Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer brushes off Chrome OS

Microsoft's Chief Executive Officer, Steve Ballmer, dismissed Google's idea of two operating systems claiming "I don't really know what's up at Google" in a QnA session on Tuesday.

CNET News reports that Ballmer's comments came at the Worldwide Partner Conference where he was addressing questions about Google's Chrome OS during an on-stage talk with Fortune's Geoff Colvin. "First of all, I will be respectful," he said. "Who knows what this thing is. To me, the Chrome OS thing is highly interesting (in) that it won't happen for a year and a half and they already announced an operating system."

He continued to claim that he did not understand why Google required two operating systems, Android and Chrome OS. "I don't really know what's up at Google," he said. Ballmer explained that Microsoft had separate business and consumer operating systems during the days of Windows 95 and NT which didn't work long term and that the company doesn't "need a new operating system. What we do need to do is to continue to evolve Windows, Windows Applications, IE (Internet Explorer), the way IE works in totality with Windows, and how we build applications like Office... and we need to make sure we can bring our customers and partners with us." Ballmer failed to remember that Microsoft has Windows and then Windows Mobile or is he hinting that the future Windows Phone branding will mean "Windows Mobile 7" is actually built from the main Windows OS?

Ballmer's comments come as no surprise. The outspoken CEO is notorious for his on-stage antics and commenting on competitors' ideas and products. In November 2008 Ballmer poked fun at Google Android, saying "this is their first phone, they're not easy," and "let's see how they do." Back in April 2007 Ballmer claimed, in an interview with USA Today, "there's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." We all know what happened there.

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Microsoft's Chief Executive Officer, Steve Ballmer, dismissed Google's idea of two operating systems claiming "I don't really know what's up at Google" in a QnA session on Tuesday

Well, Android is for mobile devices, and Chrome is for netbooks and desktops? Isn't that why MS has WinCE and WinNT (not to mention Windows Server and there was a Windows MCE at one point)?

What we do need to do is to continue to evolve Windows, Windows Applications, IE (Internet Explorer), the way IE works in totality with Windows, and how we build applications like Office... and we need to make sure we can bring our customers and partners with us

Then why split up things like Internet Explorer and Windows Internet Explorer (or whatever), different versions of DirectX, WPF/Avalon, etc... Does this guy really work at MS? Do they let him come to all the meetings?

he is right.. iPhone is just famous coz of media and all.. nothing else.. I havent seen much use of iPhone as such.. its just for fancy stuff and ppl who like to show off..

regarding two OS.. hmm true.. Windows and Windows Mobile are still same OS to some extent.. if he is refering to UI point of view and working point of view.. he is right.. otherwise I dont agree with him..

but I fail to see Chrome OS taking over Windows or Mac or Linux in near future...

dhavalhirdhav said,
he is right.. iPhone is just famous coz of media and all.. nothing else.. I havent seen much use of iPhone as such.. its just for fancy stuff and ppl who like to show off..

Bit of an iPhone rant here but anyway...

While feature wise it's not necessarily revolutionary, to say it's only a media vibe that has it where it is is a bit unfair. The multi touch display genuinly works well if you can live without tactile buttons for an instance and the OS works pretty well and is quite intuitive. I can't exactly say the same for the Symbian device I had for 18 months where menu options were often all over the place and the UI as a whole felt rather inconsistent at times.

Also it's not just the tech but more so the platform behind that tech. What the iPhone has that the competitors don't is a vibrant App Store eco system. Sure, WM, Symbian ect you can all get apps for and for free but for end users it's no where near as easy as Apples offering. Yes, Nokia has the new Ovi store and MS has one for WM coming too but fact of the matter is Apple really beat them to the market in that regard.

So as for the Google OS. Yes, I think they are spreading their bases pretty quick, especially if they do put Android on netbooks as has been raised as a possibility. I guess in the end of the day MS has no huge threat here, but it'll be interesting to see how it competes with the likes of OS X, Ubuntu ect in that more nice section of the market just as the Chrome browser is currently fighting it out in that other corner of the market. I'm sure noone in Google expects to upthrone MS any time soon in the OS field but they can still stir things up in that corner that MS doesn't own.

I always am sad to be prooven right, Microsoft should do software, not web; Google should do web, not software. Both suck at their secondaries...

In what way do Microsoft "suck" at web projects? I think their online Windows Live services are fantastic. Windows Live Home and Profile are brilliant and extremely useful.

Windows Live, as an online presence, is no longer meant to be a social network; Microsoft now aim for it to be a place to bring information, from a user's multiple social networks, into one central place and I believe Microsoft have done this extremely well.

What is wrong with Windows Live?

The fact that it's renamed every 2 years or so. Alright, stupid reason - maybe it's because Microsoft is always "responding" to something. Windows 7 was a response to a disliked Vista. Azure to Amazon's offerings, Live to Google web apps and Bing obviously to Google, Zune to iPod...the only innovative product for consumers was Office and Vista - those were leaps in functionality, but I hate it when Microsoft plays catch-up.

Eastwind said,
I always am sad to be prooven right, Microsoft should do software, not web; Google should do web, not software. Both suck at their secondaries...

Google hasn't sucked at an os yet. They might, but perhaps you would let it be released first, and Google Mobile OS is actually pretty good, certainly more usable than Windows CE, or Mobile Live, or whatever they renamed it too this week. Microsoft are a funny company, they produce software that even they don't use, like Sourcesafe, MOSS, etc...

cakesy said,
Google hasn't sucked at an os yet. They might, but perhaps you would let it be released first, and Google Mobile OS is actually pretty good, certainly more usable than Windows CE, or Mobile Live, or whatever they renamed it too this week. Microsoft are a funny company, they produce software that even they don't use, like Sourcesafe, MOSS, etc...

He said they sucked at desktop apps which I would agree is pretty accurate so far with the exclusion of Chrome. Though sucked is probably a decent overstatement, just sayin', don't have a hernia or anything.

Eastwind said,
I always am sad to be prooven right, Microsoft should do software, not web; Google should do web, not software. Both suck at their secondaries...

I fail to see how Google has totally bested the competition outside of Search and Maps. There are bigger email providers, IM providers and their Google Docs service is still very niche.

CrimsonRedMk said,
Microsoft is always "responding" to something. Windows 7 was a response to a disliked Vista. Azure to Amazon's offerings, Live to Google web apps and Bing obviously to Google, Zune to iPod...the only innovative product for consumers was Office and Vista - those were leaps in functionality, but I hate it when Microsoft plays catch-up.

Windows 7 is a very logical progression from where they were headed with Vista but. Sure Vista wasn't a success in the media but its not like they went and started over. Infact in many ways most of it is just tweaked and refined so I fail to see the problem. Obviously they react to feedback...who wouldn't?

As for those other claims about following trends. Really in how many fields are companies such as Google truly innovation in themselves? Just as many of their services seem like a reaction to MS offerings be they web or client based apps. I'm trying to think of truely innovative Google services but I honestly can't think of any. Perhaps their archiving of books is somewhat unique but their core services sure arent.

Will there ever be an article that relates to Steve Ballmer that isn't linked to one of his crazy videos. I think the entire internet has seen them a thousand times over.

Howard said,
Will there ever be an article that relates to Steve Ballmer that isn't linked to one of his crazy videos. I think the entire internet has seen them a thousand times over.

If he stops making them, we will stop linking to them.

Ballmer failed to remember that Microsoft has Windows and then Windows Mobile

He didn't forget. Last time I checked, Windows Mobile was Windows Mobile. Just like 7. Server 2008. Azure. Live. XP. They are all Windows.

Ballmer might have underestimated the iPhone but I'm sure people laughed at Gates when he envisioned a computer in every home and on every desk and... well, you know how that story ends.

C_Guy said,
Ballmer might have underestimated the iPhone but I'm sure people laughed at Gates when he envisioned a computer in every home and on every desk and... well, you know how that story ends.

It wasn't Gates that envisioned that, it was Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs just envisioned Fonts mate... Even Amiga using same processors sold more than Jobs sold in years back then.... Now thinking of it, if you count Amiga 500 sales, it might have still been more than total of Apple sales.

C_Guy said,
Ballmer failed to remember that Microsoft has Windows and then Windows Mobile

What? So you are saying that Windows 7 and Windows Mobile are the same??? Or they have the same name?? Yes, that is an important point to make, that they share the same name, Windows. That is really worth mentioning. Unlike Google Mobile and Google Chrome OS. You have really gotten to the heart of the matter, thanks for that.

toadeater said,
It wasn't Gates that envisioned that, it was Steve Jobs.

It was actually Gates. Know your history!

