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Ballmer Babies Banned From iPods and Google 554

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-one-way-to-slow-the-competition dept.
Valah writes "In a recent Fortune interview with Steve Ballmer, the newer kinder Microsoft CEO is not only ready to take on the videogaming, search, music download and mobile markets - but he's also laying down the law in his own house. Steve says that his kids are not allowed to use Google or have an iPod."
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Ballmer Babies Banned From iPods and Google

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  • by Mattygfunk1 (596840) * on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:56AM (#15018015)
    I've got my kids brainwashed: You don't use Google, and you don't use an iPod.

    I'd take the other approach - if they choose rival manufacturers then study first hand why they do so.

    First hand experience can tell you a lot more than market research sometimes, and might just give future MS products an edge.

    • by masklinn (823351) <slashdot@org.masklinn@net> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:00PM (#15018052)
      Whoa, study? It's Steve Ballmer we're talking about, if he as much as SEEs his kids anywhere near iPods or within 20m of a computer displaying a Google page it'll be Chair Throwing time, he'll Fucking Bury(TM) them. He's done it before and he'll do it again. He's going to Fucking Kill(TM) his children.
      • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:13PM (#15018198)
        Whoa, study? It's Steve Ballmer we're talking about, if he as much as SEEs his kids anywhere near iPods or within 20m of a computer displaying a Google page it'll be Chair Throwing time, he'll Fucking Bury(TM) them. He's done it before and he'll do it again. He's going to Fucking Kill(TM) his children.

        Yeaaaarrrgggghh! Honor me, children! HONOR MEEEEE! GIVE IT UP FOR MEEEEEEEEEE yeaaaaaar

        You know what you need? DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU NEED?!
        DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE *cough* DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE
        *hacking paroxysm* DISCi... *pants heavily* its all about the DISCIPLINe children... jesus.... fucking.. dis.. I... I.... *collapses in a puddle of sweat and desperation*

        • by inKubus (199753) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @05:22PM (#15020878) Homepage Journal
          GATES: Welcome, young Balmer. I have been expecting you.

          Balmer's son peers at the hooded figure defiantly. Gates then looks down at the boy's binders.

          GATES: You no longer need those.

          Gates motions ever so slightly with his finger and Balmer's Son's binders fall away, clattering to the floor. The boy looks down at his own hands, free now to reach out and grab Gate's neck. He does nothing.

          GATES: Guards, leave us.

          The red-, yellow-, green- and blue-cloaked guards turn and disappear behind the elevator.

          GATES (to Balmer's Son): I'm looking forward to completing your training. In time you will call me Master.

          BALMER'S SON: You're gravely mistaken. You won't convert me as you did my father.

          Gates gets down from his XP Console and walks up very close to Balmer's Son. Gates looks into his eyes and, for the first time, Balmer's Son can perceive the evil visage within the hood.

          GATES: Oh, no, my young Linux Admin. You will find that it is you who are mistaken...about a great many things.

          BALMER: His iPod.

          BALMER extends a gloved hand toward Gates, revealing his son's iPod. Gates takes it.

          GATES: Ah, yes, a Linux Admin's toy. Much like your father's Portable Media Center(tm). By now you must know your father can never be turned from the dark side. So will it be with you.

          BALMER'S SON: You're wrong. Soon I'll be dead...and you with me.

          Gates laughs.

          GATES: Perhaps you refer to the imminent attack of your Unix DoS Squad.

          Balmer's Son looks up sharply.

          GATES: Yes...I assure you we are quite safe from your friends here.

          BALMER looks at his son.

          BALMER'S SON: Your overconfidence is your weakness.

          GATES: Your faith in your friends is yours.

          BALMER: It is pointless to resist, my son.

          Gates turns to face Balmer's Son.

          GATES (angry): Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. (points to a NETSTAT on the monitor) Your friends out there on the Internet..

          Balmer's Son reacts. Gates notes it.

          GATES (cont): ...are walking into a trap. As is your DoS Squad! It was I who allowed the Alliance to know the IP of the open ports. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of BSA agents awaits them.

          Balmer's Son look darts from Gates to Balmer and, finally, to the iPod in Gate's hand.

