Ballmer: Apple is a ‘low-volume player’

“In every category Apple competes, it’s the low-volume player, except in tablets.’

Oh, and that iPhone thing that’s as big as your entire company. Stay classy Ballmer.

  • Carlos

    Oh wow. This is like when he laughed at the iPhone in an interview in 2007. Stay blind, Ballmer.

  • studuncan

    And it’s in the top 5 for computer sales in the US.

    And somewhere in the top 5 for music players…

    Also apps.

  • rwitt

    And Microsoft is, increasingly, a low-relevance player.

    • And a low-revenue player. When will Ballmer figure out that the further Apple rises, the less the buying public are fooled by the constant misdirection toward volume/market-share? I guess Microsoft will have to start making some profits again before Ballmer admits that profits are the bottom line.

  • the man does a once great company no favours. ship him out and get someone in who isn’t a cock.

  • and music players, and music sales, and mobile software distribution, and movie sales, and tv show sales, and desktop computers, and laptop computers…

  • I think we’re being too sensitive. His statement may have been incorrect but I don’t think it was meant as a slap at Apple.

    • Steven Fisher

      I don’t think so either. But it does beg the question: Why the fuck would anyone ask Ballmer about Apple?

      If he understood Apple he wouldn’t be watching his company’s dominance slide away day by day.

    • LenJC1957

      Oh, yes it was ‘a slap at Apple.’ A delusional slap.

    • Completely agree. I think he more intended it as a statement of fact than a verbal slap. At least when it comes to OS X, Apple’s volume is relatively low compared to where Windows is at, though it is growing. That said, when it comes to phones, tablets, music players, music sales, online video, or apps, Apple is either the market leader or very near the top in terms of volume for all of those. Calling them a low-volume player is simply incorrect.

      • I think he more intended it as a statement of fact than a verbal slap.

        Ballmer: “In every category Apple competes”

        This is flat out wrong at best, a lie at worst. In mobile phones, tablets, PMPs and media distribution, Apple is a global player and Microsoft isn’t even in the game.

    • Mother Hydra

      It isn’t really a smack at apple per se. But this guy is famous for his big mouth writing checks his company can’t cash. He needs to shut his mouth and work hard, not grandstand in pompous fashion. What is this, a slow gas leak? It’s as if everyone in Redmon got blackberry-itis and they are laughing to their collective grave. Better ship Office for iPad if they want to keep operating with any sort of relevance.

    • There are not many ways to interpret this. He is flat out wrong. All Apple’s major divisions are firing on all cylinders. In movies, music and TV shows, Apple is a global player. iPods never lost their dominance in PMPs. The iPhone alone is worth more than Microsoft. Apple sold 100 million iPads in a little over two years.

      Is he wrong because he’s delusional, or is he wrong because he’s playing to this shrinking, more likely imaginary hardcore audience that is waiting for all things Microsoft? If he is unclear on just how badly Apple has outclassed and outsold Apple in phones AND tablets, he isn’t doing his job. If he is just telling a target audience what they want to hear, he’s pandering at best, deluded at worst.

  • If Apple can continue to best PC sales growth every quarter, then at what point does their marketshare position trigger a steep uptake in new adopters?

    They’re at, what, 14% US marketshare now? I have to imagine there’s an inflection point when we would see that number dramatically increase over a few years. When Mac’s go from niche to ubiquitous in the public’s mindshare.

    They won’t do it, and I don’t think they should (the iPad their their player in this space) but if there was an entry MacMini available at $299-$399, I wonder what it’s effect would be.

    • New adopter growth has been steady, which means Apple can more easily expand its operations without breaking anything.

      Do they actually ever need to get “ubiquitous”? Apple already sets the standards for hardware and UI design. “Niche” is working pretty well for them these days.

  • Boo

    Er, as a company selling COMPUTERS, Apple has one of the highest market shares and the last time I checked, sell more laptops than anyone else. They also have the best selling desktop and top selling laptop.

    When it comes to computers (not OS sales to the public or computer makers), music players and smart phones it is Microsoft that is a low volume player. Perhaps Ballmer is just hoping people won’t notice this and will buy their new little Surface craptop and Windows phones.

    Unfortunately, distraction is a poor marketing strategy.

  • Mother Hydra

    Windows 8 will be the last nail in Balmer’s coffin. His tacit complacency with regard to corporate infighting and their inability to ship a product without having a zero-day patch waiting via Windows Update should make everyone feel embarrassed over in Redmond. The fact that they bungled Office RT is another terribly planned release. Watching Balmer piss away everything that once made microsoft the 10 ton gorilla is sad and pathetic.

  • But it’s true. Windows sells more in one year than iOS devices have sold combined.

    • Spoken like a salesman… misdirect from the negative to accentuate the positive, even if the positive is irrelevant. Only an idiot cares about volume… what matters is profit. If Company A sells a million widgets each year for $1 each and Company B sells 10 widgets each year for $1,000,000 each which would you rather invest in… especially when Company A has a 28% profit margin and Company B has a 40% profit margin. Ballmer may or may not have been a good salesman but he has proven to be a disaster as a CEO.

    • Fact check: Apple announced two months back (i.e. before announcing the iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5th gen, iPad 4th gen, and iPad mini) that they had sold over 400 million iOS devices. With Microsoft’s best Windows launch (Windows 7), they achieved 400 million sales over the first two years. That is definitely faster than the five years it took iOS, but doesn’t match your claim. So, no, what you said is not true.

      Moreover, Windows sales have been falling since then. While Windows 7 started off strong, sales for it fell 125 million licenses short of Ballmer’s May 2011 prediction for where they would be by the end of 2011 (i.e. 525 million instead of the predicted 650 million). Windows 8 is not looking like it’ll fix the situation.

      In contrast, iPhone sales have been coming close to doubling each year for the last four years as each generation of iOS devices sells significantly more than the previous one (e.g.iPhone sales for each year starting in 2007 have been 1.5M, 11.6M, 20.7M, 40M, 72.3M, and 125M), and these devices are seeing active use, as evidenced by the fact that 200 million iOS devices were upgraded to iOS 6 in the very first month that it was available. If 200 million active users makes them a “low-volume player”, then just wait until next year when they’ll likely come close to doubling it again and will nearly match Microsoft’s best year in terms of volume.

      And, of course, none of this is even considering profit, which is far more important than volume.

  • Tvaddic

    Ballmer is right, they don’t sell a Ton of total phones or computers. But he has no right to criticize anything Apple does, except computers. The only thing they beat Apple in

    • Except… that MS doesn’t make computers…

      • Tvaddic

        True, they don’t make computers. But their strategy on making computers won single handily. From and Profit from and Market share prospective.

  • “Mr. Ballmer: We like our model, as we are evolving it.”

    AKA: We like the model of licensing out the OS as we continue to move into a more Apple-like model of controlling the hardware, software, and content ecosystem.

  • This is the first time I’ve actually heard Microsoft execs flat-out lie. Twist the truth, yes. Misdirect, yes. Obfuscate, yes. All the companies do it. But this is really weird. Straight-up, no-two-ways-about-it bullshit. I’m a bit surprised, to be honest. It takes balls to think you can do that.

  • “Big, Loud Sales Guy Shit-Talks Competition, Again Forgets Consumers Aren’t on His Staff.”

    Fixed the headline.