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Ballmer Babies Banned From iPods and Google 554

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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  • 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 ) <> 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!"

  • 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.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @01:27PM (#15018873)
    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."

    There are several conclusions you can see here:
    1. He can, was willing to, and did brainwash his children.
    2. His kids are poorly behaved and brainwashed.
    3. His ability to brainwash was not used to make his kid to behave better.
    4. His priority is to prevent his kids from using Google and iPods, not to teach them to be better.

    A great dad, he is.
  • Re:I'm sorry, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:50PM (#15019575)
    "is the old philosophy wrong? what makes it old?

    did he not in fact, capture the market?"

    No, the philosophy is not wrong - it does work. It really isn't old (my bad) as far as I know it was considered new in the 1990s when software (pkzip in particular) could be made popular by being free for most uses. MS did in fact capture the market. I never said they didn't.

    I was just pointing out WHY balmer doesn't care what his kids think of Google and Apple, and instead focuses on getting them converted. MS doesn't care about product quality, only that everyone use their crap. This explains almost everything they do. "Features" rolled into Vista are there strictly so that people will not be tempted to use something else. MS can say "We have that too" even if it sucks rocks. It's all about getting the MS version of everything in front of everyone so they won't look to the competition - quality is welcome if it happens to show up.

    Damn I can infer a lot from what Balmer tells his kids....

    On a related note. If the MS version of something - say tabbed browsing - sucks, the masses will conclude that tabbed browsing is stupid, so Firefox users that promote it as a great feature will sound like fools to them. If you create a new product, and sell a poor implementation to the public it can be a long time before they'll buy something similar from anyone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @03:09PM (#15019733)
    Also, when Jobs first came back to Apple, he used an IBM ThinkPad. He told people that nothing Apple was currently making was as good and that he'd switch as soon as they made something better. Talk about lighting a fire!

Science may someday discover what faith has always known.