ANY Apple product regardless of what it is due to the hype of it being "Apple" if you call that a working strategy than that's just retarded.

Morphine-X said,

s, etc. The only thing that's working is people will buy ANY Apple product regardless of what it is due to the hype of it being "Apple" if you call that a working strategy than that's just retarded.

Nope the only thing thats retarted is the opinion that you've stated

Morphine-X said,

Lol the term troll is used t0o vaguely now on boards like these. Please you wouldn't know a troll if it smacked you in the face with a ring that had an imprint of "Troll" on it.

Well, when you put it that way I see clearly now that you were not trolling. Lol.

Crucial words here "Microsoft has yet to unveil its tablet strategy". Maybe he should pay more attention to what they are doing instead of mouthing off about a competitor who at least is in that market.

efjay said,
Crucial words here "Microsoft has yet to unveil its tablet strategy". Maybe he should pay more attention to what they are doing instead of mouthing off about a competitor who at least is in that market.

+1
Agreed. It's easy for ballmer to criticise others, but when it comes to producing a successful mobile OS himself, he's rather sheepish.

efjay said,
Crucial words here "Microsoft has yet to unveil its tablet strategy". Maybe he should pay more attention to what they are doing instead of mouthing off about a competitor who at least is in that market.

Considering the "success" of non-iPad tablets, MS may have been wise to hold off. That's something NO ONE was thinking after CES.

Flawed said,

+1
Agreed. It's easy for ballmer to criticise others, but when it comes to producing a successful mobile OS himself, he's rather sheepish.

-2
You're forgetting Windows Phone, smart one.

PlogCF said,

-2
You're forgetting Windows Phone, smart one.

It may be good, but hasn't it been the loser in the Windows Phone VS. iOS VS. Android War in regards to success i.e. sales?

Yeah, the only purpose for a tablet that I may see useful is reading e-books (It doesnt even do this as well as dedicated e book readers because of battery life). Without a software giant providing better functionality or use for enterprises, I just dont see tablets as a huge thing. Games seem half ass-ed on tablets, its not good for desktop publishing.

jamesyfx said,
The only Android tablet I've been impressed with has been the ViewPad 10. Everything else is.. how you say.. ..

An app-less, laggy, over-priced POS?

Shadrack said,

An app-less, laggy, over-priced POS?

It is only laggy if you had one of the first Verizon 3G models. My WiFi suffers no issues of lag. As for app-less, it is a relatively new device which actually runs most phone apps rather well.

Hold on. Microsoft hasn't even released a tablet, and it's already criticising the competition lol. Then again, didn't ballmer say the iPhone and Android OS wouldn't amount to anything? Considering his and bill gate's past prophesies, I don't believe anything they or Microsoft say any more.

Flawed said,
Hold on. Microsoft hasn't even released a tablet, and it's already criticising the competition lol.

Saying that Google's approach has failed isn't a criticism, it's just a statement of fact. Everyone, including Google, knows this so why would you expect Ballmer to come up with a different opinion?

jakem1 said,

Saying that Google's approach has failed isn't a criticism, it's just a statement of fact. Everyone, including Google, knows this so why would you expect Ballmer to come up with a different opinion?

Because he has no room to state the fact. They're not doing much better than Google in the tablet market. For him to make a low blow like this towards a company in the tablet market and with his own company not doing much better I can see why they all want him to resign.

Morphine-X said,
Because he has no room to state the fact. They're not doing much better than Google in the tablet market. For him to make a low blow like this towards a company in the tablet market and with his own company not doing much better I can see why they all want him to resign.

He's asked a question in an interview and you think he should just not answer in case you get upset? He answered a direct question, by stating a fact that is true, I dont see any other way this could have panned out.........

MS is late in the 'new' tablet game, but were pioneers at one point, then as stated above vista clogged the road map right up along with loads of security issues that were dealt with - the MS of today, right now has a solid base for both client and server OS's (server 2008r2/windows 7), a solid development enviroment along with code base, a top notch cloud solution in windows azure, a winning gaming system and cloudd baased services, owns skype, is right up there in enterprise communication with exchange and Lync, a new mobile phone OS which once mango falls will be right up there in terms of features along with the support for massively more functional and nicer apps, and is also now not under the watchfull eye of the DoJ - watch this space!

Flawed said,
Hold on. Microsoft hasn't even released a tablet, and it's already criticising the competition lol. Then again, didn't ballmer say the iPhone and Android OS wouldn't amount to anything? Considering his and bill gate's past prophesies, I don't believe anything they or Microsoft say any more.

Of course, it wouldn't be a normal Microsoft topic without our good troll, um, friend Flawed here to make things more interesting.

PlogCF said,

Of course, it wouldn't be a normal Microsoft topic without our good troll, um, friend Flawed here to make things more interesting.

