Steve Ballmer: Android is too wild and iOS is too tightly controlled

By on November 15, 2012, 4:30 PM

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently sat down with LinkedIn co-founder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman at a Churchill Club event to discuss a wide variety of tech topics. Of particular interest during the chat were Ballmer’s comments on the top players in the mobile space.

Specifically, Redmond’s chief said Google’s Android ecosystem was a little wild, pointing out compatibility issues and vulnerability to malware as two serious problems. He believes these problems are directly related to having multiple versions of Android out in the wild and having a large number of manufacturers that produce hardware running the operating system.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ballmer noted that Apple has tight control over their system and prices are quite high. He pointed to the $1,000 MSRP of an iPhone in Russia. Thinking out loud, he asked how one could get a premium product in a more relaxed ecosystem without paying a fortune for it. His answer, of course, was a clever segue into discussing Windows Phone 8.

Ballmer said that wireless providers around the world are only really interested in three vendors. Apple and Samsung have the high-end market on lock but there’s also a flood of low-end devices as a cheaper alternative.

He essentially feels this customer set should be able to get a great phone with great software as well. It’s Microsoft's (and seemingly, Nokia's) strategy with Lumia as even the high-end 920 will only set you back $99 with a typical two-year service agreement.

Ultimately he is a realist and knows that Windows Phone 8 won’t be an instant success. “There is unmet need from operators and, from a consumer perspective, a lot of room for innovation,” he said. “The challenge is to get 10 percent of the smartphone market, and then 15 percent, and then 20 percent. We aren't trying to get to 60 percent overnight.”




User Comments: 16

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VitalyT VitalyT said:

My man!

Whatyasaying? Meh, don't matter, you're the man! Nock'em dead!

Ray Sanford Ray Sanford said:

Ballmer is late to the game with an inferior product. I'll stick with an Apple or Android phone.

1 person liked this | Chazz said:

If you actually used the product you wouldn't be saying that.

1 person liked this | Ray Sanford Ray Sanford said:

Tried it at the Verizon store. Hated it.

Guest said:

I used a WP7 with mango since release 2 years ago, Switched to Android a few months back and have no regrets, WP7 lacked apps I waited 2 years and not anymore. The OS was fine( on WP7) and looked great but till they get apps its alway gonna be there down side IMO.

1 person liked this | Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think it's time for M$ to find a new ceo. Ballmer has been out of touch for way too long.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Tried it at the Verizon store. Hated it.

5 minutes of use is hardly a valid comparison and you sound a bit closed minded. The platform has a lot going for it. Cross platform development (you can re-use your business logic in WinPhone, on Windows based tablets, Android and Linux via Mono and of course, Windows), fresh interface (doesn't just look like iPhone++), it actually uses a lot of screen real estate in a reasonable manor.

I still use Android but a few of my colleagues are Win Phone devs so we get a bit of exposure here.

1 person liked this | psycros psycros said:

I think it's time for M$ to find a new ceo. Ballmer has been out of touch for way too long.

The problem is that Ballmer is a bean counter, and that's about it. He's easily impressed by a shiny new thing regardless of its market relevance. Unfortunately, Microsoft has neither a zombie following like Apple nor a bottom-up hacker culture like Google. Microsoft displaced IBM because it understood the consumer market and IBM didn't. Now Microsoft is the one who's forgotten how to deliver a product that makes sense to the average user. Windows 8 is about as intuitive and attractive as a tax return. Euro-minimalism = designer laziness and universal <I>un</I>appeal. After decades of increasing eye candy and user empowerment, its the computing equivalent of Prohibition. With Sinofsky gone, Ballmer has no one left to throw under the bus when the numbers finally come out.

Redondo said:

I think it's time for M$ to find a new ceo. Ballmer has been out of touch for way too long.

The problem is that Ballmer is a bean counter, and that's about it. He's easily impressed by a shiny new thing regardless of its market relevance. Unfortunately, Microsoft has neither a zombie following like Apple nor a bottom-up hacker culture like Google. Microsoft displaced IBM because it understood the consumer market and IBM didn't. Now Microsoft is the one who's forgotten how to deliver a product that makes sense to the average user. Windows 8 is about as intuitive and attractive as a tax return. Euro-minimalism = designer laziness and universal <I>un</I>appeal. After decades of increasing eye candy and user empowerment, its the computing equivalent of Prohibition. With Sinofsky gone, Ballmer has no one left to throw under the bus when the numbers finally come out.

Woah there Johnny, classic Win shell is only a click away. The Start button is already replicated by 3rd party software. Leave the Metro impact to the tech naive. W8 is still an improved Win7 under the hood. The GUI is skin deep. Kind of unfair to bang down on an OS because you don't like an *additional* interface.

Khanonate said:

I think it's time for M$ to find a new ceo. Ballmer has been out of touch for way too long.

The problem is that Ballmer is a bean counter, and that's about it. He's easily impressed by a shiny new thing regardless of its market relevance. Unfortunately, Microsoft has neither a zombie following like Apple nor a bottom-up hacker culture like Google. Microsoft displaced IBM because it understood the consumer market and IBM didn't. Now Microsoft is the one who's forgotten how to deliver a product that makes sense to the average user. Windows 8 is about as intuitive and attractive as a tax return. Euro-minimalism = designer laziness and universal <I>un</I>appeal. After decades of increasing eye candy and user empowerment, its the computing equivalent of Prohibition. With Sinofsky gone, Ballmer has no one left to throw under the bus when the numbers finally come out.

He still has some chairs...

PinothyJ said:

I try to love Android but it goes out of my way to ensure I have no control and the applications on my device have it all. Imagine you had a program on your computer that you like to use, so you are not going to get rid of it, but you do not want to to load on start up and you do not want it to pop up when you close it down and yet it does both these things regardless of your actions. If this was the case you would have a piece of malware on your machine and your antivirus would get rid of it quick smart, but on an Android device they are called 'apps' and are the bread and butter.

Sigh...

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Woah there Johnny, classic Win shell is only a click away. The Start button is already replicated by 3rd party software. Leave the Metro impact to the tech naive. W8 is still an improved Win7 under the hood. The GUI is skin deep. Kind of unfair to bang down on an OS because you don't like an *additional* interface.
So you're saying needing to add something like "Rocket Dock",to get a start button, and BUY "Windows Media Center" software is the road forward?

It's a shame they charge for maps at the gas station nowadays.

Either that, or you should submit to the trifecta of being overcharged, and buy one,.

Guest said:

Hi there, guys I had 2 wp7 phones. First was the lg optimus 7 with wp7 on board. It was the worst decision in my whole life!No bluetooth sharing, no sd-card, no mass storage USB mode, no apps, navigation sucked big time, PC connection only by Zune, not to mention lack of mp3 ringtones. I bought 440 euros useless phone. Its not over yet, Microsoft is blind, they had been told about all the lacks not only from me but from 10000000 users worldwide, what they did? They removed our posts from MS forums:) Few weeks later phone was sold to my buddy for 250 euros. I almost lost my best friend because of stupid OS! He forced me to buy once again this piece of crap just to suffer together, so I did it and phone of my choice was HTC Mozart. Great handset killed by OS. After few updates we surrendered, nobody wanted to buy them from us. Not even for less then half price. Being so pissed on MS we blew up both phones with home made explosives, not a joke. I went for Moto Atrix and me buddy jumped on Galaxy s2. Since then I am the happiest man in solar system. Hate MS not for not doing but for not listening.

Guest said:

Android is too wild and iOs is too tightly controlled.. so he wants to say that Windowsphone is the best?

1 person liked this | Guest said:

> I bought 440 euros useless phone. Microsoft is blind, they had been told about all the lacks ... They removed our posts from MS forums. Few weeks later phone was sold to my buddy for 250 euros. I almost lost my best friend because of stupid OS! He forced me to buy once again this piece of crap just to suffer together, so I did it and phone of my choice was HTC Mozart. After few updates we surrendered, nobody wanted to buy them from us. Not even for less then half price. Being so pissed on MS we blew up both phones with home made explosives, not a joke.

Congratulations, I think thats the dumbest thing I've read in the last few days, on like a couple of levels...

OortCloud said:

"Euro-minimalism = designer laziness and universal unappeal."

Only under the anonymity of the internet would people think its OK to come up with nonsense like this and state it like fact. I (and a lot of other people) actually think the design of Modern UI and its predecessor in WP7 was sharp and clean. Sure its got its issues, as have all the OS's (especially a lack of apps) but I very much doubt these issues were due to "designer laziness". I expect an awful lot of people spent a huge amount of time and resource trying to pare-down the clutter from traditional GUI design to get to something more clean and to-the-point. It would have been much easier to copy the iOS/Android paradigm and have yet another 9 desktop panels side by side piled with app Icons.

Personally I do find it quite appealing, but then I am a "euro", so I guess my euro-ness must be just slightly outweighing my universal-ness.

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