To me, the Chrome OS thing is highly interesting (in) that it won't happen for a year and a half and they already announced an operating system.

Unlike when Microsoft talks about being working already on the next big thing short after releasing a new OS?

I guess MS have a track record though with OS. Google didn't announce Chrome a year before its release, they waited till they had significant "improvements" over the others and when it was nearly a stable beta. I'm not sure what Google get by showing their plans this early, with no/very little apparent developed code.

DomZ said,
I guess MS have a track record though with OS. Google didn't announce Chrome a year before its release, they waited till they had significant "improvements" over the others and when it was nearly a stable beta. I'm not sure what Google get by showing their plans this early, with no/very little apparent developed code.

You are right, I also found it odd they announced it so early. A Microsoft does have a track record with OS announcements, of announcing all these great things, and pulling them out as we get closer. Like WinFS, etc...

DomZ said,
I guess MS have a track record though with OS. Google didn't announce Chrome a year before its release, they waited till they had significant "improvements" over the others and when it was nearly a stable beta. I'm not sure what Google get by showing their plans this early, with no/very little apparent developed code.

It is really difficult to comment on where Google are coming from with their software development. If you look at their track record they tend to release full blown products with very little pre-hype (though a lot of hype around the release).

I too am surprised at the 1-1.5 year lead time on release but I would be very surprised if there was not much code developed already.

I wouldn't say he "brushed off" Chrome. He said he doesn't know, which is accurate. The whole blogosphere is only speculating and guessing.

"Ballmer failed to remember that Microsoft has Windows and then Windows Mobile"
Android was said to be headed to netbooks, and now that's Chrome's target. Windows and Windows CE have almost no overlap

I am still kind of blown away that some people actually think that MS should do something else BUT brush this off.

I mean they should not ignore it, no. But - meh, boring... go see Dell's data on return rate for Ubuntu notebooks. What do you think will happen when grandma realizes she can't install nothing on her Chrome OS powered notebook?

BigBoy said,
I am still kind of blown away that some people actually think that MS should do something else BUT brush this off.

I mean they should not ignore it, no. But - meh, boring... go see Dell's data on return rate for Ubuntu notebooks. What do you think will happen when grandma realizes she can't install nothing on her Chrome OS powered notebook?


Chrome OS will be based on Linux. What makes you think nothing can be installed on it? Because a browser is heavily wired into it? Sure, a user will probably be guided into using it, but I'm not sure I see how it must exclude every other use? Besides, web apps keep getting bigger, and MS realize this too. I'm not even sure a grandma would need something more than Google Docs as an office suite, for example.

Jugalator said,

Chrome OS will be based on Linux. What makes you think nothing can be installed on it?
Because a browser is heavily wired into it? Sure, a user will probably be guided into
using it, but I'm not sure I see how it must exclude every other use?

Besides, web apps keep getting bigger, and MS realize this too. I'm not even sure a
grandma would need something more than Google Docs as an office suite, for example.


Despite the "can't install nothing" double negative from ... ahem Bigboy (?!?) ... AIUI, what he means is about the average user
finding out they cannot easily install their favourite Windows apps on a Linux based OS. "This is cr*p! MSN wont install on it!"

I'm sure that at least some of us more tech-savvy peeps know it IS possible to install a growing number of Windows apps on
a Linux based OS using 3rd party extensions such as WINE or CrossOver, but most people new to Linux don't realise this.
That's even despite the fact that most Linux distros already come bundled with open source equivalents of numerous
software products made for Windows. The majority of Linux newbies probably don't realise this either.

For these people, if it doesn't work exactly the same way as it does on Windows, they'll dismiss it without a second thought.

As for the Chrome OS itself ... no-one outside of Google knows exactly whether it's only going to be the Chrome browser
on top of a Linux kernel and running only web based apps, or a full Linux distro on which you can install regular Linux
apps with Google Chrome as the default internet browser instead of Firefox or Konqueror.

Dude..he has every right to brush it off. Microsoft has been caught off guard plenty of times, but not in the dekstop OS arena. Android is already being developed to run on netbooks. This is coming next year. Windows 7 will run on it now. Today. You don't announce an OS to take on Windows that far in advance..like Borat says, "Crush."

Well, Chrome OS users could use Microsoft's cloud offerings. They may not be hurt by this directly.

I think most people will prefer a fully functional OS though. Google Talk web client is annoying compared to their win32 app.

