MIX08: Steve Ballmer Interview

by Luke Wroblewski March 6, 2008

Guy Kawaski interviewed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in light-hearted but no holds barred conversation at Microsoft’s MIX08. A few interesting comments from Steve:

  • Microsoft has a real commitment to online advertising –it will be a “super big” business. Search is the killer application for online advertising. In Search, scale is important it drives ad relevance through volume.
  • Microsoft is doing four things: desktop business (other players include Apple, Linux), server & enterprise (other players include IBM, Oracle), entertainment & devices (including XBOX, Windows Mobile), and online (services and advertising).
  • Why is Ballmer still doing this? Loves what he does -at forefront of changing the world. Works with the smartest, most energetic folks in the world. Enjoys the challenge. Steve gets 60-70 emails a day. No filtering by admins or staff.
  • “Keep making great products.” That’s the bottom line for all companies.
  • Silverlight: as PC/Internet has grown up, we forced people to either do something that is broadly deployable/available or is rich application. Silverlight tries to bring these things together. Getting about 1.5 million downloads a day.
  • How can Microsoft do so many different things well? Company has to move forward or become irrelevant. Constantly have to broaden skill set: consumer electronics, online, etc.