Has Steve Ballmer Gone Bonkers?

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I think it finally happened. We'd all been expecting it for a while now, but not quite so suddenly or emphatically: Steve Ballmer has gone completely insane.

It happened at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference. Somebody must have asked him why Microsoft waited three years before attempting to take on the iPhone and Android with Windows Phone 7. According to CNN, Ballmer replied: "We're early; there's no question we're early.... I think we kind of nailed it. When you see it, you just go 'ooooh'."

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Ooooh, indeed.

I suppose if we're talking geological time, then Ballmer's right, Microsoft is on the cusp of the smartphone epoch, and the dinosaurs just went for a dip in the tar pits. But in a market where a three-month-old device needs to be checked for liver spots and signs of dementia, spotting the competition three-plus years and then coming up with something that almost meets the smartphone standards set in 2007 is not exactly being early. It's certainly not "nailing" it -- unless we're talking about a coffin.

Also, quoth Ballmer:

"Make no mistake about it, we're all in," Ballmer declared. "I get all kinds of questions about 'what if you don't do this or that,' or blah, blah, blah. BOOM, baby, that's what we're going to do!"

BOOM, baby -- either a small incendiary device just exploded or John Madden entered the room.

Now, I haven't played with a Windows 7 phone, so all I know is what people tell me. Reviewers by and large agree that Microsoft has made strides with Windows Phone 7, while at the same time noting major gaps -- like the lack of copy and paste, multitasking, or support for Flash. In all, it seems like a fine but flawed phone.

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