Ballmer pokes Apple fanboi hornets' nest

In Monday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches Steve Ballmer trash-talk Apple, guaranteeing a troll-feeding frenzy. Not to mention why no one wants to publish your first book...

Previously in IT Blogwatch: Ballmer throws chair at Gartner; throws bone to Yahoo!

Todd Bishop reports:

Steve Ballmer
Speaking at a conference in New York ... Steve Ballmer was asked about the momentum Apple has experienced ... The Microsoft CEO quickly jumped in to correct that impression ... And then he said something that could singlehandedly refan the flames of the Mac vs. PC rivalry.

"Apple gained about one point, but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction ... The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." ... The suggestion that the only real difference between a Mac and a Windows PC is the logo, and the price, will no doubt stir some righteous indignation among the Mac faithful.

Seth "Neal Award" Weintraub adds:

Steve Ballmer isn't stupid, but sometimes his opinions seem to rally his opponents more than they help Microsoft and its partners. He knows his words will get repeated and will flame the Mac vs. PC wars. This time however, they may have backfired.
Take the new Dell Adamo for instance. At a retail price of $2000, it competes well with the $1800 MacBook Air. Also, try to put together a gaming rig or workstation with specs like a Mac Pro and you'll get a pretty close comparison in price on the PC side from Sony or Alienware. Same for the base MacBook.

But Jeff Bertolucci's not so sure:

Steve Ballmer is trash-talking Apple again. No surprise there ... Ballmer's hardly an impartial observer in the debate. But does Steve have a point? Take the MacBook, for instance. The white 13-inch model with a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip, 2GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive is still $999. Compared to similarly-equipped Windows notebooks, that's awfully pricey.
For $640, I could buy an Inspiron laptop with a 13-inch glossy, widescreen display (the premium screen), a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 3GB of memory, and a 250GB hard drive. The Dell Insprion cost $359 less than the MacBook, but offered a lot more memory and storage ... Let's say the Mac tax is more like $300 than $500.

Chris Foresman nit-picks:

That still doesn't take into account the fact that Macs are not "the same piece of hardware," despite being architecturally similar. Apple's design, integration, and Mac OS X are differentiating features that consumers consider valuable. That's why Macs command higher average selling prices and Apple continues to make money selling its hardware.

Of course, Ballmer has been wrong before, so it's worth taking his statements with a jumbo-sized grain of salt.

Ed Oswald also has a link, to a video that never gets old:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer can’t seem to help himself when it comes to talking smack on Apple ... Yes, Ballmer is outspoken. But sometimes I look at this guy, and am reminded of this video — and I just don’t take some of what he says all too seriously.

It's Chris Davies, stupid:

When the economy is down, the gloves come off, and we’ve always suspected Steve Ballmer harbored deep-seated grudges about the perceived value of a partially-eaten apple.
Writing off Apple’s appeal as merely a logo choice seems a little short-sighted, what with the significant difference these days being the software - i.e. OS X versus Windows - rather than the hardware.

Rob Beschizza giggles:

Interesting that Mr. Vista would think so little of the importance of operating systems.

And finally...

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

Buffer overflow:

Other Computerworld bloggers:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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