Who Said That? 10 Unbelievable Quotes From Microsoft Execs

steve ballmer head in hands

Last week, Microsoft exec Ron Markezich was quoted saying that for every $1 companies spend on Microsoft software, they need to spend $6 getting it to work right.

That’s an amazing statement coming from somebody in Microsoft’s own sales department. But it’s not the first time that a Microsoftie has stuck his foot in his mouth.

See if you can identify which Microsoft exec made each of the following 10 statements.

To keep it fair, we only took one quote per exec — otherwise, the entire quiz could consist of Steve Ballmer putting his foot in his mouth.

Craig Mundie, chief technical officer, March 2011

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. The kicker: he might actually be right.

Steve Ballmer, shortly after Apple's first iPhone announcement in January 2007

Here's the excerpt on video.

Hint: the product was the second generation Zune.

J. Allard, Chief Experience Officer, November 2007

He also had some interesting things to say about the troubles facing the recording industry.

Robbie Bach, Entertainment & Devices President, April 2010, talking about Verizon.

Apparently he didn't have high expectations from Verizon's execs.

Ray Ozzie, then chief software architect, in November 2005

Six years later, the company's share of ad revenue is below 10%. Microsoft's ad revenue in the fourth quarter of calendar 2010 was $632 million. The Internet Advertising Bureau said that total online ad revenue during the quarter was $7.25 billion -- just in the United States.

Paul Maritz, who oversaw development platforms, in July 1997.

He was talking to InfoWorld about Microsoft's approach of creating custom extensions to Sun's Java language to work better on Windows, undercutting the 'write once, run anywhere' goal of Java.

Jim Allchin, then Windows chief, in an internal email in January 2004.

The full email came to light during an antitrust case that went to trial in Iowa.

Charles Songhurst, GM of corporate strategy, in September 2009.

He was talking to an audience of investors, contrasting Windows 7 with its predecessor. (Click here for a Word document transcript.) Perhaps the most surprising thing here is that it took so long for Microsoft to publicly admit it.

Kevin Johnson, who led Microsoft's Online business, in February 2007.

The feeling wasn't mutual, and a few months later, Microsoft abandoned its bid for Yahoo.

Hint: this person was addressing Steve Jobs, not Steve Ballmer.

Bill Gates, then CEO, in a 1989 edition of MacWeek.

He was talking about Apple's 'look and feel' lawsuit alleging that Windows copied the Mac. Gates's point was that Apple had gotten a lot of ideas for the Mac GUI after touring Xerox PARC labs. So did Microsoft, as Paul Allen tells in his recent memoir, 'Idea Man.'

That's not the only great story about Bill Gates in the early days.

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