          GATES: Oh...I'm afraid the firewall will be quite operational when your friends' packets arrive.

          TO BE CONTINUED
      • by Golias (176380) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:15PM (#15018214)
        I think you people are being too hard on the guy.

        He's just talking about believing in his product enough to feed his kids his own dog food.

        Wait. That came out wrong...
        • Don't worry, seeing how Vista's release date has continually slipped, his kids will probably never use that, either.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @03:12PM (#15019768)
          Posting this anonymously because even though I no longer work at Microsoft, I don't want them to know who I am or where I work now.

          Funny you should mention dog food. I'm a former Microsoft employee and "dogfooding" is what Microsoft calls internal betas, and "we eat our own dog food" is a pretty common expression at MSFT.

          Last night, as I was navigating around my new cell phone, I was thinking "This isn't a bad phone, but I liked the interface better on my old one (I didn't get another from that vendor because my old one broke too many times), but you know what? I wish Apple would start making cell phones. The UI would be the best; if they sold them, I'd buy one right now." That must be MSFT's worst nightmare. Or one of them, at least.

          Steve Ballmer makes reference in TFA to convergence devices, and to expect to see announcements from MSFT on that in the next twelve months. OK, maybe. Maybe they'll even succeed. But I think a more likely scenario for success would be Apple selling cell phone-iPod hybrids and eating Windows Mobile's lunch. Microsoft has some good products (sadly, those are usually the ones that get the least attention), but they don't have anything that competes with an Apple product that is as good as the Apple product. I'm sure an Apple cell phone would be that way, too.

          About Ballmer's kids, he only *thinks* they don't use Google. Would you want to be laughed at for being the only kid at school who didn't use Google and said "I'll MSN Search it and get back to you" (I'm not kidding, that's what people say at MSFT; you're not allowed to use Google as a verb. I was actually *ordered* not to say "google it" when I was a n00b there). I think what he should have said is "They don't use Google or iPods at home where I can keep tabs on them."

          His reference to having them brainwashed, though, was serious, I'm sure. That's the reason I left Microsoft: the culture is very brainwashed. The propaganda stream is unending. Most people at MSFT seem to truly believe that they are the most creative and innovative company in the world. IMO very few, even at the highest levels, realize they aren't. Well, the propaganda and brainwashing was a major aspect. The other is that I realized something that very few at MSFT do, or at least will talk about: as an innovator and leader, MSFT's day is done. IMO Microsoft reached it's zenith when Windows 95 and Office 97 were still on the market. Microsoft is still hungry, but has become to massive to be agile. The recent management shuffle involving Vista is a nice example of re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The people replaced were competent enough, and I'm sure the new ones are too, but they are no more likely to succeed. The organization, the group-think, the brainwashing, and the horrendous legacy code base and commitment to backwards compatibility, will sabotage their best efforts.
          • I'm a contractor at Microsoft and my fellow contractors and I use "google" as a verb--even my lead does it, and our homepages are all set to google (mine is google news, actually). Granted I'm not in the core Windows division, but I am at Microsoft and I am allowed an amount of freedom in which search engine I use.
      • "VB, much like generic beer and America's Funniest Home Videos is an enabling technology for stupid people." - Anonymous

        For some reason I thought VB stood for Victoria Bitter when I first read your sig. Then I realised you meant Visual Basic. Now I'm not sure again.

      • Goddamn, that's the funniest thing I've read all day, good use of TM there.

        On another note, how unpopular must Ballmer's kids be at school? No iPods or Google? Might as well tattoo kick me signs on their backs.

        At least when they rebel, it won't be to drugs or promiscuity, it'll be to the Itunes Music Store.

        • by Buran (150348) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @04:03PM (#15020206)
          No iPods or Google? Might as well tattoo kick me signs on their backs.

          It's worse. You don't parent by meddling in kids' lives to the point where you loom over them and not only say "You have to be home by 10pm, and you can't use the car" but then to also say "You can use the web to search but you can't search the way all your friends do" and "You can listen to music but you can't listen to it with what all your friends use" ... what is going to happen to these kids? They're going to be resentful of their father's repeated interference in their lives just becaise he doesn't like the brand of the devices they want to use. Kids have to learn to be responsible on their own and make their own informed choices, and a parent who interferes with their choices based on what you have to admit is an arbitrary criterion when it comes down to it is just going to find that his kids have no respect for him.

