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Ballmer: Macs Don't Get the Full MS Office, Don't Work in Business

Ballmer: Macs Don't Get the Full MS Office, Don't Work in Business

by , 12:55 PM EDT, October 10th, 2008

In a recent interview with PC Magazine, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unloaded on Apple and the "Get a Mac" ads. Along the way he asserted that Macs "don't really get full Microsoft Office" and that Macs don't work in the business place.

In a chat with Carlos Mendoza, Mr. Ballmer spoke to Microsoft's new ad campaign and how it addresses Apple's.

Ballmer: "...you'll see us be much more vigorous about stating the case for the PC. The truth of the matter is, this is ironic. The PC outsells the Mac 33 to 1—32 to 1. And despite the fact that we don't sell PCs, we only sell Windows to people who make PCs. And the attack is actually on the PCs, interestingly enough. You'll see us defend the PC. We're going to talk about why -- look, PCs are better than Macs. That is not something that can be debated. [TMO emphasis] 32 out of every 33 times, somebody buys a PC instead of a Mac. I'm not saying that there are not some things that people like about Macs, apparently there are. But have you ever seen a cheap Mac? No."

Mr. Ballmer continued and assessed Macs in general and their use in business.

"You know, they like to act like Macs are lightweight, there are much lighter weight PC notebooks. Macs -- do they have the best battery power? Of course they don't have the best battery power. Macs tend to have nice screens, but can you get nicer screens for a PC? Of course. Do Macs work in business? No, they do not."

In another excerpt, Mr. Ballmer addressed MS Office for the Mac, a product his company earns many hundreds of millions of dollars on each year. First, however, he seemed to suggest that the range of options for something as simple as a mouse is very limited for the Mac.

Ballmer: "I'm very sensitive to exactly what mouse I have on my laptop. Can you find a range of choices? [for the Mac] Of course you can't find a range of choices. You know, anyway -- can you find the applications you want on the Mac? Well, you don't really get full Microsoft Office."

Finally, in another quote, Mr. Ballmer explained why he thinks Apple opened its own retail stores:

"Apple started doing stores because nobody wanted to sell their PCs. Okay?"

The interview is quite long, covers a wide range of issues, and reveals Mr. Ballmer's unique view of the industry and Apple. It's illuminating to see Mr. Ballmer's view of Apple from his CEO position. Sometimes very high level executives roll up small bits of information as mental, convenient tidbits that makes them feel like they understand a complex situation. When it comes out verbally, it can sound like ignorance. Or, Mr. Ballmer does understand the realities, but finds it politically unacceptable to address them in a framework familiar to Apple customers. That's yet another kind of American CEO-speak.

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