Ahhhh, yes. Indeed.

ok this hedge dbag is compairing the value of the stock before the www bubble burst to today's value o.O

Microsoft was delayed with security which set back Longhorn and other roadmaps they had in place in 2000 give it some time to do things right. I know the phones and tablets were stagnent and Microsoft fell behind while other companys brought new ideas to market but as long as the Products that Microsoft releases in the future are quality products that improve on what others have brought to market they will be home runs (as long as they are marketed properly)

winrez said,
ok this hedge dbag is compairing the value of the stock before the www bubble burst to today's value o.O

Microsoft was delayed with security which set back Longhorn and other roadmaps they had in place in 2000 give it some time to do things right. I know the phones and tablets were stagnent and Microsoft fell behind while other companys brought new ideas to market but as long as the Products that Microsoft releases in the future are quality products that improve on what others have brought to market they will be home runs (as long as they are marketed properly)

I second that - why the hell people would listen to such a dbag (David Einhorn) in the first place - after all, these were the scumbags who bought the world economy to it's knees and we've still got idiots out there taking their views seriously.

thealexweb said,
And MS's strategy has got it really far in the consumer tablet market -.-

hey at one point MS had a 100% tablet market share.... in 2003

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

hey at one point MS had a 100% tablet market share.... in 2003

Those were more of the slate variety and almost exclusively used in enterprise.

thealexweb said,

Those were more of the slate variety and almost exclusively used in enterprise.

they still are used in enterprise... and aren't todays all slates in the non-windows world?

Krieg said,
Has anyone seen a MS tablet?? I haven't personally...just sayin

Plenty, in fact they "invented" them like 7 or so years ago?

And right now yeah, there are too, with Windows 7.

Krieg said,
Has anyone seen a MS tablet?? I haven't personally...just sayin

Yeah, we had them and still have them at work, it was called a Tablet PC, it was in Slate form, made by HP.... came out in like 2002-2003? I can't remember the exact date.... MS was kinda the pioneer of the field in its current form

Rafyelzz said,

Plenty, in fact they "invented" them like 7 or so years ago?

I'm pretty sure I saw them on Startrek long before Microsoft experimented with them in the 90's.

Flawed said,

I'm pretty sure I saw them on Startrek long before Microsoft experimented with them in the 90's.

Too bad non of the stuff in Star Trek actually worked…

Rafyelzz said,

Plenty, in fact they "invented" them like 7 or so years ago?

And right now yeah, there are too, with Windows 7.


Actually, he's right if he's reffering to, "tablets," instead of tablets. I.E. larger mobile devices instead of REAL COMPUTERS.

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

Yeah, we had them and still have them at work, it was called a Tablet PC, it was in Slate form, made by HP.... came out in like 2002-2003? I can't remember the exact date.... MS was kinda the pioneer of the field in its current form

But, like smartphones, they sat on it, didn't develop the devices further and fell behind.

Shadrack said,

But, like smartphones, they sat on it, didn't develop the devices further and fell behind.


Except we STILL don't know if there is a tablet market. All we know at this point is that there's a market for the iPad. Just because the iPad sells doesn't mean there's huge demand for all types of tablets.

Krieg said,
Has anyone seen a MS tablet?? I haven't personally...just sayin

As many Android tablets as Windows Tablets.. Acer W500, Archos 9, Viewsonic, Toshiba Slide coming soon, Fujitsu..\\

A few I can think of off the top of my head..

Krieg said,
Has anyone seen a MS tablet?? I haven't personally...just sayin

Actually we all did. One was called the Microsoft Surface, and the other was called Courier. Both of them introduced more innovation in UI than any other touchscreen device from a competitor: the screen not only recognizes touch, but also objects. Some Microsoft research tablets can see your finger before you even touch the screen. Granted, these products are either prototypes or experimental, but it proves that Microsoft is no laughing matter when it comes to truly innovate. But for MS is not only about innovation, is about how it will play out in the whole picture, how will integrate, so they might take a bit longer than others to incorporate these innovations. But they will.

Charles Keledjian said,

Actually we all did. One was called the Microsoft Surface, and the other was called Courier. Both of them introduced more innovation in UI than any other touchscreen device from a competitor: the screen not only recognizes touch, but also objects. Some Microsoft research tablets can see your finger before you even touch the screen. Granted, these products are either prototypes or experimental, but it proves that Microsoft is no laughing matter when it comes to truly innovate. But for MS is not only about innovation, is about how it will play out in the whole picture, how will integrate, so they might take a bit longer than others to incorporate these innovations. But they will.

Seems like some pretty cool prototypes...just seems for the past 10 years or so MS is playing catch up or not marketing their innovations/products successfully (which we could all agree Apple does very well).

CarlDilone said,

Actually, he's right. Those Android tablets are a joke.


Yeah, comparing to Microsoft's tablets... oh wait...

Shadrack said,

MS needs Google's OEMs and are jealous of iPad's success.


You know most of those OEMs are also Windows OEMs as well, right?

theh0g said,
Yeah, comparing to Microsoft's tablets... oh wait...

Maybe Microsoft don't want half baked crap being shipped with their name attached - if you've actually spent some time listening to what Microsoft management have said, they're interested in the tablet but they want a complete solution provided to the end user and not something that is half baked, half complete and half assed as with the case of the recent Android tablets where features are missing, hardware left unsupported with promises that'll be supported in future software updates.

For Microsoft supporting the tablet requires that the whole ecosystem is available on it - from Windows through to Microsoft Office, from Internet Explorer 9 through to optimising a user interface that meets the need of tablet users but isn't just another case of 'me too'. They see tablets as playing a big part in the corporate world but the corporate world want a complete out of the box solution with the complete Microsoft stack running on it and not the half baked crap that one sees in the Android world.

the iPad might have its flaws but as Ballmer noted, it is the closest to the 'holy grail' when compared to what else is put out there.