Steve Ballmer’s decision to step down from Microsoft’s board draws to a close a 34 year-long career that took him from business manager to CEO.
During that time, he’s spoken hundreds of times at events and in interviews. Here are some of his most memorable quotes.
On Apple, the iPod and iPhone
“We’ve had DRM (digital rights management) in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an iPod is stolen,”—in an interview with Cnet in 2004.
“No, I do not [have an iPod]. Nor do my children. My children—in many dimensions they’re as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I’ve got my kids brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod,”—to Fortune in 2006.
“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60 percent or 70 percent or 80 percent of them, than I would to have 2 percent or 3 percent, which is what Apple might get,”—in a 2007 interview with USA Today.
“Apple gained about one point, but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction … 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.,”—speaking about PC market share at a conference in New York in 2009.
On Google and Android
“You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone. I think you do to use an Android phone,”—on stage at the Web 2.0 conference in 2011.
“”All in, baby… We are winning, winning, winning, winning, winning,”—speaking about Microsoft’s cloud services business and competition with Google in an interview on stage at the Web 2.0 conference in 2011.
On Zune, and Surface
“We’re firmly behind Zune,”—on stage at the All Things D conference in 2007. Microsoft would later discontinue the music player.
“We built a few more devices than we could sell,”—speaking at a company internal meeting about disappointing early sales of the Surface tablet.
On the future of PCs
“Windows machines will not be trucks,”—speaking at the All Things D conference in 2010 to comments made by Apple CEO Steve Jobs that likened the switch from PCs to tablets like that from trucks to cars.
“The one thing that I think separates Microsoft from a lot of other people is we make bold bets. We’re persistent about them, but we make them. A lot of people won’t make a bold bet. A bold bet doesn’t assure you of winning, but if you make no bold bets you can’t continue to succeed. Our industry doesn’t allow you to rest on your laurels forever,”—speaking on stage at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in 2012.
“The truth of the matter is it’s hard to invent anything. It’s hard to invent a new thing, and it’s just as hard to invent another new thing. I think we’ve been pretty successful, but it’s hard. It is hard. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of it. We not only did Windows, we did Office,” speaking at the same conference on driving innovation at Microsoft.
“I bleed Microsoft—have for 34 years and I always will,”—in his letter to employees on Tuesday announcing he is stepping down from the company’s board.
And the dancing…
But of all the Ballmer quotes that are remembered, there’s surely one that tops them all … thanks in part to YouTube remixes.
“Developers, developers, developers, developers.”
And while we’re on the subject of him on stage, who can forget him dancing on stage to Gloria Estefan’s “Get On Your Feet.”