Steve Ballmer Says Microsoft Will Not ‘Leave Any Stone Unturned’ to Apple


In an exclusive interview with CRN held in Toronto, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had some tough words against fellow tech rival Apple. He noted Microsoft in the past had “ceded some of the boundary between hardware and software innovation” to Apple but with the upcoming release of the Surface, that will soon change.

“We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple,” said an exuberant Ballmer in a 30-minute interview after addressing some 16,000 partners at the company’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto. “We are not. No space uncovered that is Apple’s.


“But we are not going to let any piece of this [go uncontested to Apple],” shouted Ballmer. “Not the consumer cloud. Not hardware software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch.

Who actually believes the words that come out of Ballmer’s mouth? This is the same guy that laughed when asked about the debut of the original iPhone in 2007, and in an interview declared it wouldn’t appeal to business customers because it didn’t have a keyboard.

Remember CES 2010 and Microsoft’s big announcement of ‘PC-slates’ running Windows 7? Those never materialized. With Surface, Microsoft did not announce a date of when it would be released, nor did it include any pricing or battery life specs. Surface sounds great on paper but when it was announced the press wasn’t even allowed to go hands-on with it.

Ballmer can talk all he wants, but maybe Microsoft should work harder towards releasing actual products. Check out this clip below that explains what I’m talking about:


  • I do not like that guy, he looks like he just got from the mountain.

  • K3


    Watched the video on the “surface” product- man can they copy Apple anymore than they already have? The presentation was unnerving in an almost out right un-acceptance of Apple products even existing- like Microsoft is the only one there is, they come up with the revolutionary devices first and lets talk the talk of an Apple new product release keynote.

    It just felt like a cheaply swiped way to attempt to bring there own “next best thing” across to the public and this guy came off trying to emulate something Jobs had done for years.

    Here’s the problem- this guy has less than 1% of showmanship that Steve Jobs had essentially developed over a course of a lifetime.

  • Corey Richardson

    Uhhhh, sorry to burst your bubble. The tablet was manufactured well before the iPad. The iPad was a straight up copy of Microsoft. The only difference was Apple stretched their limited iPhone OS to the iPad and renamed it iOS. Everythign Apple has done to date, Microsoft has already done. Even Google has already done it all. The biggest difference is marketing. Apple can market the shit out of anything. Apple could sell sqaure tires if they tried. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve owned every iPhone to date and I’m a huge fan. But this year I’m giving up the Apple products and going back to Microsoft. Windows Phone 8 looks amazing.

  • Corey Richardson

    I’ve been extremely disappointed with iOS 5 and iOS 6. They’ve lost thier ability to release what we want. Instead, Apple continuously gives us features that we “need”. Oh, and don’t forget that these features are BRAND NEW… to iOS. SIRI? It’s been avaialble on Windows Phone and Android for a while now, and both platforms outperform SIRI hands down. Don’t even get me started on the lack of Enterprise support in iOS devices – it’s ridiculous. And one thing that’s been driving me crazy with iOS – App icons. Android was the first to make an impression with Widgets. But then Micrsoft 1-upped everyone with Live Tiles. I can see everythign in all my apps from my home screen, which is amazing. Why hasn’t Apple been paying attention to the details? Instead they released iMessage which is a massive flop. Have any of you been sent an iMessage Group Chat? Yeah, you can’t leave them and are stuck in them until you disable iMessage. And what about the massive security flaw with iMessage? Apple used to release a quality product, and only a quality proudct. But they their too busy playing catch up and trying to convince the users that they are the first to bring features, when in fact they have already been available. Microsoft and Google should be marketing their products better. They’re missing out because both Platfiorms are just as good, if not better… The biggest thing with iOS is Applications. But is it? I searched the Windows Marketplace and Google Play for all my apps. Guess what, they all exist. Windows Marketplace is like the AppStore and GooglePlay with all the crapware filtered out. No, there is no 100 fart apps, thankfully.
    I’m dumping iOS this fall in favour of a Microsoft Tablet (probably the Surface) and a Windows Phone 8 device. I’ll get everythign I already have, plus more customization and functionality. Not to mention integration, whcih iOS is severly lacking when it comes to the massive walls separating it. Oh, whoope, I suppose iOS has Twitter integration (and soon Facebook), yippie… Little late on that one as well…

  • jabohn

    Not quite buddy. Steve Jobs made it clear that the iPad was in development long before the iPhone came to be. They actually put the iPad on hold and built the iPhone instead, so actually the “iOS” started out as a tablet OS first.

