People who work for for-profit companies, especially large ones, are always a bit uninteresting to interview, with media training and marketing instructions taking out all the sharp edges. CNet interviewed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and they got some very interesting quotes from the love-him-or-hate-him CEO.
CNet started by asking about Windows 7 and when it will be released to the public. They wonder whether or not Ballmer is pushing the Windows team to get it out the door in 2009. “I’m not pushing the team hard, the team is pushing itself,” Ballmer replied, “They set some goals and objectives and of course we’ll ship the product when it’s both right and ready and when we know when that is, we’ll share that.”
Ballmer acknowledges that Vista didn’t get a very warm welcome, but he believes that with Windows 7, it will be different. “With Windows 7, we’re able to build compatibly off of Vista and really sort of just tune, if you will, the user interface, the performance,” Ballmer explains, “And at the end of the day, it’ll be what the users think of the product that we’re building, and we’ll start getting beta feedback this week.”
The interviewer then moved the discussion towards netbooks, and Microsoft’s actions in that territory. Ballmer isn’t shy to flat-out state that Vista isn’t a fit for netbooks. “We’re doing very well with Windows XP, which fits. Vista does not fit, and we’re working hard to make sure Windows 7 fits very well on the Netbooks.” Ballmer states. He added: “You know, from a business perspective, low-cost machine means a little less revenue per unit to Microsoft, but I think it gives us an opportunity to see expansion of the overall PC market.”
The remainder of the interview deals with the economic crisis, and Microsoft’s performance when it comes to the search market, competition with Google, and the soap surrounding Yahoo. It’s an interesting read.