Is Steve Ballmer mad? Or lost in translation?

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer is being accused of craziness -- even more so than usual (I kid, I kid). He's reported to have predicted that there'll be half a billion Windows 8 PCs in use by the end of 2013. Yeah, right; Microsoft PR is furiously clarifying the quote. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers sing-a-long-a-Nena.  

By Richi Jennings: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: "Muppet" karaoke?..

Preston Gralla inflates a red balloon, floating in the summer sky:

Ballmer says that he expected 500 million people to have  Windows 8 by the end of 2013. ... Windows 8 means the "rebirth" of Windows, according to Agence France-Presse. ... [But] that number appears to be wildly overinflated.


[E]ven if every PC sold in the world in [those] 15 months...had Windows 8 on it, Microsoft might the 500 million figure.


So where did Ballmer get that number? Possibly out of a hat...he's well known for his sales hyperbole. But...he's doing Microsoft a disservice.   

Gregg Keizer clarifies and classifies:

Reports...that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer predicted unprecedented sales of Windows 8 were wrong. ... Microsoft said Ballmer was misquoted or misunderstood.


A slew of...websites piled on, most of them questioning Ballmer's number, or...his sanity. ... All for naught, as it turned out. ... In effect...AFP miscast a Ballmer line as a Windows 8 sales projection was nothing of the kind.   

Todd Bishop wonders if, back at base, bugs in AFP's translation software flashed the wrong message:

We were able to get our hands on...the remarks that prompted the flurry of coverage from...South Korea.


“With something like 400 to 500 million users expected in the next year, the best economic activity for people building machines, and...writing applications will be around Windows. ... [It’s] a phenomenal opportunity.”


[G]iven the way Ballmer actually couched it, it’s going to be hard to realistically hold his feet to the fire. ... [He] appeared to be referring generally to overall expectations for PC sales next year, and...he referred to Windows in that context, not to Windows 8 specifically.   

But this is what Julie Bort's been waiting for; this is it, boys, this is war:

What he did say was equally confusing.


When it comes to convincing...developers to write...for Windows 8, it doesn't matter how many Windows 7 machines are out there. ... And why write Windows 7 apps when Windows 8 is just around the corner?   

Now it's all over and Alex Wilhelm is standin' pretty, in this dust that was a city:

What went wrong? Well, an American...speaking at a Korean event...reported by a French press group, in English.   


And Finally...

"Muppet" karaoke?    

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch, for which he has won ASBPE and Neal awards. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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