Help Me Interview Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft (And Win Free Tix to Web 2)

Day Two at Web 2 Summit ends with my interview of Steve Ballmer. Now, the last one, some four years ago, had quite a funny moment. I asked Steve about how he intends to compete with Google on search. It's worth watching. He kind of turns purple. And not…

Day Two at Web 2 Summit ends with my interview of Steve Ballmer. Now, the last one, some four years ago, had quite a funny moment. I asked Steve about how he intends to compete with Google on search. It’s worth watching. He kind of turns purple. And not Yahoo purple.
So sure, I’m hoping for more classic Ballmerisms this time around, and there’s plenty to talk about. From investors calling for his head (Microsoft generates impressive cash and dividends, but could hardly be called a growth stock), to the future of Windows, my only concern is we’ll run out of time.
Because I want to talk about the Xbox SDK, Microsoft’s cloud strategy, Bing, Windows 8, the Facebook and Twitter partnerships, the Skype purchase, Yahoo (again), tablets, the Nokia deal…

But enough of my questions. What do you want to ask one of the most important CEOs in the world?

As an extra incentive, I’ll be picking the best three questions from these series of posts (see below and watch for more). The authors of those questions will get complimentary passes to Web 2 – a more than $4000 value. So get to commenting, and thank you!

Previously: Mark Pincus, John Donahoe, Marc Benioff, Dick Costolo, Michael Dell, Mary Meeker, Michael Roth. Next up: James Gleick.

16 thoughts on “Help Me Interview Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft (And Win Free Tix to Web 2)”

  1. Does the Xbox / Comcast deal paving the road so I’ll eventually be able to order TV channels a la cart?

    If they do, how do they envious handling ads? Will it be similar to an NFL or deal where the local commercials are blocked and they only run national ones?

    Will my Live ID be in any way integrated into the TV watching experience? (I’ve always wanted to be able to share clips with friends is that going to be possible or is it going to be lame like Getglue where you just tell others what you’re doing?)

    Will the deal be available where you have to have Time Warner?

  2. After Zune, how are you going to convince shareholders that you can make media content deals that are truly accretive? When it comes to media consumption, are consumers going to pay for devices (one big payment) or content (many small payments)-or will we no longer use one to leverage the sale of the other?

  3. 1. Will two turkeys (Microsoft / Nokia) make an eagle in smartphones and tablets?

    1b. Can we expect any non-fully-touch devices with WP7 on Oct 26?

    2. Will two turkeys (Microsoft / Yahoo) make an eagle in the web?

    3. Will you ever decide to purchase RIM?

    Thank you, John

  4. Microsoft recently uninstalled a lot of Google Chrome browsers and claimed it was a mistake. Seems a little hard to believe. What does Steve have to say about that? It has made me reluctant to download any of the malicious software removal tool updates! Who knows what they might target next.

  5. With Bill Gates in charity and Jobs in heaven (or perhaps he’s already reborn, he was Buddhist after all), is the PC era officially over and what will follow?


  6. The iPhone is a tremendous value for consumers with respect to digital media, apps, new features from updates etc. Considering that Microsoft has already changed their direction for mobile to be more akin to the Apple approach (abandoning pocket PC in favor of windows phone 7/walled garden etc..), what more will Microsoft do to compete with Apple on the consumer value proposition in mobile?

  7. 1) How would you fix Yahoo?

    2) Why wouldn’t you launch your own social networking service like Google+ to socialize/unify all your products (via Skype, Hotmail,Xbox)?

    3) What do you admire the most about Steve Jobs?

    4) Isn’t Windows 8 a glorified app launcher/switcher?

    5) Are you okay with Microsoft employees using Apple products at work?

    6) What do you think about Google’s concerns with mobile patent lawsuits?

    7) What makes you so excited about Microsoft’s future that you don’t want to retire?

    7) Did your employees really walk out on you during your annual meeting?

    8) Are you interested in buying palm?

    9) What do you think of the new Kindle fire? And Amazon’s services?

    10) Does Google favor its own products in search results? Is that OK?

    11) AT&T + Tmobile: are you for the merger? What do you think that’ll mean for the telcom industry?

    12) What’s your outlook for the US economy? Another recession? How long until unemployment goes back to 2007 levels? What would you do to fix the economy?

  8. The late Steve Jobs in his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address says (04:30 minutes into the speach) “…and since Windows COPIED the Mac … ” !

    QUESTION: In light of above comment and given the fact that Apple has $100 billion more in Market Cap. compared to Microsoft… is the Microsoft be an eternal follower / COPYCAT of Apple ?

  9. Rather than charging money for Microsoft Office why wouldn’t you give it away for free? Especially considering Microsoft is playing catch up with Apple and Google, in both software and hardware.

    Most folk are reluctant to try new services. Microsoft Office (Powerpoint, Word, Excel, etc.) has a significant user base. But, it will exponentially continue to evaporate if something major doesn’t shift. A lot of common folk don’t use Google Docs and the other various, free, Google applications.

    Put Powerpoint, Word, Excel, etc. online, manageable in the cloud, for the low price of free 99. Microsoft then has it’s “foot in the door”. Plausible perhaps?

    1. has Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote in the cloud (pretty reasonable facsimiles of the desktop versions) and are free. Hotmail is more and more like Outlook, e.g. Calendar has Task functions.

      Corp IT needs the desktop version as the Cloud version just won’t past muster for 7 year retention requirements (not yet at least), so don’t expect to see an all cloud Office (not sure how Corps pull off using Google apps at least in financial services where there is the retention requirement).

  10. And when is Microsoft going to do humanity a favor and eradicate Internet Explorer from the world? Or at least rebrand it?

  11. Everyone generation has a company, or often several, that grabs people’s interest and attention. Once it was IBM, then Microsoft, now more Facebook and Twitter. Once a company has “had their day,” how does it work to stay relevant, knowing that people tend to be drawn to the new upcoming company more than the older more established one?

  12. What do you think is the difference between data and information? Is Microsoft in the business of information or data processing? If you were to hire a leading thinker in the field of information science (such as, e.g., me ;), what would you ask that person to achieve for Microsoft (and its stakeholders)?

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