Microsoft bought Skype to keep Google from buying Skype.
Notice I didn’t mention Apple. In terms of being the baddest
MoFo in the market Apple has no peer, but Apple is following its
own very different course. Apple isn’t the next Microsoft, you
see. Apple is not the next anything because the role it aspires to
transcends anything imaginable by Microsoft, ever. Google is the
next Microsoft, so Google is seen by Ballmer as the immediate
threat — the one he has a hope in hell of actually doing
This is Cringely at his best. I think he’s nailed something true: Ballmer doesn’t now and never has understood Apple. He doesn’t understand what Apple does, what it aspires to, or what consumers see that’s so appealing about Apple’s products. But he understands Google, including the ways that Google’s products threaten Microsoft’s.
Remember when Ballmer made a fool of himself in 2007 by laughing about the iPhone’s prospects? That’s because he didn’t get it. It wasn’t just bluster or spin — I think he truly believed that “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” I don’t recall him ever exhibiting a similar blind spot regarding Google. That’s not to say he knows what to do about Google, just that he at least understands it.
★ Monday, 16 May 2011