          When I was a kid my parents let me make my own choices. If I wanted to use brand X instead of brand Y that they preferred, it was my choice. They expected me to do my own research, and to make choices that were good for me and didn't get me in trouble, or anyone else in trouble. They had their preferences, sure, but if I wanted to buy item X with my weekly allowance, they let me buy it.

          A good parent does that. This isn't good parenting. It's not teaching the responsibility of making one's own choices, it's teaching that you should accept at face value that if someone else says that something is bad, it's bad, and to hell with the 99 people on one side of the room who say that you're making the wrong choice if Daddy gets it into his head that he, who is just one person, thinks he's right.

          My father never did that, and it got him respect. This is just going to get an attitude of "Damn parents meddling in my life". And so the circle of "my parents are idiots" continues, and therefore so does the circle of kids who are ever-ruder and have less and less respect for their parents by the day -- no, by the minute.
      • I have four words for you, I Love This House! YEAHHH!!!!
    • by aborchers (471342) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:00PM (#15018056) Homepage Journal
      I think this is great. Knowing how kids typically react to this kind of thing fom parents, we can be virtually assured they will rebel against MS as adolescents and grow up to be Linux developers!

       
    • And that summarizes the difference between a monopoly and a competitive landscape.

      In a monopoly, you're best off using

      • fear (if I catch you using Google I'll throw a chair at you)
      • and uncertainty (but can you really trust Google? It runs some free OS which can never scale as much as our expensive one) and
      • doubt (but a small company like Google, will they be around next year?)
      to keep your users.

      Balmer knows this, and he's practicing it on his kids.

    • Exactly! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:04PM (#15018115) Homepage Journal

      I'd take the other approach - if they choose rival manufacturers then study first hand why they do so.

      Knowing your enemy is certainly preferable to willful ignorance.

      Imagine Ballmer as a military commander: "No, I'd rather not examine the captured enemy secret weapon. From now on, all captured equipment shall be ignored! Any soldiers who say anything about the superior capabilities of the enemy equipment shall be placed in one of the suicide squads. Carry on, men! Carry on!"

    • by w3weasel (656289) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:06PM (#15018132) Homepage
      That is NOT an elephant hiding behind that tree... it's not there.
      -- S. Balmer
    • MS thinking (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gr8_phk (621180) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:09PM (#15018162)
      "First hand experience can tell you a lot more than market research sometimes, and might just give future MS products an edge."

      Clearly he doesn't care about his kids opinion of Google. Microsoft believes only in the positive feedback of a strong market position - we're popular because we're popular. By forcing his kids to use MS instead of Google or Apple, he's just doing his part to convert the masses one at a time. He thinks Microsoft just needs to reach a critical mass and they'll come to dominate whatever market they want - product quality is not an issue. This is backed up by the history where inferior MS products beat out supperior competition just because they got on more desktops. Remember when Gates told the folks at Apple he didn't need a superior product? So long as he could deploy to the IBM compatible world he'd capture the market.

      That old philosophy clearly still exists.

    • by ianscot (591483) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:19PM (#15018250)
      When Steve Jobs introduced the iTunes store, and earlier when he was selling recording execs on it, he was able to describe to them exactly what consumers did and didn't like about peer-to-peer networks and monthly subscription models.

      He could say "They want to be able to get individual songs on demand without a monthly fee, and P2P gives them that -- sort of -- but we can make the experience much better because look at all the frustrating hunting around and poor copies, and look at the lack of previews, and so on..." His experience with the actual user experience was obvious to anyone who saw the keynote thing.

      By contrast, here we have Ballmer patting himself on the back over not letting his kids use the competition's dominant product. He's using the word "brainwashed" about his own kids. Visionary leadership, I'm sure.

    • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:22PM (#15018281)

      It's right there in your quote:

      I've got my kids brainwashed: You don't use Google, and you don't use an iPod.

