being named "Steve" too, doesn't quite get you there. You, Steve Ballmer, must understand that YOU and Steve Jobs are very different people with completely different goals and objectives, and your company's [Micorsoft] performance reflects these differences. Accept your path for what it is: Microsoft is not a company hell-bent on enabling the individual person exploring and enhancing creative endeavors, Microsoft is a very corporate-business-driven entity best suited for large scale business operations, such as Office and networking. MS has a track record for failure in the consumer segment [who the hell owns a Zune? - a clunky brown piece of shit - if it was worth having, the market would have selected for it] except for the X-box platform. Stop wasting investors' money and stick with what you're [MS] is good at: business software and integrating it together. Face it Steve, Jr., you're not even close to Jobs and you're getting yourself into an area where you're going to fail again. No one is ever going to put an MS logo on their car, college office door, laptop, etc... MS doesn't have the "coolness factor" and never will, YOU'RE ALL MISSING THE POINT, YOU NEVER HAVE 'GOTTEN IT', AND NEVER WILL! Apple doesn't compete in your market, why do you think you can accelerate past some of the brightest minds in the tech industry?
Being a pharmaceutical scientist, I can liken Apple as the Discovery Research aspect of the high-tech world, Microsoft is more the Development segment of something that is passed through the pipeline, something more established. Microsoft would have to completely disassemble its way of thinking and come around to opening truly creative thinking and implementing it without being diluted and combobulated with the current MS corporate culture. What you seek you do not possess - it's like an average student wanting very badly to enroll in honors courses, yes, you want it, but you don't have what it takes to succeed or get there, you are pursuing an area completely out of your league. And "developers, developers, developers, developers" isn't going to cut it, MS is certainly not on the cutting edge of creativity or technological [both software and hardware] innovation.
No college graduate is beating down the doors of Microsoft screaming "I want to beat down Apple! Just give me enough money an I'll do it." Rather, those graduates are employed by Apple, until they burn out, then the next crop comes in. You're going to continue to get second-hand A-players who are either burnt-out from working at Apple, or who never made there to begin with. Stick with what you're good at: MAKING BUSINESS SOFTWARE.
Pursue market areas where MS is going to have dominance and continued success - FOCUS, DON'T DILUTE. I can always make a ruckus at the next shareholders meeting, and believe me Steve, I'll step up to the microphone and give you a piece of my mind.