Microsoft chief dreams of “world of no reboots”
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted the company intentionally accepted some early compatibility problems to make sure Vista was as secure as possible. But he claims customer complaint figures show Vista is better than previous editions of Windows.
Ballmer spoke at an event hosted by the Churchill Club, which bills itself as “Silicon Valley’s premier business and technology forum”. Asked by a “long-time Windows user” why a firm the size of Microsoft can’t make its system more reliable, Ballmer fortunately avoided the crazed outburst of a recent installment of the 'I’m a PC' commercials.
Instead he explained that the early compatibility problems with Vista were a necessary trade-off to maximize security. He also pointed to the difficulties of producing a system such as Windows designed for multiple uses rather than a single-function device. And he laid out Microsoft’s goal as “a world of no reboots and user happiness.”
Among the other topics Ballmer discussed was the ongoing credit crunch; he acknowledged the IT industry isn’t immune to economic problems, but pointed out Microsoft’s business is spread worldwide, which helps smooth out the effects of national booms and busts.
He said Microsoft is still aiming to compete with Google in the search market, but that his previous prediction of being a credible challenger inside five years was partly based on buying out Yahoo. However, he insisted Microsoft is likely the only company which will ever stand a chance of giving Google a run for its money. And he acknowledged the firm is prepared to take a five to ten percent dip in income to work towards that goal.
Ballmer also discussed the challenges of Apple in the smartphone market. His take is that Apple’s insistence of tying hardware and the Apple software will limit its success. Instead he argues that the open source Symbian system and Linux-based systems such as Google’s Android are a bigger challenge to Windows Mobile.