      There is the Microsoft business strategy in a nutshell. Do not debate relative merits, just brainwash your audience. Don't let them decide - tell them what they want.

    • by Roadkills-R-Us (122219) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @01:07PM (#15018706) Homepage
      He never said in the article that he forbade them to do anything!

      From what he said in the article, he's simply convinced them that MS has the better way to do things, and that's why they go the MS way. I did the same thing with my kids; I convinced them tat Linux is the better way, that every product has to be evaluated on its own merits. I also explained to them why I generally dislike MS. They will use Windows when they have to at work. They play XBox games, and if the right games come out only for XBox, or work best on XBox, my son will probably buy an XBox. But MS is never their first choice.

      He joked about brainwashing them, but I strongly suspect he's simply convinced them.
  • by yagu (721525) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ugayay]> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:57AM (#15018019) Journal

    From the article (emphasis mine):

    Do you have an iPod?

    No, I do not. Nor do my children. My children--in many dimensions they're as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I've got my kids brainwashed: You don't use Google, and you don't use an iPod.

    Well now I get a sense of where the inability to know the market comes from. Get a clue Ballmer -- to best compete with your competition you get to know them intimately.

    Your strongest plan to defeat you competition is to know them as if you were them!

    The only other plausible way to unseat a king is to have so much money and power and control of other resources that you can bludgeon him, beat him mercilessly until all of his resources are gone and you can take the ... Hmmmm. Never mind.

    • Survival of the fittest. Google is *the* search engine that returns the *best* results. If he's going to limit his children to a search engine that sucks (i.e. MSN) then his kids won't be as well informed as those that are permitted to use Google.

      This is like a father telling his children that they are only allowed to use Encyclopedias from 2001 instead of the 2006 edition.
    • Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. :)
    • by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:08PM (#15018152) Homepage Journal

      I'm gonna take a wild guess that Steve Ballmer is, in fact, capable of joking, and that his kids aren't really forbidden from using Google or iPods, but instead really are Microsoft supporters. It's not really unheard of for kids to be fanatical about things their parents are involved in.

      I expect that Ballmer's kids really are "brainwashed" in the sense that they believe in their dad and the company they work for. I doubt they've been actually forbidden from using it, they'd just rather use the tools their dad makes.

      I know I've heard plenty from my father about how the projects he works on are the world's greatest... I'm tempted to name names, but I think I'll pass for now.

  • by The-Bus (138060) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:58AM (#15018026)
    Considering Google's willingness to appease the biggest government censor (China), I don't doubt that Google will also censor itself in Ballmer's home, if IPs were given out. And another th--

    WAIT... Steve Ballmer has human children?!?
  • That'll work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by illtron (722358) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:59AM (#15018032) Homepage Journal
    Telling kids what they're not allowed to do/have will certainly make them stop wanting to do/have whatever it is. It'll work for sure.

    On the other hand, if the alternative is being thrashed about like a rag doll by a sweaty man-ape...
  • by Vengeance (46019) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:59AM (#15018033)
    Another generation of the wealthy and clueless.

    No Google, indeed... Similarly, I do not allow my children to use 'legs'.
  • No NON Microsoft products in his house.
  • But... (Score:5, Funny)

    by J05H (5625) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:00PM (#15018045) Homepage
    But... Dad!! All the other kids are doing it!!
  • by Steve B (42864) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:00PM (#15018049)
    Microsoft is about to roll out new versions of Windows and Office.

    This must be some new definition of "about to" with which I have not been familiar....

  • I've got my kids brainwashed: You don't use Google, and you don't use an iPod.

    Of course, this speaks nothing of groupthink [google.com].
  • This just means that his kids do use Google and they do have iPods.
  • I wonder how soon software businesses will realize that MS will be cutting them out as well, once they get to a set size. It is apparent that MS will go to great lengths to take any dollar that they can.

    While I dispise MS for what they do, I also admire them for how they can take their products and push them.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:02PM (#15018077)
    but he's also laying down the law in his own house. Steve says that his kids are not allowed to use Google or have an iPod."

    Ahh when will parents EVER learn? If you forbid something, it just makes the kids want it more.

