Mix08: The Steve Ballmer interview by Guy Kawaski
Kawasaki took no time to take cheap shots at Ballmer, working in chair throwing jokes in the first minute.
Google he says they're definitely underdogs in the search and advertising markets. He says Apple also does good work in the music and PC space, and he hopes they can do a better job on their products.
Ballmer says he's driven by three things. Great products, great people and the challenges of the industry. This is the part I respect about him, and his excitement, even if it becomes funny video on YouTube.
He says that Silverlight is at its core their attempt to offer developers a no-compromise opportunity to develop what people really want.
Ballmer really stuck it to Kawasaki for his "heavy" MacBook Air, when he was asked "What's the deal with Vista?" Apparently it seems Kawasaki had it running on the thing.
He says Microsoft does two things well, desktop and enterprise, but they're trying to build new skillsets in the consumer device and online areas. He also says that driver and app compatibility has been an issue with Vista (no shit). Overall, he's been surprisingly candid when I've seen him make a lot of comments previously that are so head-in-the-sand. I think much of that is PR, because he's clearly not stupid.
Someone asked how IE got left behind while .NET has been quickly evolving since its release. Ballmer says they tied it to Vista, and shouldn't have, saying they needed to get things out faster and not tied in.
Another asked what MS will do with many of the PHP apps running in Yahoo, and he said they'd likely continue running. He says they'll do what makes sense, but not run two of everything. He said they want Windows Server to be the best place to run PHP.
Regarding synergies with Yahoo properties, he says that reaching a greater scale for advertising is important to be effective. The body of advertisers they have, as well as Yahoo, doesn't match Google, who can basically serve an ad for almost any search term.
Some douche from the Seattle Times asked a question about the Sonics. Ballmer shot him down.
Given my distaste for the OS wing of Microsoft, I still think there's enough going on with the smart people there that despite all the stumbling, they're figuring it out. Ballmer doesn't come off as an obstacle the way that I thought he might.