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March 29, 2006



Or his statement could be spin. I am guessing his handlers told him to make negative comments about the competition in a homey manner.

Chris Heuer

great post - the not invented here syndrome must come to an end


Ballmer didn't say "by edict", why are you misquoting him? Oh, right, it's just a blog. I read Ballmer as making fun *of himself* for having convinced his kids to not use high profile competitor products. Big deal. Moving on, this post is little more than Internet echo chamber, adding up to a non sequitur that isn't quite stated. You think MS upper management refuses to acknowledge the quality of competitive products, is that your point? The very interviews you link to prove that false. But Ballmer and Gates also claim that MS is going to do even better than the competition in the future ... does that make them out-of-touch tyrants, or, say, businessmen?


Or (just maybe), it...was...a...joke. Ballmer is noted for making off-handed jokes on stage and during interviews.

Given I work at said company, I can attest that we are loaded with gadget and technology geeks ("passion for technology" being a core trait we look for in job candidates), who would go charging out the door in loud rebellion if management got heavy handed about only using our own stuff. We are geeks - we love all kinds of gadgets and software. Lots of us have iPods, Macs, Linux boxes, PSPs, and just love Firefox. And use lots of competing technologies at work.

Being geeks like that makes us better understand what we need to do to make our own products better. I would venture to say thousands of MS employees run Firefox right next to IE7 beta, and loudly give feedback on internal discussion lists for where we come up short and need to improve. Same with Google vs. MSN, and so on. As geeks, we admire great tech products. iPod rocks, and we all push our Media team to do better because we think it rocks. They love the feedback and work harder.

I'm also not sure why you feel Omar would be "frustrated and demotivated" because our boss refuses to concede defeat in a competitive market. That kind of competitiveness is what motivates employees.

Gary Wisniewski

I thought about it being a joke. Sure it's possible that in person, with the right intonation, sure, maybe that's what it was. But, in print, it looks like a pretty simple statement. Ballmer, in his position, should have said something less ambigious. He should be VERY well-schooled in the implications of what he says, and I have not one ounce of sympathy or understanding for somebody in his position saying something stupid at a time when the company and its employees need him to be saying things that are smart.

I know plenty of MS people love technology, use competitors technology, and use that knowledge to engineer better products at MS. So, on one hand, you have employees (many quoted) who have the RIGHT attitude about dealing with competitor's products and managment (both Gates and Ballmer) saying things in public that looks like the WRONG attitude about dealing with them.

Being in denial of Apple's highly relevant accomplishments in marketing AND technology is either ignorance, dishonesty, or bullshit, and many employees would be demotivated to think top management is guilty of any of the three. Seeing things clearly creates confidence, and at a time when Microsoft needs the market's confidence, why is Ballmer playing such stupid games?


I'm also not sure why you feel Omar would be "frustrated and demotivated" because our boss refuses to concede defeat in a competitive market. That kind of competitiveness is what motivates employees.

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