    Coming soon, Ballmer's kids eventually end up working for Google, Ballmer buys an Island, sets up a wireless Windows-only network that blocks anything Google, and rules it by Windows-only voice commands from atop his throne.
  • I usually can't work up a lot of pity for the obscenely rich, but it's really got to suck to be a little balmer - for so many reasons
  • by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:02PM (#15018081) Homepage Journal
    "I wonder if Steve would only allow chairs that would be easy to throw, or have chairs so heavy that they couldn't be thrown. It depends on how he wants to raise his children, I suppose."

    "Maybe his real motive for not allowing iPods is so that the kids won't throw them. Those things are expensive!"

    "If you think Steve's tantrums are bad, wait until you meet his kids."

    I'll be here all day. Try the veal.
  • by theheff (894014) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:02PM (#15018087)
    until those rebellious teenage years... although I have to admit that a google query is a lame display of disrespect.
  • (cue John lennon)

    Imagine all the people .....
    It's easy, if you can ....

    (etc)

  • Relevance? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mayhem178 (920970) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:03PM (#15018090)
    I have to say that the summary given for this article isn't at all representative of the article as a whole. That being said, I have to say this. How Ballmer deals with his kids is a private matter. It should stay a private matter, and he should have known this. As CEO of a company like Microsoft, he should know that his private home practices are not justification of his proposed business models.

    If he doesn't allow his kids to use Google or have iPods, that's his business. He shouldn't make it ours. That kind of preachiness can come back to bite one in the ass.
    • by EXTomar (78739)
      I'm inclined to believe it is just a BS comment made from the hip. To actually believe an executive officer of any company would "order" his kids to do anything flies in the face of marketing and parenting conventions. For marketing, you've drawn attention to some positives about using the competition's product: that it irritates Ballmer. For parenting, at a certain age telling your kids to not do something without guidence is one of the surest ways to have them do it.

      If it is or isn't true isn't the iss
  • I don't know how anyone can even take that quote seriously. It's more likely a joke ballmer made that the journalist took out of context for his own benefit. I mean, think about it.
  • Sounds like a hellish offshoot of Muppet Babies.

    Baby Balmer: Developers, DEVELOPERS, DEVLOPERS!!!!!!!!!

    Nanny: Is everything alright in here?

    Baby Balmer: Yes, Nanny.
  • by Nijika (525558) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:05PM (#15018122) Homepage Journal
    I've been saying it for years, a company's attitude starts at the top. If he wasn't a moron, he'd be letting his kids use these things, and then he'd be observing them and quizzing them on why they like them. He has his own marketing team, right there in his house, but he's more content to control than to learn and discover. Well, -shrug-, that's why MS will be MS until he and Bill are gone. I feel sorry for the micromanaged offspring though.
  • by Sierpinski (266120) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:05PM (#15018123)
    The best way to get a child to do something is to tell them they're not allowed to do whatever it is. (Especially if you don't give them a good (or any) reason.)

    I'm not talking about using Reverse Psychology on them either. I prefer to educate them and let them decide for themselves what is best. If they're old enough to use a computer and Google/iPods, they are probably old enough to decide for themselves what they feel is a better product/service. Good 'ole Dad is just ushering in another reason for rebellion. Sometimes children need to be treated like children (because they act like children, of course). If you want them to act like they're older, you have to treat them like they're older, which means respecting them. Outlawing a competitor's website is ridiculous. If anything it should inspire him to want to create a better website so his children will WANT to use Microsoft's search instead of Google. I just think he's going about it in the wrong way.
  • Just as parents that are too strict on things such as a social life, sex, alcohol, etc end up having kids that are rampant on the respective scenes, I think this would be pretty damn funny if Ballmer's tactics had the same effect on his kids. Rather than curtail their use of Google and iPods, his kids will probably sneak off at night to "Google parties" and "iPod raves", be a part of the "Underground iPod Movement" (not like there really needs to be one) and end up being the top contributors to iPod accesso
  • His kids probably also have cloven hooves and pointy bifurcated tails...
  • Steve says that his kids are not allowed to use Google or have an iPod.

    Agggh, the pain... can't decide how to karmawhore... call Micro$oft evil... make fun of Ballmer... Norman, coordinate!!!

