Ballmer skeptical of Apple share gains

July 31, 2009

Never one to let an opportunity pass to tweak a competitor, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer got off a few zingers at long-time rival Apple at the software giant’s analyst meeting on Thursday.

“Share versus Apple, you know, we think we may have ticked up a little tick, but when you get right down to it, it’s a rounding error,” he said. “Apple’s share change, plus or minus from ours, they took a little share a couple quarters, we took share back a couple quarters. But Apple’s share globally cost us nothing. Now, hopefully, we will take share back from Apple, but you know, Apple still only sells about 10 million PCs, so it is a limited opportunity.”

Shipments of Apple’s Mac PCs rose 4 percent in the June quarter, while the global PC market shrank 5 percent, according to Gartner.

Ballmer also touched on the advertising war that has blossomed between Microsoft and Apple, and said the Windows ads have proven to be “quite effective”:

“Starting about two years ago, I started to get the question, what’s up with the Apple ads? It was one of the few places where I had a lot of investors pushing me to spend money as opposed to constrain the spend of money. Well, those folks ultimately won.”

Microsoft, of course, also plans to open its own chain of branded branded stores, some right next door to Apple’s outlets.

4 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I for one think it’s great that MS can get people to accept free PCs in those ads (“You find it, you keep it.”). But I don’t really see the business model.

I’ve got one word for Mr Ballmer – Zune.
Having said that I suspect the true winner in the next decade will be the company that delivers voice to text… my money is on Google rather than MS or Apple.

I completely agree with the recent post. I would also prefer Google rather than MS or Apple.

In consumer markets, Microsoft has underperformed the competition for 9 years. Any credibility that Ballmer ever had has long since evaporated.

Contrary to the prior posters, however, i don’t see Google as the saving grace. While Google and MS are desperately trying to convince consumers to house all their data on remote servers (so that MS and Google can datamine it), Apple is content to offer integrated hardware, software, and services that allow the consumer to easily manage his/her own data. Much more secure, much easier to use.

No amount of Google’s “we’re not evil!” claims and Microsoft’s “look at all the cheap hardware that uses Windows!” claims will change the fact that both companies put customer data integrity and propriety last on their list of priorities.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive