Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger
Steve Ballmer will not accept any talk that the Windows PC is past its prime.He was answering a question at the company’s shareholders’ meeting this morning in Seattle. The questioner asked what Microsoft thought about the contention that we’re in the “post PC era.”
Ballmer started off in his usual enthusiastic fashion: “We are in the Windows era — we were, we are, and we always will be.”
Later, he continued, “through the power of Windows, the PC will be a tablet machine, will be a reading machine, will be a note-taking machine.”
Ballmer also said that the PC has proven to be amazingly adaptable over the years, noting that it started off as a “programming machine,” then added applications like spreadsheets, music players, email, and Internet access.
He’s right about the past, but there seemed to be a bit of denial about the present, particularly when it comes to tablets.
Another shareholder asked why he couldn’t buy a Windows tablet today, and Ballmer pointed him to the Samsung tablets on display Microsoft Stores nearby. But those tablets run Windows 7, which was not built primarily for touch displays.
That’s the big advantage that Apple has with the iPad — it was built with touch in mind, and has more than 100,000 touch-enabled apps available for it. Microsoft is still about a year away from matching that with Windows 8, and even then it will take app makers (including Microsoft) some time to catch up with the apps.
Here’s an audio recording of the question and his answer to it: