Jul 15, 2009

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer brushes off Chrome OS

Microsoft's Chief Executive Officer, Steve Ballmer, dismissed Google's idea of two operating systems claiming "I don't really know what's up at Google" in a QnA session on Tuesday.

CNET News reports that Ballmer's comments came at the Worldwide Partner Conference where he was addressing questions about Google's Chrome OS during an on-stage talk with Fortune's Geoff Colvin. "First of all, I will be respectful," he said. "Who knows what this thing is. To me, the Chrome OS thing is highly interesting (in) that it won't happen for a year and a half and they already announced an operating system."

He continued to claim that he did not understand why Google required two operating systems, Android and Chrome OS. "I don't really know what's up at Google," he said. Ballmer explained that Microsoft had separate business and consumer operating systems during the days of Windows 95 and NT which didn't work long term and that the company doesn't "need a new operating system. What we do need to do is to continue to evolve Windows, Windows Applications, IE (Internet Explorer), the way IE works in totality with Windows, and how we build applications like Office... and we need to make sure we can bring our customers and partners with us." Ballmer failed to remember that Microsoft has Windows and then Windows Mobile or is he hinting that the future Windows Phone branding will mean "Windows Mobile 7" is actually built from the main Windows OS?

Ballmer's comments come as no surprise. The outspoken CEO is notorious for his on-stage antics and commenting on competitors ideas and products. In November 2008 Ballmer poked fun at Google Android, saying "this is their first phone, they're not easy," and "let's see how they do." Back in April 2007 Ballmer claimed, in an interview with USA Today, "there's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." We all know what happened there.

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