Monday, January 29, 2007

Ballmer on innovation versus profits

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is on CNBC right now, and Bill Griffith asked him if Microsoft was more concerned with creating innovative products, or making money. He said that Microsoft was more interested in making innovative products that would excite Microsoft's community of customers and get them talking. That in turn, would result in Microsoft making money.

Kinda sounds like satisfying the customers's wants and needs directly, so they satisfy your needs indirectly, doesn't it?

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Kim Klaver said...

Mack -

What else could Ballmer have said to that question?

Who, in today's market, would admit to wanting to "just make money" - versus wanting to create cool things for their customers, that they'd want to talk about?

Their Zune product is a good example of where their hearts are...trying to take a piece of the Apple pie with a really second rate product (according to the reports I've read, even of M fans).

How innovative was that?

Mack Collier said...

Actually I think the wifi capability of the Zune is pretty interesting, especially the ability to share music. Will depend on where they, and the labels go with it.

And let's be honest, no media player in the world is going to top the iPod in the 'cool' department, not out of the gate. So it's a little unfair to judge them head to head right now. In a couple of years, we'll have a much better idea if Zune is going to be a legit competitor against the iPod.

And recall that Microsoft DOES have over 3,000 workers blogging, so that does tend to add some credibility to Ballmer's claim that Microsoft is trying to develop products that get people excited. Since so many of them are blogging, they would likely have a decent idea of what other bloggers are excited about. Does Apple have any bloggers? I honestly don't know.

Kim Klaver said...

Time will tell indeed.

Meanwhile, did you see Chris Anderson's delightful post called:

"Give away the music and sell the show"

Should be right up your alley...

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Microsoft hater. But as an Apple user, I can't really see where Microsoft has really innovated anything in the last decade. They either rest on what they've been doing (OS, Office, etc) or they follow some else's lead (Zune, MSN, etc).

With Microsoft's massive resources, they should be able to type circles around Apple. Innovative, risky, well-design products just don't seem like Microsoft's mission. It would just be nice if they could admit it. If Balmer could stand up and say, "We won't be first to market, but will be the best." Then go out and actually back up a statement like that. But they don't.

I wonder where Microsoft will be with Balmer at the helm?