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Outgoing Microsoft CEO most regrets lapse in mobilephones

Steve Ballmer AP FILE PHOTO

NEW YORK CITY – Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Thursday his biggest regret was missing the boat on smartphones – but he said the software giant should not admit defeat just yet.

“I regret that there was a period in the early 2000s when we were so focused on what we had to do around Windows that we weren’t able to redeploy talent to the new device called the phone,” Ballmer said in a conference with analysts.

“That is thing I regret the most,” he repeated, adding “It would have been better for Windows and our success in other foreign factors.”

The smartphone and tablet computer market is currently dominated by Apple’s iPhone and iPad and by devices powered by Google’s Android operating system.

Microsoft has “almost no share” in mobile devices, Ballmer conceded, but said that leaves the company with significant “upside opportunities.”

In telephones, the company is counting on the recently announced acquisition of Finnish mobile telephone company Nokia, with which it is already collaborating to make a new smartphone, the Lumia, to popularize its Windows mobile software.

The company’s Surface tablet failed to win over buyers last year and Microsoft was forced to lower the price of the device, which translated into a loss of nearly a billion dollars in its latest quarterly figures.

A new generation of the tablet is to be unveiled Monday.

Beyond mobile devices, Ballmer said, Microsoft must seize crucial opportunities in cloud computing services, in online subscriptions to its word processing suite Office, and with its search engine Bing.

Ballmer took over as CEO of Microsoft in 2000 from co-founder Bill Gates, a classmate and friend from their days at Harvard University in the 1970s. He announced in August that he would retire within 12 months.

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Tags: Apple , Internet , iPhone , Microsoft , smartphones , Steve Ballmer

  • Batala

    Steve Ballmer unfortunately stayed too long and he does not have what it takes to lead.

    The shareholders should have given him a non-executive honorable position after the disastrous Windows Vista.

    I hate to admit it but I am happy for Microsoft that Ballmer is stepping down.

  • NoWorryBHappy

    The Microsoft Windows OS was created to fail. Its design is flawed. It’s Achilles heel is the Windows REGISTRY. When one of the applications of our Windows server got corrupted, we tried to restore from backup but were unable to. It made things worse. The registry had to be hacked to make it run for a while but it only made things worse as some updates to the application could not be ‘located’ by the registry. We had to build a new server, install the application, reconfigure the application and apply all patches from scratch. It started as a 2-day downtime and was extended many times up to two stressful weeks to rebuild the server. When it was over, the IT Team was building a LINUX-based version of the server. The corruption scenario was replicated and a SIMPLE RESTORE of the application binaries from backup solved the problem in 30 MINUTES. We replaced 10 Windows servers with 3 powerful HP Proliant Linux servers. Windows is really just for CONSUMERS. It is not meant for the ENTERPRISE. When you call Microsoft Windows support, they tell you to just REBOOT or REINSTALL. In MISSION CRITICAL FINANCIAL APPLICATIONS, those are NOT options. Even SAP saw this weakness. SAP ignored MS SQL Server in favor of creating their own database, HANA, that runs on SUSE Linux. Why ? Because MS SQL Server database runs ONLY on MS Windows. Now, even its desktop turf is being threatened by Google’s free CHROME OS. Mr Ballmer didn’t see that coming. Under him, Microsoft always played catch up. He lacked foresight. The IRONY is that Microsoft is a multi-billion dollar company built on expensive MS Windows. LINUX OS is available for download for FREE. You might say, it’s David and Goliath. I say, cliché.

  • ThudOthwacker

    Microsofties will surely miss Ballmer at the Windows Developers Conference. No more energetic entrance. Howling through both ends of the stage.

  • RyanE

    Microsoft OS is still a dominant player but the advent of open source system like Unix and Android will definitely pose a big challenge to Microsoft. Personally, I have this feeling that in the long run, the open source system will eventually have the upper hand.

  • Bulagas

    deploy talent??? what talent?? biggest regret of Microsoft shareholders was keeping Balmer beyond 2001

  • Angry Nanay

    Masyadong nahumaling ang Microsoft sa NT nila and nakalimutang magdevelop ng hardware to carry the backend.

  • indiosbravos2002

    Gates and Jobs successors were failures. No innovative products after the two left their respective companies. They were not able to think out of the box and still are working on the same framework that Gates and Jobs set up. Microsft’s iterations of their OS have not been received widely while Apple have not got pass iphones and ipad.

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