  • Brilliant (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mellonhead (137423) <slashdot@@@swbell...net> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:07PM (#15018138) Homepage Journal
    Which means:

    1. They used google and were told to stop.
    2. They never used google but were told never to start.
    3. Bought an ipod and Steve got rid of it.
    4. Asked for an ipod and were told no.

    Either way, the genius is admitting that either his kids tried these products or he knew they were so superior that he had to do the preemptive strike to stop them.

    What an idiot.

    Actually, I'll vote for 5. He's a buffoon that needs to pound his chest on a regular basis (not to mention toss chairs) to seemingly make himself look like a tough guy and is making the whole thing up.

    Again, if so, what an idiot.
    • Re:Brilliant (Score:5, Insightful)

      by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:37PM (#15018425) Homepage Journal

      I'm going to vote for #6. His kids want to use the stuff that daddy makes, and conciously choose to use Microsoft products because their father runs the company that makes them.

      I highly doubt Ballmer would have choosen to say his kids were "brainwashed" into using Microsoft products unless he was joking. "Brainwashed" is a curious choice of words if he really did forbid non-Microsoft products.

      If you read the interview, and not the Slashdot article, he actually says:

      [Fortune:] Do you have an iPod?

      [Ballmer:] No, I do not. Nor do my children. My children--in many dimensions they're as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I've got my kids brainwashed: You don't use Google, and you don't use an iPod.

      My reading of that isn't that he forbids them from using it, it's that his children support their father and his buisness. I have no idea how old his kids are (and neither does Wikipedia) but depending on age, it's quite believable that his kids just like emulating their father and therefore choose to use Microsoft products.

      I read it as kind of a geek joke - Ballmer's kids are "brainwashed" into using Microsoft products because it's what their father uses.

      Not that all kids use what their parents use - my father uses KDE and Opera, but I'm currently posting this from GNOME using Firefox. But when I was younger, and my dad bought OS/2 for our home computer, I believed him when he said it was the greatest desktop OS ever...

  • He's brainwashed his kids not to use Google or an iPod? What next? They can't use Firefox or Opera?

    What happens when his kids visit their friends who have an iPod or who look up info using Google? Do they leave the room or do they wash their eyes and ears out with bleach afterwards?

    It appears the recent decision to push back the release date of Vista isn't tied solely to the problems with the code. The real answer might have something to do with the jumping monkey.
  • If my dad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:08PM (#15018154)
    If my dad was as rich as Ballmer, I could think of at least a few other things to do besides googling for stuff and using iPods.
  • by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:10PM (#15018166) Homepage Journal
    Think you can you crack the iPod market?

    It's going to take an innovative proposition. In five years are people really going to carry two devices? One device that is their communication device, one device that is music? There's going to be a lot of opportunities to get back in that game. We want to be in that game. Expect to see announcements from us in that area in the next 12 months.


    But the market is already doing this. Apple is already in on this. First with the ROKR phone (which was horrid) and now with the SLVR. In the near future, with holographic storage [slashdot.org] and other miniaturization, we'll be seeing phones with 30gb to 300gb+ capacity in no time.

    He's saying to look for announcements in the next 12 months. I think in 12 months, the market is going to be vastly different from now. More phones will have mp3 playing features. higher capacities.

    But I forgot. M$'s definition of "innovation" is to follow everyone else. ;)
  • by Megane (129182) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:14PM (#15018209) Homepage
    ...because as we all know, the iPod is a "gateway product" that leads to hardcore product usage, such as OS X, Linux, and the psychedelic effects of BSD.

    But there's a way you can help. Talk to your kids about products and teach them why non-Microsoft products are dangerous, and can lead to a life of crime.

    Did you know that Steve Ballmer recently got interested in photography? But he had a problem when he ran out of supplies, and he started shouting "Developers! Developers! Developers!"

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:14PM (#15018210)
    You mean someone has let Ballmer REPRODUCE????
  • by Tyger (126248) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:15PM (#15018218)
    "What are you hiding from me there?"

    "Nothing."

    "Don't lie to me. It's an iPOD isn't it. You have a ****ing iPOD!"

