Computing

Ballmer Talks Surface Tablet Availability, The Future Of Smartphones And The War With Apple

Steve Ballmer, CEO of a little company called Microsoft, isn’t one to mince words. He’s loud, he’s excitable and he’s got a lot to say. Today, he’s declaring war on Apple, talking about where we might be able to buy the Microsoft Surface tablet when it comes out and if we’ll ever see a Surface smartphone.

In a conversation with CRN after the Worldwide Partner Conference this week, Ballmer was firing on all cylinders.

On Surface Availability…

Will you be able to walk into JB Hi-Fi or Harvey Norman come October to pick up a Surface tablet? Only if those retailers have actually bothered to buy them online first, according to Ballmer.

He said that they’re just trying to put “one foot in front of the other” and get it to market right now. What that means is that it’s initially set to be available from Microsoft.com only if it even comes to Australia at launch.

He added that if partners are really keen to sell it, they can buy a bunch from the online store and resell them. Right.

On The Surface Smartphone…

The Surface certainly has people excited, but will we see a Surface smartphone? Not right now.

Ballmer chose these words very carefully:

Right now we are working real hard on the Surface. That’s the focus. That’s our core. Look, we’ll see what happens. We have good partners with Nokia, HDC in the phone space. I love what we’ve got going on with the Surface. We are going to focus on Surface and our other Windows 8 Tablet partners and see if we can go make something happen.

On The War With Apple…

People have been comparing the two brands to each other for years. The two companies have even scuffled in a few different arenas — like advertising — over the last few years, but this is the first time in memory that one of the heads of the two giants have outwardly mentioned that they’re going after the other.

Ballmer said that Microsoft won’t be leaving “any space uncovered to Apple” going forward. That means consumer as well as enterprise, too.

Whether the company can succeed though is another thing entirely. Talk is cheap, after all. [CRN]

Image: Steve Ballmer image by Microsoft Sweden, CC2.0


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