It's just another Linux distro...though it has the potential where no shareware OS has gone before!

I wish Google the absolute best in giving MS a run for their money, but I'm not holding my breath on this one. 8)

"We all know what happened there"
Don't get me wrong, Apple has a growing market share, but put it into perspective, they have 10% of the smartphone market, which is only a portion of the overall phone market. I wouldn't really call that significant by Google or Microsoft standards... considering they both have a 85%+ market share in their respective fields.

Here here, last year both LG and Samsung sold each over 20M smartphones (over 40M both) that is more smartphones than Apple sold (around 15M) so in anyway, Samsung and LG share of the smartphone pie actually grown larger, I don't think Apple ever taken market share from MS, they just get a share of a growing market, the market is bigger now.

Beastage said,
Here here, last year both LG and Samsung sold each over 20M smartphones (over 40M both) that is more smartphones than Apple sold (around 15M) so in anyway, Samsung and LG share of the smartphone pie actually grown larger, I don't think Apple ever taken market share from MS, they just get a share of a growing market, the market is bigger now.

To be honest, those LG and Samsung phones have low-end models designed specifically for marketshare. Giveaway units for the carriers to use to entice people into two-year renewals off contracts.

Of course they will have large numbers, but low profits. They need the volume.

The smart phone market is still growing as such any company in the market doesn't have to make people switch, they can just grab people who aren't using smart phones. Apple is targeting people who normally wouldn't have a smart phone.

I was going to to say about his comments on the iPhone, but here's a funny video of him talking about it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5oGaZIKYvo

He seems to have a habit of putting his foot in it before products have been released. He should wait until when things fail before making his jabs.

Considering Microsoft's resources they just seem to take too long to play catch up. The original iPod touches were released in 2007 and we're going to have to wait till the end of 2009 for Microsoft's direct competitor? The same thing with Windows Mobile, when the iPhone was unveiled they should have whacked up a roadmap for a new OS straight away instead of "waiting to see" if the phone would be a hit (the hype was pretty big), or hoping that the iPhones high price would kill it.

Um, much as I hate to defend Mr. Ballmer here, but he is/was right about the iPhone.

The iPhone is only on ONE vendor and is only one product of many for that one vendor. Its total worldwide market share in the cell phone market is...

about 1.5%...

http://www.electronista.com/articles/09/04...at.1.5pc.share/

The total cell phone market is HUGE and the iPhone has gotten WAY more press and media attention than is warranted by its total actual physical sales.

It's a great phone (I own a iPod touch because I, like many, won't do business with AT&T), but it doesn't even have the worldwide market share of Apple's niche computer line.

He made these statements before the iPhones release, and is basically saying it will flop - one of the reasons being the price.

2 revisions later this obviously hasn't happened, and the iPhone has come a long way (App Store broke 1.5bn downloads recently). Like it or lump it he wrote Apple off because the mobile phone market is so competitive and Apple had no experience in it - and he was wrong to do so in retrospect.

There is a world outside U.S.A folks. Let's say, European leader is still Nokia, iPhone barely hit, not counting Asia and so on...

excalpius said,
Um, much as I hate to defend Mr. Ballmer here, but he is/was right about the iPhone.

The iPhone is only on ONE vendor and is only one product of many for that one vendor. Its total worldwide market share in the cell phone market is...

Yeah good point. The iPhone has only sold about 25 million, plus 20 million for the ipod touch. More than any other phone in the world, even the Motorola Razr. Apple has made billions in it, they have almost as large a share of smart phone market as RIM, sometime they surpass them in numbers sold. It is still selling like hotcakes...

so yeah, you and ballmer are correct, a waste of time and a monumental mistake. unlike the zune, and I think Microsoft are close to breaking even on the xbox sometime soon. No doubt the surface is raking in millions. Yeah, we should be listening to this guy more...

excalpius said,
Um, much as I hate to defend Mr. Ballmer here, but he is/was right about the iPhone.

The iPhone is only on ONE vendor and is only one product of many for that one vendor. Its total worldwide market share in the cell phone market is...

about 1.5%...

http://www.electronista.com/articles/09/04...at.1.5pc.share/

The total cell phone market is HUGE and the iPhone has gotten WAY more press and media attention than is warranted by its total actual physical sales.

