The Baghdad Bob of Redmond, Washington
- Joshua M Brown
- October 31st, 2012
OK, so Steve Ballmer.
“I don’t think anybody has done a product that is the product that I see customers wanting,” Ballmer told CNBC during a recent interview. “You can go through the products from all those guys … and none of them has a product that you can really use. Not Apple. Not Google. Not Amazon. Nobody has a product that lets you work and play that can be your tablet and your PC. Not at any price point."
Ballms is spending $1.5 billion to launch the Surface tablet / Windows 8 OS combo right now. You've no doubt seen a slew of commercials this week, some of which are pretty good ads. But really - there is some intense desire for incorporating the PC into our tablets that is somehow not being met? Is he fucking serious? Will anyone born after the year 2005 ever even see a PC let alone use one?
Oh, and this claim that Apple and Amazon and Samsung haven't made products people want? I'm not sure where the evidence is to back up that statement, but I am glad to show Mr. Ballmer the evidence that negates it:
In the year ended September 30th, Apple has sold 58.31 million iPads, 125 million iPhones and 35.16 million iPods. Nobody wants these products at any price point, Steve?
The Samsung Galaxy III handset, in the meantime has sold 20 million units in its first 100 days (launched May 2012). Even the Google Nexus, admittedly more of a live beta than a finished product, is estimating 6 to 8 million units for this year. Amazon's Kindle Fire, not a phone, should be at 5 million units within its first 9 months.
He is obviously aware of this, I am certain he eats (definitely), sleeps (maybe) and breathes it.
And so one could only include that Steve Ballmer is one of the following:
2. A liar
3. Willfully engaging in cognitive dissonance in the hope it rubs off on others (the old "get 'em to buy-in")
4. Using recreational hallucinogens
5. Some combination of the above
I have to tell you, this is all very reminiscent of Baghdad Bob as the US invasion of Iraq got underway in 2003. Sample quotes:
"There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"
"We have them surrounded in their tanks"
"Faltering forces of infidels cannot just enter a country of 26 million people and lay besiege to them! They are the ones who will find themselves under siege. Therefore, in reality whatever this miserable Rumsfeld has been saying, he was talking about his own forces. Now even the American command is under siege."
"We will welcome them with bullets and shoes."
If Ballmer's comments do not strike you as eerily similar, I don't know what to tell you...this lack of realism at the very top of Microsoft is very unhealthy given their position in these markets. And as shareholder you'd have to pray/assume he's fully aware and this is just Ali-esque pre-bout jive-talking.
You tell me - is this just Bluster? Or are we truly dealing with a delusional CEO here?
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The Reformed Broker is a blog about financial markets and the economy. Joshua Brown is a New York City-based investment advisor for high net worth individuals, charitable foundations, retirement plans and corporations... More.