  • K3

    Not bursting my bubble Apple leads the way right now in product development and in presentation, anything else is second tier and the company “war chest” proves it.

    My point is Microsoft just comes off looking less than second tier- give Ballmer a comb over, twisty stache, a bottle of snake oil and that could complete the picture.

    “great artists steal” and then Microsoft pretends they’re the only ones.

  • Cormang

    The tablet existed well before the development of iOS or the iPad. Therefore, how could MIcrosoft copy the iPad when they had an operating system for touch screen slates almost a decade before Apple? Apple’s success is not becuase they have great products, its because they use the media very well. Both Microsoft and Android have similar products that do more and are better integrated, but lack the attention from the media. Apple is all about marketing, and it will catch up to them. They are lagging behind on just about everything. They are yesterday’s Microsoft at this point. It doesn’t get any better when you think about the gap that RIM will be leaving in the Enterprise market. It’s about to be left to Microsoft, who already have the infratructure in the majority of organizations to support all their upcoming products including WP8. Apple, does not and neither does Google. Both companies rely on third parties to offer management solutions which is very costly. It’s going to be interesting come this fall.
    I’ve been an Apple guy for a long time. But how can I ignore the fact that there are better products which do what my iOS device does, but better. Not forgetting that Apple has yet to bring anything “revolutionary” in the last 3 major updates for iOS. And the biggest disappointment of all time with iOS? The notification center… Where are the live icons? Or at least widgets? Where’s the real integration? Where’s the ActiveSync support (it has it, but it’s terrible)? Where’s the mobile device management? Where’s the customization? iOS 7 better be big or Apple is in big trouble…

  • shockme

    Actually, the point of the author was that the HP tablet product described in Balmer’s presentation (this particular following the iPad, but Gates had shown tablets before) never shipped. He is suggesting that the Surface may face a similar fate. MS has been flogging tablet operating systems since 1998 but nothing ever came of them.

    I think Windows 8 is the best they’ve done yet at trying to do touch-based computing. I believe it has better chance than their previous efforts to succeed at least among enterprise clients who believe that Office is the only form of content creation that people do.

  • shockme

    Hopefully your transition to the Surface will introduce you to a little thing we like to call the paragraph.

  • xxJDxx

    What are all these features that you want not “need”? Microsoft and android outperform Siri? Last comparison I saw it was like half a second. Not to mention Siri is still in beta and probably has an update coming soon. What all do you want integrated??
    Honestly if you are thinking about switching then adios. I got suckered in by all the “android is better” BS u see from fanboi’s online and bought the galaxy tab 10.1, boy was that a mistake. Crashing apps, apps that flat out didn’t work for MONTHS before they were updated to support my device. I’m STILL waiting for ICS and we are nearing the release of Jelly bean. I would trade it in a heartbeat for an iPad.
    Seems to me with google now favoring “nexus” devices for first upgrades they are realizing the advantages of having less hardware to deal with and they too are moving more towards apples model of pre selected hardware.

  • Big O

    Microsoft released the tablet in 2002, ipad was 2010. Surface this year. Who is copying who? Who cares… What everyone but apple seems to miss is the simplicity and ‘expected behavior’ of the device. They have the best user experience. You can give one to your nontechnical grandmother and she will be watching movies on it in no time. I am not an apple fan boy, I don’t own an ipad, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize its a technical device that works for non technical people. Its user experience for the masses that sells the device, bottom line.

  • K3

    “” They are lagging behind on just about everything. They are yesterday’s Microsoft at this point. ” when had Microsoft or Android ever have there company valued at 500 Billion?

    ” its because they use the media very well. ” if they’re is a potential for a high consumer demand on day one of a product release and they have the ability to use the media very well, any given company will do it. That’s most likely what stirs up the “have to have it” feeling in a potential customer.

    But as for Microsoft and Android having similar products that do more and are better integrated you have to think back on how Steve didn’t want the customer to have the ability to open that computer. The essence is keep it simple.

    Also there’s probably a little bit of maximizing profit by not releasing a huge advancement in one shot and just going with small touches out at a time- it’s all about the little details 😉

  • Nailed it.

  • Great point. The iPad’s simplicity makes it work. Technology for the masses which we haven’t seen before since the original iPhone.

