Steve Ballmer, who has just passed Bill Gates to become Microsoft’s largest shareholder, has kept a relatively low profile since leaving the software maker.

However, he did give a speech in March at Oxford Union — with highlights recently posted to YouTube.

“I’m nervous,” Ballmer said at the outset of the talk, which he noted was his first one since leaving Microsoft in February. “It may be my last, too, if it doesn’t go well.”

In the presentation, he talked about Microsoft and Apple as being two-trick ponies.

“They’re an amazing company because they did two tricks,” Ballmer said of Apple, according to GeekWire. “We’re an amazing company because we did two tricks.”

Apple’s tricks, according to Ballmer, were the Mac and low-power touch computing, starting with the iPod. Microsoft’s, by his calculation, were the personal computer and then getting that technology adopted by businesses.

Microsoft’s third trick, though, has proven to be, well, tricky.

“We’ve done two tricks and those will go for a lot of years,” he said. “But in our industry, you have to do a third trick.”

Ballmer is also slated next month to give the graduation speech at the University of Washington.

Here’s what he had to say about Facebook:

and here’s Ballmer on open source software:




10 comments
VB Programming
VB Programming

Steve Balmer wouldn't open source the VB6 programming language.


Will Satya Nadella ?


Well, he hasn't replied to the open letter calling for an updated or open sourced VB6 programming language.


Undertoad
Undertoad

Wow, he forgot Apple's original trick which was the Apple ][, kickstarting the entire microcomputing industry.


But I guess he forgot Microsoft's original trick: signing with IBM but retaining the license to sell MS-DOS as a separate product from IBM's PC, thus gaining complete dominance once the PC was cloned.

Bahmani
Bahmani

"No, I think this is a stupid plan."


Balmer shows the sheer depth and degree that he is out of touch. This is the problem with cheater Technology fanboys. They think they are in, and get it. But they are not in. And they don't get it.


Microsoft was a one trick pony at best. The trick was an old one. That trick was Monopoly. And the thuggish mafia style hijacking of every technology MS could muscle their way into.


MSDOS? stolen from the guy in Albuquerque when he went out to lunch with his wife who forgot to tell him IBM was coming by to look at his operating system. Gates bought it from him after he learned that IBM wanted it,  and sold it to IBM instead.


Word? Stolen from WordPefect


Excel? Stolen from Lotus 123


PowerPoint? Aldus Persuasion


Windows? Mac OS


Recycle Bin? Apple's Trash


Use of a mouse to move around the screen? Apple (via PARC's prototype)


xBox? Sony Playstation


Halo? Stolen from the mac developers who ahd originally promised it for the Mac. MS forced them into an exclusive xBox deal, to date, you cannot play Halo on any other platform.


Sounds like classic monopoly to me Steve! 


Steve? Steve? Heloooo!


Steve's gone.

jbelkin
jbelkin

Ballmer is still clueless. MS was the perfect combo of aggression to and stepping over the line in leveraging a monopoly. They understodd a world where you could control distribution. Once the internet took off, MS lost the roadmap to the future. They keep building a business plan taht if you controlled distribution, you controlled the world. They sign up the studios for WMA and plays4sure. They signed up game studios for xbox. They didn't understand that cosnumers now controlled the distribution and MS spent the past 20 years telling consumers to ask IT to fix their WIN PC's ... which is fine if you have an IT department. They have FAILED at everything outside the enterprise market since 1998. Think about that. They lost to AOL. Who loses to AOL? They abondoned search when Google launched. Ballmer totally missed the iphone which makes more money as a business unit than all of MS in 7 YEARS. Ballmer wanted a legacy other than being Gates roommate - guess what, but it's not bad to have $20 billion in the bank as the world's luckiest roommate so that's something. Oh BTW, the XBOX division not only is permanenty in the hole for $20 BILLION, by stuffing a $4k gaming Pc into the original xbox for $399, he forever killed the <$1k WIN PC market and ceeded it to Apple (who now has a 99% market share of the $1k+ PC market). As a MS shareholder, you have to ask why Ballmer took nearly a TRILLION dollars of cash flow and turned it in a few meager billion ... so maybe he should stop talking about anything ...


Angus Matheson
Angus Matheson

I agree with below, but would add a "trick" to apple: 1) the accessible personal computer, 2) the mac's GUI, 3) the touch based interface of the iPhone/iPad (it feels funny saying the iPod inset one, but what today is influenced by the classic iPod? Low energy computing? Balmer is crazy that was inevitable). I see Microsoft as a one trick but what a trick it was. With ubiquity it made computing universal. With windows and office everywhere it made files from one computer usable on another. Anyone who remembers the days of Amigas, Ataris, Commodores and many others that had no way of communicating were programmed completely differently can recall it was a modern Tower of Babel. Microsoft standardized the computing experience.

booch221
booch221

He looks like Uncle Fester!

NormM
NormM

 Microsoft is too tricky, and they stole the pony.

polterbyte
polterbyte

Yes, Apple is a two-trick pony: one is the Mac, and the other is the iPodiPhoneiPadiTunesStoreAppleStore.

Evan S. Tallas
Evan S. Tallas

@Bahmani I'm not going to flame you, although I should... 


Your "facts" are almost all incorrect in some form or another.  I'd normally let it go, but it would seem you either need to be informed you're incorrect, or you're intentionally spreading incorrect information for some reason.  Please don't spread misinformation like this.  It damages the public's opinion of the software and computer industry as a whole.  

If you want to hate on Microsoft in a public forum, there are enough things that the company really did in the past to put on public display without making things up.   

Bibbler
Bibbler

@Bahmani @Bahmani  LOL...  Go back and learn some history before commenting further. You sound silly. You take (2) half truths (Stealing QDos from SCP and the Urban Legend of Gary Kildall going flying) and combine them, twist them, and then regurgitate them as fact....


Then you go on to mindlessly claim MS Copied every piece of application software they make.  LOL!


Let me guess - I bet you use an elegant, magical, and sexy iPad, don't you?

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