A Steve Ballmerism

Steve Ballmer:

How many of us have gone to a meeting with somebody who brought a tablet and then when it comes time to actually take notes, writes them down on pencil and paper. Or can’t get at the spreadsheet…or try to use it in terminal emulator mode…or take [a long time] to set up and turn their tablet into something that approximates a PC.”

Steve, let me be clear: shit like that doesn’t happen with people that have an iPad. If you see it happen, maybe it’s because they are using a Surface.



  • DJTaurus

    I cant believe all these years and haven’t figure out it yet…. and that guy is a CEO for god’s sake.

  • albertkinng

    First he laugh at the iPhone, then at the iPad… Why he push himself so hard to ignore that Apple nailed it?

  • GFYantiapplezealots

    People that do that should be fired immediately.

  • GTWilson

    Steve Balmer presiding over a meeting filled with people who don’t quite “get” tablets doesn’t come as a surprise.

    I suspect it happens daily over there.

  • sne

    Someone please, please put together a giant 80×40 character glowing green vt100 app and submit it as “BallmerMode”. Terminal emulator mode? Those must be some strange meetings.

  • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

    As someone whose daily routine is now mostly meetings, I can tell you there are two kinds of people at those meetings: people writing notes in notebooks, and people typing notes into tablets. As far “long time to setup”, flipping around your Otterbox stand and turning on your Bluetooth keyboard takes about as long to “setup” as it takes Ballmer to come up with a dopey sound bite. Imagine the quality of the people at his meetings that they have trouble with tablets?

  • Agarun Ilyaguyev

    “..or try to use it in terminal emulator mode…” Oh that Ballmer, he always knows what regular people want out of their devices.

    “..or take [a long time] to set up and turn their tablet into something that approximates a PC.” Right, because that totally is what made iPad popular.

    I do agree on taking [handwritten] notes though. Capacitive touchscreens are nowhere near fast or accurate enough for that, yet, and those rubbery capacitive styli really suck. That said, even with a dedicated stylus support, I wouldn’t touch Surface Pro (with its bipolar PC OS and 4hr battery life) with a 10ft pole.

    • Player_16

      …or a 4″ capacitive styli.

    • GFYantiapplezealots

      Maybe not for you, but I type on an iPad screen A LOT faster than i can write notes.

      • Agarun Ilyaguyev

        While usage models differ from person to person, I challenge you to type out complex physics or calculus equations (riddled with special Latin characters and multiple fractions and square roots) in your notes, and be able to do it effectively

  • lucascott

    Ballmer’s mistake seems to be that he thinks the average person wants or even needs things like terminal on a tablet.

    They don’t. Anymore than Excel is the only way to make a spreadsheet

    • Brian Mauter

      iSSH is one of my favorite apps on my iPads. It even resides on the dock!

  • thirdopticaltool

    I think having an iPad for referencing documents, and a pad of paper for jotting notes, is totally reasonable. Just because something theoretically could take place digitally doesn’t mean it has to. I keep a paper pad next to my desktop computer, for goodness sake, because sometimes I just want to jot down a note.

    Balmer – how about solving problems, instead of just trying to shoehorn your devices between people and the processes that work for them? That’s always been MS’s problem, they think in terms of “how can we stick ourselves in there?” instead of “what problems can we solve?”

    • graxspoo

      Exactly. Microsoft thinks in terms of “How can we leverage the technology we control to our advantage?” They do not think in terms of “How can we create a delightful end user experience?”

  • http://blog.charlespinker.com/ Charlie

    I use both – an iPad to refer to a document that is relevant to the meeting, and paper to make notes. This is still faster than switching between apps on iOS. But then acknowledging this sort of use case doesn’t allow you to make your sarcastic generalisations that you’ve got so good at ;)

  • Zack Self

    uhm… it happens all the time with iPads. Many meetings are attended by wealthy managers, 55+ whose spouse bought them an engraved iPad and who have not changed their workflow an iota. it’s a dumb statement if meant to disparage the device, but dumber still to respond to it.

  • windozehater

    like sweaty steve would throw away his 24kt gold Mont Blanc, just to take notes at the command line, i would bet he throws a lot of stuff at the wall because the battery died, or beats his wife for a bad dinner,,,Sweaty Steve < turdblossom