    "No, it's pot! I'm doing drugs."

    "Don't give me any of that. It's an iPOD. You know that we don't use iPOD in this house. And what's that on your computer? Let me see your screen."

    "It's just porn, dad!"

    "It better be. If I catch you looking at Google one more time, you're grounded for LIFE. Now go smoke your pot and watch the porn like a good boy."
  • by mangus_angus (873781) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:25PM (#15018307)
    Mrs. Balmer..."oh honey...look at what I found in little steves sock drawer while I was cleaning today....and look at what I found on his computer."
    Mr. Balmer..."oh my god, no...not my son....DEAR GOD PLEASE NO!!! STEVE JUNIOR...GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE!!!"
    Little Steve..."Yeah da...uh oh..."
    Mr. Balmer..."Do you care to explaine this son?! You know the rules of my house!"
    Mrs. Balmer..."Steve calm down please!! Oh junior we still love you..."
    Mr. Balmer..."SHUT UP WOMAN! junior...talk....NOW.
    Little Steve..."errr ummm...I was holding it for a friend! I swear! And my other friend was using my PC the other day, I didn't know!"
    Mr. Balmer..."oh so your friend wanted you hold on to his Nano for him, and your "other" friend just happend to be looking at that SMUT search engine..."
    Little Steve..."yes"
    Mr. Balmer..."go upstairs...your mother and I need to talk about this"
    Little steve..."yes sir"..."man, I better move that MacBookPro and linux server out of my closet...."
  • by sammy baby (14909) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:28PM (#15018337) Journal
    Dear Dad,

    You're a dick.

    Fondly,

    Your kids.
  • by EddieBurkett (614927) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:28PM (#15018341)
    Everyone knows that iPods are just an easy gateway to harder Apple products. As soon as he sees those little white buds, he'll know that Powerbooks and iMacs can't be far behind. He's just trying to protect his kids is all.
  • by TwistedSpring (594284) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:39PM (#15018443) Homepage
    Seriously, I've seen this guy on various interviews and TV appearances, read about him online, and the guy seems completely mad. I'm not being facetious, the poor man is literally crazy, and looks like he's tearing himself apart in a continual battle between what's coming out of his mouth and reality.

    Look at him, he's always jumpy, he has a huge vein in his head that throbs all the time, he screams really loud whenever he gets the chance to extoll the virtues of XBox 360 or Windows Vista, but has a constant grimace of a smile hoisted across his face when being asked difficult questions. He shakes his head before everything he says when he's lying (e.g. when he says how they're On Track for Vista) as if he doesn't believe it. He's so tense it makes me feel tense just watching him.

    The guy needs to rest, or leave Microsoft. Banning his kids from google or ipods is just symptomatic of his increasing panic as he tries his very best to banish anything that suggests Microsoft is losing the race from his life. Any rational man would realise that Google and iPod are great products and it doesn't matter if his kids use it. It would be something to aim at. I would be saying "You think that iPod is fucking awesome, son, well just you wait for the crazy shit daddy is going to pull out of his ass," I certainly wouldn't be banning them from my household. I would use one.

    I'm genuinely concerned for his health. He really shouldn't be in the position that he's in, his buddy Bill Gates put him there to act as a forcefield between Gates and the reality of Microsoft. And while BillyG sits back with a fat spliff and chills between dictating endless new features for Vista, poor old Ballmer is shipped around the country to give uncomfortable interviews and spew his insane Microsoft evangelism. I think he's the only Microsoft evangelist there is right now, and he's trying his best to be a one man army. Shame he's losing the battle.
  • by Geak (790376) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:41PM (#15018471)
    Teacher: I'm afraid we have to put your son into a slow learning class. Ballmer: Why? Teacher: Well we found out he was using MSN search to research an essay. His arguments were completely wrong and his paper was 2 weeks late. Ballmer: What do the rest of the students use? And DONT say Google! Teacher: Ok I won't. Ballmer: @#&*!!!!!! *throws chair*
  • Like an Amway family (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Logic Bomb (122875) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:41PM (#15018476)
    I knew someone who was from an "Amway family": their business was selling Amway stuff and getting other people to sign up as distributors "below" them in the pyramid. If they needed something and Amway sold it, they bought it. Everything in their house was cheap off-brand crap: weird breakfast cereal, odd-smelling shampoo, etc. It's not like they couldn't have afforded better quality. They just always bought Amway because that's what their business was. The kids hated it. Sounds like the Ballmer household is the same way. Pretty sad, if you ask me.
  • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:49PM (#15018551) Homepage Journal
    Ballmer didn't say that iPods and Google are banned form his house. Here's what Ballmer said: "but at least on this dimension I've got my kids brainwashed: You don't use Google, and you don't use an iPod."