It's a great phone (I own a iPod touch because I, like many, won't do business with AT&T), but it doesn't even have the worldwide market share of Apple's niche computer line.

That isn't really an accurate representation of the state of the market. I'm having flashbacks to ECON and MARK 101 here but the way I see it is this:

Apple aren't really "taking" much of the market in terms of the iPhone or iPod touch. What they are doing is "growing" the market by targeting a lot of users who previously didn't own an iPod or a smartphone -- they are still raking billions in revenue and on the whole they are growing the entire smartphone market.

Apple aren't and never were concerned about market share. Their business plan is all around targeting users that have never been targeted before and generating revenue in niche markets -- which they excel at amazingly apparently.

stifler6478 said,
I don't think Microsoft has anything to worry about here, tbh.

-Spenser

Dont think so either. With OSX, Windows, and Linux...Google will find it hard to make a dent.

Google had same dreams with Chrome browser too... 1 Year and a half, total less than 2.5% of market share while having the most visited sites of the world and doing constantly ads there....

CFer said,
Anything Google does, Microsoft will steal and ASSIMILATE INTO ITS' COLLECTIVE...

Don't be ridiculous. Microsoft copies Apple way more than it copies Google.

If windows 7 is a bad as vista, then everybody has a chance.

cakesy said,
If windows 7 is a bad as vista, then everybody has a chance.

Unfortunately for the other companies then it's been pretty much shown Win 7 is a big improvement and has been met to largely positive feedback.

The likleyhood of them messing it up at this point it pretty damn small.

CFer said,
Anything Google does, Microsoft will steal and ASSIMILATE INTO ITS' COLLECTIVE...

Now you are talking crazy talk!

Next you will say that Microsoft is announcing a free online version of Office, to match up with Google Docs.

Lunacy, I say. :P

Of course it is going to be a replacement, it is a very lightweight OS, designed primarily for running a browser. So you will have applications, like webpages, that are saved on your computer, and can access online and local data sources. Everything will pretty much run in the browser.

He continued to claim that he did not understand why Google required two operating systems.
Unlike Windows, and Windows Mobile... or Mac OS X, and Mobile OS X (iPhone OS)

Actually also I think he was pointing out that possibly Chrome OS would run online or in it's own Application. Inside of a browser.

So you would first need Windows/Mac/Linux to get online, then you could Login to Chrome OS.

Did anyone else get that same feeling/thought?

Maybe this is a hint for the future. Like the article says, OSX iPhone is based on OSX, therefore WinMo may be linked more closely with Windows desktop in the future?

It is always a blast to hear stuff come out of Ballmer's mouth. Sometimes I just feel he doesn't really give any thought to want he is about to say.

Brandon Live said,
Somewhat fair... but he also has a bit of a point in that Android has been shown on netbooks, and Chrome OS targets netbooks.

Steve Ballmer is spewing hot air as usual. Android has been shown on netbooks to demonstrate the functionality, that does not mean that Android will be used along with Chrome OS. Ballmer knows this, but he would rather spread FUD anyway. It makes MS look bad every time.

Great for comic relief though. Sort of like George Bush. I guess we should be glad Ballmer isn't president, he would have nuked half the planet by now--our half, because of a targeting bug in MS Nuclear Apocalypse Ultimate Edition.

"God dammit! Why are the missiles heading this way!? Turn them around! Damn you Goooogleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee... " *BOOM*

I personally can't understand why Ballmer can't understand two different operating systems are needed. :S

One would be heavily streamlined for mobile devices. It makes perfect sense to me, besides the stupidity in ignoring Windows CE.

Xero said,
Unlike Windows, and Windows Mobile... or Mac OS X, and Mobile OS X (iPhone OS) :rolleyes:

Or how about the 5 different versions of Windows 7, the 7 different versions of Vista, the 5 different versions of Office 2010??? Has he even looked at his own website??

cakesy said,
Or how about the 5 different versions of Windows 7, the 7 different versions of Vista, the 5 different versions of Office 2010??? Has he even looked at his own website??

it's still the same OS but...just with different licenses granting access to different features. A lot different to coding two drastically different products.

Xero said,
Unlike Windows, and Windows Mobile... or Mac OS X, and Mobile OS X (iPhone OS) :rolleyes:

Isn't Chrome OS supposed to be "mobile" in-browser OS?
Still i'm sure Chrome OS is going to be just yet another Linux pack to beat Ubuntu. YALPCOS))