Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would like a 'redo' for company's phone efforts

One month ago today, Steve Ballmer departed as Microsoft's CEO after over 13 years at the helm of one of the biggest tech companies in the world. However, in a presentation in the U.K. at Oxford University today, Ballmer indicated he might want to use a time machine to go back and make some different decisions.

In his first public appearance since leaving the CEO gig, Ballmer told a group of students at Oxford's Said Business School that he had a few regrets while he was leader at Microsoft.

"If you look at things in the last 10 years, it's probably fair to say there are things that did not go as well as we intended them to," he said. "We would have a stronger position in the phone market today, for example, if I could redo last the 10 years."

Ballmer made the decision to ditch the older Windows Mobile operating system for Windows Phone in 2010, which has been far more successful for Microsoft.

Even if Microsoft makes mistakes in some markets, Ballmer indicated that the company has enough money to solve those problems and "catch the next wave of rapid innovation." That may include wearable computing devices in the next decade. Ballmer said, "Whether they will be things we wear on our eyes or in our ears, devices will continue to change."

Ballmer also offered some business advice to the students who attended the presentation. One of the things he said successful business leaders should do is recruit the best people. In fact, Ballmer said his last act as CEO of Microsoft "was a recruiting call."

Source: Oxford University (YouTube) via ZDNet

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I've only EVER seen 2 people with Windows phone 7/8 devices since they came out. one was 2 years ago, the other was a month ago.

warwagon said,
I've only EVER seen 2 Windows phone 7/8 devices since they came out. one was 2 years ago, the other was a few months ago.

And you are from the USA right?

In my class about 1/10 of the students has a Windows Phone. About 1/5 has a Surface RT.

warwagon said,
I've only EVER seen 2 people with Windows phone 7/8 devices since they came out. one was 2 years ago, the other was a month ago.

Anecdotal evidence is the best kind of evidence. I see Windows phones quite a bit, especially travelling internationally. Just because warwagon doesn't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist

siah1214 said,

Anecdotal evidence is the best kind of evidence. I see Windows phones quite a bit, especially travelling internationally. Just because warwagon doesn't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist

The 520 sells really well in Europe. Too bad the flagship phones don't sell well anywhere really.

derekaw said,

The 520 sells really well in Europe. Too bad the flagship phones don't sell well anywhere really.


True.

Actually, I think I've figured out why Warwagon never sees them. He only works with people that still run XP, so it makes sense that those people wouldn't have the latest and greatest phone either.

derekaw said,

The 520 sells really well in Europe. Too bad the flagship phones don't sell well anywhere really.

If the 520 sells really well then so must the more expensive models. Because in a pie chart the percentage of 820 and 920 is still about 1/3 the size of the 520's segment.

EDIT: And don't forget that between the 925, 1020, 1320, 1520, etc the high-end segment is rather divided. There hasn't been one signal 'real' flagship since the 920. I hope Nokia chances this and announced the 930 soon.

I find the same to be honest. But the funny thing is that when I pull mine out and start using it, often I find someone starts talking to me about theirs.

siah1214 said,

True.

Actually, I think I've figured out why Warwagon never sees them. He only works with people that still run XP, so it makes sense that those people wouldn't have the latest and greatest phone either.

True. Seems all I hear from him is how he never sees Windows Phones and everyone still uses XP. Not sure where the hell this land is but I'm damn glad I don't live there.

warwagon said,
I've only EVER seen 2 people with Windows phone 7/8 devices since they came out. one was 2 years ago, the other was a month ago.

I only know 1 single person with windows phone and is me (i own a lumia and a galaxy note).

warwagon said,
I've only EVER seen 2 people with Windows phone 7/8 devices since they came out. one was 2 years ago, the other was a month ago.

Yep, I've still only encountered one, and she regretted the purchase.

neonspark said,
You can re-do it. fire Joe Belfiore and Terry Mayerson who btw, are in charge of windows!!!!

And fires Mark Penn, why? because he is just a troll.

Of course you can do better when you look back at past decisions and then got a do over. I doubt he would have done any better without knowing the future. The plan he had at the time was what he thought was best for MS.

techbeck said,
Of course you can do better when you look back at past decisions and then got a do over. I doubt he would have done any better without knowing the future. The plan he had at the time was what he thought was best for MS.

yeah but you have to admit, he had some fundamental flaws which don't really have anything to do with pre-knowledge of events.

1) hubris. he dismissed apple and google so many times. he still does to this day...only to play catchup when the market proves him wrong. Most recently, Sony spanked him.
2) he fostered the infamous internal war system at MSFT which basically made teams duplicate each other's work and torpedo each other's success.
3) the man had no vision. he never did. he was only riding the money machine gates created. He is better suited to run a mortage company than a software company. Steve B simply was the accidental tech CEO.

So what he's saying is that when it comes to mobile (Fanboys, please note I said mobile), he sucked. And in hindsight, he knows he sucked.

Ballmer was a great CEO. I just can't see why he had to leave.

Ballmer signed of on Windows 7, which brought Aero Snap to the Desktop, the best feature to come to an OS, ever. Win 7 is simply excellent all-round.

He also took a risk with Windows 8, and revitalized Windows Mobile/Phone. I personally think they were heading in the right direction just before he left. They were aware of the changes that had to be made, and were on the road to success again.

All that had to be done is to give the market some time. There wouldn't be big changes overnight.

Well, I'm sure anyone can do better in hindsight, but time machines don't exist, so... Just hope that MS doesn't miss the "next big thing".

Well Microsoft have some smart people and im pleased that Ballmer is out, im sure the new CEO will push the company forward he done very well in the cloud division so im quite positive.

All Microsoft needs is someone to direct and focus, remove barriers and infighting between teams and they can come out very very strong a company the competition will fear again.

The only last thing i hope microsoft will do is not keep pushing everything around Windows, i know its a big product for them but other products are making a lot of money. Azure is running on windows but thankfully they don't advertise it as Microsoft Windows Azure, i think this is part of the problem with Windows Phone is the perception. Obviously nokia is doing a lot to change this and it is slowly working.

As long as Microsoft continue to tie together their services Windows + Office + Xbox + One Drive + 365 etc... then they are onto a winner.

The other thing i would like them to do is diversify into more hardware, the surface is an incredibly well designed device (xbox1 not so much ive found personally) it would be interesting if Microsoft was to launch a wearable device such as a health/lifestyle watch etc.. (i don't include SPOT devices as they were a little primitive based on the tech at the time).

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