    And "brainwashed" is supposed to be a joke, although nobody here would recognize one of those when it comes to Microsoft.

    If it were Linus saying "but at least on this dimension I've got my kids brainwashed: You don't use Windows, and you don't use MacOS," everyone here would get it.
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:51PM (#15018566) Homepage Journal
    Come on everyone, just calm down. My guess is that Steve was just joking. It is fairly safe to say that Ballmer's kids have access to a lot more disposable income than the average kid, so if they are of age (or when), you can bet that they'll have and use whatever tech toys are hip and available. Not only will they have iPods and use Google, they'll be using a bunch of stuff we can only imagine right now. And Steve will be glad that they are, if he's smart.

    I spend a lot of time keeping up with new tech as part of my job and my hobbies, but still my kids manage to find all sorts of new things I haven't heard about. So what better way to keep up with trends and the competition than one's kids? So don't let Ballmer's joking around lull anyone into a false sense of security, his kids and Gates' kids may turn out to be among Microsoft's greatest assets.
    • My guess is that Steve was just joking.

      I thought that when monkeys joke, they throw feces at you. Of course, it is his house, and his rules too. Based on his previous statements (i.e. throwing chairs while swearing profanely, "I'm going to f***ing kill Google!"), then google is likely a "bad word" in all n 100000 square feet of his home. And the fact that he called iPod owners "theives" doesn't help the prospect of those in his massive dwelling either. Maybe when they get angry in the Ballmer household,

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:51PM (#15018571) Homepage Journal
    Fire Ballmer.
    Really if you can not get him to shut up and act like a human being then he has to go.
    1. Throwing chairs and saying that you going to f'ing kill someone has no place outside of a high school. Even in a high school kid it would be a sign of immaturity.
    2. Talking about not letting your kids use Google is great PR. For Google and Apple!
    3. For Steve Baller's next trick I see this. "Apple and Google are so much better the junk we make that I had to beat the crap out of my kids with a chair to keep them from using them!"
    BTW Steve Jobbs says "thanks".
  • by gnovos (447128) <gnovos&chipped,net> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @01:42PM (#15019024) Homepage Journal
    Basically, he is saying that his company cannot compete with the likes of Apple and Microsoft. It's just too good. even his own kis would jump on the iPod badwagon dispite the fact that they could get the Microsoft equivlenet for FREE. I mean that's how much better the ipod is! Steve Ballmer's own kids would use Google instead of MSN search if they were given a choice! So he takes what little control he has and forces his kids not to buy these products...
  • by deragon (112986) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:31PM (#15019421) Homepage Journal
    I often use Google groups to find solution to technical problems. Are there many other search engine for Usenet groups? Are they as good as Google groups?

    If Ballmer's kids cannot use Google, they might be deprived of a tool which no other serious alternative exist.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @03:05PM (#15019696) Homepage Journal
    Every time I hear a story about Steve Ballmer, I wonder how much longer until we see a news clip of him being led out of his house in a bathrobe and tissue boxes on his feet.

    Personally, I'd let my kids use a competitor product so I can find out why they chose it, what it brings, and how we can beat it.

    It is clear to me MS needs a complete managment change. There methods were fine when it was an emerging market, and they had contracts gaurenting OS sales with every computer sold.

  • I always thought (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarsDude (74832) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @03:29PM (#15019934) Homepage
    I always thought that wanting the best for your kids was 1 of the things that made you a good parent.... ;-) Shame on you Mr Balmer !

"The geeks shall inherit the earth." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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