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Steve Ballmer talks about Microsoft competing with Amazon and Apple in new interview

Steve Ballmer has mostly kept quiet on his views of the tech industry since he left Microsoft in 2014 as its CEO to become the owner of the LA Clippers pro basketball team. However, he has offered some of his insights into his former company, and its competition in a new video interview.

Ballmer, in a chat with Bloomberg TV, admitted that Apple had "done a good job" with its efforts in combining software and hardware. However, he also feels that "if there's going to be any competition at all for Apple it will come from Microsoft." He cited the recently announced Surface Book as an example of how Microsoft could compete with Apple with that kind of business model

Ballmer also took on Amazon as well. Both Microsoft and Amazon are based in the Seattle area, and while he says some Microsoft employees have left to go work at Amazon, "we could count on them coming back within a year or two because it's not a great place to work." You can watch the full chat with Ballmer in the video below.

Source: Bloomberg

57 Comments
  • Amazon's getting bigger every year..
  • They usually deliver my order on time. In simple word, they meet my expectation. Thats might be why they are getting bigger and bigger.
  • I Say amazon is a tough nut to crack, no matter who is in front of them. They are really awesome at their work.
  • I really can't understand why, their prime instant video service is terrible, their website is even worse and I mean the store / book store in this case which somehow manages to be worse than eBay. Their cloud offerings are decent but in my view just don't compare to Azure. The only thing I like from Amazon is Kindle, but that's only really because of the books, has nothing to do with their app which on Windows Phone is a bit of a joke.
  • 2 Day free shipping and customer support. =)
  • Azure is a fantastic platform. You could literally spin up an enterprise infrastructure in a day with no upfront costs and only pay for what you use. I'm not sure the general public is familiar with Azure.
  • He's referring to their cloud services not their product delivery
  • What ?
  • There have been several different leaks/reports that Amazon is a pretty terrible place to work. Mainly in software development roles. I hear mixed reviews about their warehouse work
  • Then the whole lawsuit about forcing employees to not count time spent being searched for stolen goods, every day for every employee, as payable time. Which is awful. When a worker works for you, you are renting their time. So not paying for what you rent (time) is theft.
  • Just give him a job at Microsoft
  • He misses Microsoft
  • Please come back.
  • Microsoft does need to put Windows 10 into the car, especially the self-driving one. They've got to invest there in order to provide car manufacturers with the tools to compete against Tesla (and Apple)!
  • I bet the hololense does comparable terrain and object mapping to any self driving car. It's just a matter of time before someone uses the APIs to develop a self driving car.
  • Who knew a few years ago that Amazon, formerly just a retailer, would end up competing head on with Microsoft in enterprise cloud services. The tech world changes fast...
     
