Steve Ballmer at All Things Digital D8 Conference

Steve Jobs entertained the masses with his D8 interview, which was by relatively low key for him. Now for the other side, here are the video highlights of Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher interviewing Ray Ozzie and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft. Ballmer is the CEO of Microsoft and Ozzie is the Chief Software Architect, the position previously held by Bill Gates.

Ballmer and Ozzie direct a company that dominates the computer world.  Windows runs on approximately 95% of the PCs in the world. And yet the D8 folks offer up just a couple of videos compared to a much larger selection from Jobs. I’m mot trying to say that the D8 people are playing favorites, while they may be. But I am saying that Ballmer and Ozzie are just not as interesting an interview. Could this be one of the reasons Microsoft struggles to gain mind share despite its overwhelming dominance?

Cloud Computing

Ozzie said that cloud devices are such that people want to buy it, log in and light it up. He gets the issue of cloud computing for the average person. But Microsoft has not really been playing successfully in this area. After the release of Microsoft Office with Web Apps, we will see how the company competes in the cloud. It was strange that they didn’t even mention this during the interview, according to transcripts.

Microsoft also  updated Windows Live Essentials, a collection of add-ons for Windows. Their new Photo Gallery tool is excellent and I’m using Live Writer to compose this article. But as good as those tools are, you wouldn’t even know they existed if you listened to Ballmer.

Microsoft and Mobile

Ballmer admitted that Microsoft has fallen off the face of the planet” which it comes to mobile phones. He also said, We missed the whole cycle.” There is no reason not to be totally frank about this. Everyone knows it. But Ballmer said they see this dynamic market as a great opportunity. That seems like a very positive spin on being fifth behind Nokia, RIM, Apple and Google Android after starting out as a strong player. As recently as five years ago when you either ran Pocket PC, Blackberry or Palm.


Either Ballmer and Ozzie didn’t talk long or didn’t say much of interest resulting in only two clips. These clips are not exactly earth-shattering or exciting. I also find it strange that the topic of Microsoft Office 2010 didn’t really come up. Here is CEO and Software Architect of the 2nd or 3rd largest company in the US, depending on what day it is, not even discussing the major release of one of their major cash cows. Office is coming in less than two weeks. It would be like Steve Jobs not mentioning the iPhone in his interview. If I were in the same position, I don’t care what Walt or Kara asked me, I would eventually pivot back to Office. “Cloud computing you ask. Office 2010 is going to be compatible with the cloud,” I would answer. “Mobile devices? We have Windows Phone 7 coming with versions of Office here is how they are going to work with our new Office 2010 coming June 15th,” I would answer.

If you want to read more, the liveblog from Engadget reveals a little more. The D8 liveblog is also available.

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