  • Big O

    I personally think its the key to Apples success. OSX, iOS, all of them are simple, intuitive, and do what they need to. Everyone has the same features more or less, its all in the presentation…

  • ????Dennis

    Who cares if anyone is using Apple’s idea. I’m just glad there is competition. If there wasn’t, apple wouldn’t feel the need to give us a better product.

    Fanboys are just defensive of Apple because they have already invested into all their products and don’t want to feel like there is a better product out there.

    I love the way Apple designs their product, but just wish my iPhone’s iOS wasn’t so damn boring. It’s the same shit I’ve had since 2007.

    But wait! We will be able to use FaceTime on 3G in iOS…… so lame… Apple is sexy but boring in bed.

  • John Adams

    The “it’s just all marketing” reasoning for Apple’s success gets so old and boring and I’m sure is insulting to many Apple product owners.

    You can argue semantics about who technically had a tablet first (do you ignore the Newton?) but Apple succeeds because they have specific targets and goals for their products.

    Of course this limited focus is also the reason Apple products won’t be for everyone.

  • Cindy

    So you’ve decided to switch to another mobile OS based on actually seeing, using, and being widely released? Obviously no, just on what we’ve been told and hope to see.

    That tells us everything we need to know about your decision.

  • Kev

    when had Microsoft or Android ever have there company valued at 500 Billion?”

    Microsoft set the record for highest market cap ever ($619 billion) back in 2000, and if you put that into today’s dollars, it’s over $800 billion.

    I agree with a lot of Cormang’s points. And the guy who said “apple is sexy but bad in bed” lol. I’m a big fan of apple iOS products, but they have really gotten lazy. iOS6 is really nothing special, what with all the “new features” mainly being improvements to features they were too lazy to get right the first time around.

    I’m expecting Apple to take a bit of a drop over the next few years. Face it. Iphones were the thing to have once the 4 dropped and a ton of people got them. It was sexy, it was flashy, and Android didn’t really compete at that time. But that’s all changed. And with Apple dropping support for iOS devices so fast (ipad 1, iphone 3G & 3GS), it doesn’t take people long to figure out that there are similar/better products out there for less money. Think about it. The 3GS could hardly run iOS4 and that was when it was only the previous gen device. A lot of people don’t want to upgrade phones every year when they’re getting the exact same thing they had previously, especially when the only major improvements are speed and the number in the name. So now with all of the 4’s getting a lot closer to contract expiration – or at least being eligible for another phone subsidy – I don’t think the iphone 5 will have quite the same draw this time around. From everything we’ve seen, it’s taller and faster. That’s it. The new Galaxy’s blow it away aesthetically. And the new iOS is basically identical to iOS5. Big deal. There’s really no incentive for consumers there.

    Personally, I’m gonna stick with my 4, but I’m buying a Galaxy. If Apple makes a new iPhone that’s significantly better I’ll definitely get it, but right now they’re running on fumes. Android is catching them, Microsoft is catching them, and unless Apple pulls a surprise move with a new product, my bet is that they get passed in the next couple years.

  • Ha ha! “Apple is sexy but boring in bed.” That’s awesome. Unfortunately I know what you’re talking about. For the most part, I’m satisfied, because my iPhone does everything I need it too, but it has been falling behind in some features the last few years. Thank goodness for the App Store. If it weren’t for a constant flood of new and updated apps, this thing could feel pretty dated pretty quick.

  • ????Dennis

    Exactly! Lucky for the lingerie store… Oops I mean App store.

  • shockme

    Actually, the 3GS IS getting iOS6. The puzzle is why the original iPad is not.

    The Galaxy S III is a nice phone. If you are heavy Google user, you would be stupid not to get one. I don’t care for the size personally or the pentile screen. But the screen isn’t that bad and there a couple advantages to a larger screen, like the possibility of a larger capacity battery and potentially larger targets for larger fingers.

    I think some iPhone 4 folks coming off contract here in July may make the jump to Android since there are some very good deals to be had on the hardware. Others may wait to see what features the iPhone 5 has and what it looks like before switching to Android. Still others will snap up the new iPhone like crazy.

    Since I have an iPhone 4S, I will be waiting to go off contract in the fall of 2013. So, I will likely purchase whatever comes after the next generation of iPhone.

  • You know it’s gotten bad when people are no longer applauding at the keynote because their mind is blown. They’re applauding because FINALLY iOS will be getting these features. Facebook integration, Facetime over 3G, do-not-disturb mode, there really wasn’t much mind-blowing stuff announced for iOS 6 when you think about it.