Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer knows he messed up mobile while at Microsoft, according to Reuters, but he won't let that get in the way of taking the better mobile device away from his new basketball team. In a profile on Mr. Ballmer and the L.A. Clippers, Mr. Ballmer said that the team's iPads are out, but not until the off season.
Steve Ballmer at a Clipper's Rally
Mr. Ballmer bought the Clippers for US$2 billion from Donald Sterling after the disgraced billionaire won a lifetime ban from the NBA for making racist comments on tape. Earlier in 2014, Mr. Ballmer retired from Microsoft, where he spent some 14 years as CEO.
Reuters interviewed him for its profile, where he apparently acknowledged his company's failures in the mobile space.
"And do I wish a higher percentage of today's mobile devices were ours and we had birthed that category?," he said. "Yes, of course I do."
That won't keep him from making the Clippers an all-Microsoft team, though, at least on the corporate side (there's nothing in the story about the team's personal choices). According to the article, Mr. Ballmer said:
Most of the Clippers are on Windows, some of the players and coaches are not. And Doc kind of knows that’s a project. It's one of the first things he said to me: 'We are probably going to get rid of these iPads, aren’t we?' And I said, 'Yeah, we probably are.' But I promised we would do it during the off season.
So, Surface tablets aren't good enough to win customers, but Mr. Ballmer thinks they're good enough to help win basketball games. At least after the off season.
I don't have much time for sports in my life these days, but to me, it's one thing to ban your family from using products from your direct competitor. I mean, it's kind of stupid, but I get where it comes from. Seriously, instead of banning competing products, why not take the opportunity to explore the question of why your own family prefers the products of your competitors instead of the products that helped make said family rich rich rich?
But I digress: it's one thing to ban your family from using products from your direct competitor. It's another thing to keep your two billion dollar professional basketball team from using the tools they think will help them win in the name of blind support to your alma mater.
Don't get me wrong. Steve Ballmer has more success in his little finger than I do in all the fingers typing out this story. And then some, and then some more. I know this. I respect this. But blind devotion to Microsoft in his new gig as billionaire basketball team owner seems silly.
But what the heck. It's his team. I wish him and the Clippers all the success in the world.