Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Reverse Barometer Prediction: Windows Era Forever!

Steve Ballmer, previously described here as a reverse barometer, has once again made a major public prognostication. This one, in response to a question about his agreement or disagreement with Jobs' description of today's world as a post-PC era, is a whopper: "We are in the Windows era -- we were, we are, and will always be."

Not that the Jaded Consumer would stoop to comparing such a Ballmer pronouncement to a declaration that the newest Reich will last a thousand years, but . . . imagine that declaration from the depths of a bunker . . . within earshot of Soviet artillery . . . . I'm just sayin'. It's an image.

At any rate, the presentation (as recounted by Electronista) included classic Ballmer unintentional poetry such as Ballmer's answering a question about why no good Windows tablets can be bought by holding up a developer's preview tablet from Samsung that is not available in stores and can only be had through attendance at Microsoft's build conference, and which runs a Microsoft operating system that has not yet been released. Not quite an answer, is it?

Similarly, Ballmer claimed that post-PC devices like cellphones and tablets were, in fact, good for Microsoft – notwithstanding that Microsoft's share of the phone OS market plummeted past 2% in the year immediately preceding his claim, and that tablets crushed the market for netbooks running MS-Windows. This, after saying last year that figuring out how to compete with iPads is "job one urgency", isn't particularly persuasive – especially after utterly failing to deliver for over a year. (Which has led to a drive to port MS-Windows to ARM, because the hardware for which MS-Windows has been compiled in the past just can't cut the mustard in the mobile space. Naturally, despite earlier representations, the ARM port will break legacy apps – including all x86 apps, which could be a problem for the effort to convince consumers that all they need to know about is "Windows compatibility", and a chore for developers with substantial code bases using any of the multiple APIs sold to them by Microsoft over the years – including Win32, the NT "Native API", Silverlight, and/or dotNET. Code to Metro, or go home.)

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