  • I like Amazon and am in a MSFT-Amazon ecosystem...however from what I've read, Amazon has a brutal work culture and Bezos can be an azzhole...
  • I think both are great companies to work for, probably they both are in the top 5 (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook) tech companies to work for in America in 2015.
  • If you haven't worked for Amazon then don't say they're good to work for.. Because they're a fuckin disgrace and I will never shop there for the rest of my life and actually implore people to buy from other outlets
  • None of those 5 are top tech companies to work for in the US. The best tech company to work for is your own. If you have what it takes to work at those 5, do yourself a fvir and go smaller. Learn what it takes to run a company then start your own. The only good way to work for one of those 5 is to have your company acquired by one of them.
  • E commerce employees always have stress at work.
  • Steve Ballmer generated more profit than Steve Jobs (Steve Jobs made record profits, but only after 2006, while Steve was a CEO for much longer years, Steve Jobs died unfortunately)  so IMO he was a better CEO that Steve Jobs ever did. Steve Ballmer is probably the technology CEO which has generated more profits for 1 company in American history. Does anybody know about Google's Larry Page or Eric Schmidt profits? I'm sure they have not made more money than Steve yet.  
  • But unfortunately he's mainly responsible for Microsoft missing out on mobile and almost killed off xbox development in the early days... From people who've worked at Microsoft since the early 90's, Balmer was really good at squeezing the last dollar out of a product, but consequently alienated everyone in the process...
  • Yes, on that I agree, but Amazon, IBM, Dell, Oracle, HP, Facebook are still not as good companies as Microsoft. Microsoft despite having so low marketshare on mobile is the top 3rd tech company globally. And I'm sure Project Astoria is going to be Windows Mobile plan to reborn from the dust like a Phoenix, just imagine all those carriers, OEMs and users happy when they can finally download/install their favorite app on this platform, it will be epic.
  • I'm just pointing out that profitibility at the expense of the future casts a more negative light on Balmer than a positive one.
  • Ballmer was able to make those profits only because the rock that MS was had been set into motion by Gates long ago and Ballmer just rolled along until the momentum gave up. He made really bad PR moments, bad product decisions and bad design and leadership. He just got lucky to succeed Gates.
  • A bit harsher that it need to be but lots of truth too
  •  Project Astoria and Project Islanwood need to be available and fully functional on day one of Windows 10 Mobile's retail availability or it to will fail.  
  • What competition ! they make Microsoft apps for IOS way better than on windows and think of being head to head with apple :-/
  • I have to agree on something, the Office apps for iPad are much better than the full desktop Office apps I have on my Windows 8.1 7" tablet, I would love to have those iOS Office apps on my tablet, but unfortunately, my tablet has WIndows 8.1 and with just 16GB of storage and no driver support, I can't upgrade to Windows 10. But saying Microsoft is not making apps better everyday for desktop users like me, would be a lie. Windows 10 on desktop is still 100 times better than OS X.
  • Are you serious? They are missing features and are slow as hell compared to office on surface pro 3. I tried using one on my friends iPad. Its ok at best.
  • ^^^This
  • Ballmer.....You can hate or love him.... As a dev, I LOVED him :)
  • because of DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS..DEVELOPERS.. most embarrissing moments of microsoft..
  • Agree!
  • I have contacted Amazon several times regarding lack of support for Windows Phone as there is no way to play Amazon Video on it. Also hearing reports of mistreatment of employees. Don't think I will be renewing Prime this year.
  • Love to shop there, but not worth having prime...i gave that up a while ago...as a services comp it sucks other than shopping....
  • Ballmer ruined MSFT. Satya is left cleaning up his mess. MS missed out on the phone market badly, not to mention letting Apple take a big bite of their PC sales.
  • Balmer is the only reason Microsoft entered the phone market, without him there is no windows phone
  • Apple currently has 7% of the pc market. That's an extremely small bite.
  • They have the most *profitable* bite.  
  • definitely do. But thank god the OEMs have woken up and they and their 2in1 ultra books and the Surface will start to bite back at the huge profits of Macbooks and Mac.
  • The Surface Book and Pro, yes, agreed. The other OEMs....?  I don't know.   If Joe Consumer is in the market for an approx $500 computer, he'll go to Big Box Max store and pick up the HP, Acer or Dell special of the week.  If Joe is in the market for a >$1000 computer, I find it hard to believe he wouldn't go instead to the local Apple store and get a Macbook Pro or iMac (or Surface Book in this case, if you will).    I'm not convinced that Dell, Acer, HP and Lenovo are making significant gains in the upper end of the PC market, outside of the enterprise.  The only PC OEM who did so, in the past, was Sony, but as we all know, they've since left the market.  
  • Oh yeah for sure agree for the 500$ guy whos shopping at that price range, there is no MacBook in that range of course lol. But now I am curious to see sales reports for the high end laptop segment. Cause I mean the HP Spectre x360 is a FINE piece of hardware. I was holding it at the MS Store the other day and its all metal frame was very very nice felt just like a MacBook. But I think it would also depend on what Joe Consumer wanted. If we wants a MacBook just like his friends then forget it, no one is going to tell him otherwise lol. If he truly was open minded about both operating systems then I don't see why he wouldn't take the HP Spectre at 1,100$ with 13.3-inch Full HD touchscreen Intel Core i7-5500U 8GB memory/256GB SSD
  • You shouldn't have gone with HP. The best comparison is the ThinkPad line from Lenovo... 
  • stop being stupid, Ballmer did many good things for MS, and without Ballmer there wouldn't have been the reorganization you see today. Terry wouldn't be head of every OS, and it would be just as divided and mess as before.  But I don't expect people​ like you to use the brain, and it wasn't ballmer fault Microsoft is not selling millions of millions of Phones, anyway Microsoft is strong with WIndows and still on 85%marketshare, you say Pplae took a bite on PC sales? yet they haven't really have much marketshare in years and years, just like Linux. But like I said, I don't expect idiots like you to understand Ballmer had Xbox 360 and One, Windows 7 and 8, Surface, Windows Phone, and all the new products we are seeing today. Satya is just following the same path Microsoft was taking BEFORE ballmer left. You seem to love Satya so much, yet you are so blind to see, people didn't want Windows Phone before, and still don't want it compared to other OSs.... and I don't care, Marketshare means nothing to me, I will keep enjoying my OS, I don't care if Android is used more, it's crap. and I don't care if Apple is used more than WP in some countries. again Satya is a cool guy, and he is doing things fine, but you can't say he made the reorganization and he put everything in order and fine. becuase that would be just BS from you. The truth is Terry is the most important person at Microsoft now, he is what Microsoft needs now, you can say Satya all you want, but do you really think terry doesn't have voice at Microsoft? and his decisions are just invisible and Satya is who take every decision at MS? no. Terry is doing great his work, finally we will have a real One platform.... and that was THANKS to Ballmer, becuase Ballmer was the one doing the great reorganization. it wasn't Satya, he only follows what Ballmer started and made in his few months at Microsoft. he didn't have to change many things, just follow the path traced. so even the janitor at Microsoft wouldn't be a bad CEO after Ballmer. so just my note: Stop being stupid.
  • I agree, Ballmer did set things up for Satya, it just wasn't as elegant as people think it should have been. That said, Satya is carving out his niche and is doing a good job as well. I will say that it was time for the Ballmer approach to sit down, because it would not have been as successful as Satya's approach.
  • 85% market share? No, it's share is still in the 90s.
  • Criticism is for acting more Reactive and late on consumer products, rather than take the lead since they were ahead on prototypes.... So what you say its true. But so is the criticism
  • Actually Terry is only important for Windows, which is a small part of MS (now and in the future, they don't see stronger growth happening in Windows than other divisions). They also have the massive (and growing) cloud division that encompasses office and azure.
  • Clippers won yesterday, that's all I care about. even if it was a preseason game, it was good to see that comeback and it seems we got a really nice bench this time, becuase last year it was really hurting Clippers games, so again, that's all I care, who cares about Microsoft and Amastupidzon and Apsuckple, when we got Clipperssssssss
  • Steve please come back and kickout nadella!!
    Soon before it's too late!
  • Are you serious? You want the guy who laughed at the iPhone, the guy who allowed Windows 8 to happen and Xbox to have horrible restrictions to come back vs the guy who is an engineer, who also knows exactly what the public wants to leave? Give me whatever you are smoking - it must be really strong. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • MS should buy amazon ;) than they could sell stuff all over the world, they would have the biggest store for ebooks and stuff ;) sorry, drunk talk here ;) but hey!
  • Ballmer still doesn't understand that the real threat is Google. 
  • Ballmer is a bit of a redneck.
  • true love. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android