Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pokes fun at Google Android

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has poked fun at Google's Android platform during a Telstra Investor Day conference in Sydney today.

Google Android is Google's first entry into the smartphone operating system market. Open sourced, it aims to gather the best developers to create a wide range of applications for its platform. Apple, Research In Motion, Symbian and Microsoft are the current market leaders.

Starting off nicely, ballmer said "This is their first phone, they're not easy," and "Let's see how they do."

"They (Google) can hire smart guys, hire smart people, blah-de-blah-de-blah," Mr Ballmer said. "I don't really understand their strategy, maybe somebody else does."

"Turning up to an investor meeting saying, 'we've just launched a mobile operating system with no revenue model, yay!' – I wouldn't do that," he said. "I don't get the business model."

Along with Ballmer, many employees seem more willing (or able) to answer questions based on competitors in an open and candid manner. The "I'm a PC" campaign seems to be a broader effort for Microsoft to "fight back" at competitors who regularly bash Microsoft. Last week at Microsoft's PDC there were several references in sessions to Google and Apple's efforts in devices and web services respectively.

Microsoft also seems more willing to adopt competitor products by introducing the DivX and XviD playback codecs for WMP natively and demonstrating competitors web services like Flickr in major keynotes. Perhaps this is a shift of tactic for the company where it is aligning itself with customers in the real world where people use many different services today and not just those of Microsoft.

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Even if he does have a point (and I'm not convinced that he does) why should he worry about it? Surely that will be Google's problem, not his?

I'm sure Google are extremely confident in what they are doing. I suspect it's all about the usual - brand building.

He really doesn't help Microsoft at all, people like Sinosky and Russinvoch really bolster Microsoft's image as do a lot of really good people at microsoft, just to have it dashed by the idiot at the top.

Other more level headed Microsofties have said that Android is a cool platform, it is a shame that Ballmer is in charge of Microsoft as he doesn't do the company that good.

The one comment i will always remember from Microsoft is when Steve Jobs and Bill Gates done a Q&A at the D5, and it simply boiled down to the fact that the computing market is big enough for all of the players and that for Mac OS to succeed Windows doesn't have to lose, to which i apply to all computing markets from phones to operating systems. There is a place for a great many players.

Obviously I don't know the guy but whenever I read about him he's always managing to appear really very childish. I don't see how that helps MS at all.