Ballmer dismisses Google Android

Ballmer dismisses Google Android

Summary: Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer today dismissed Google's Android operating system, saying he believed it was financially unsound.

TOPICS: Android, Google

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer today dismissed Google's Android operating system, saying he believed it was financially unsound.

Ballmer and Trujillo
(Credit: Suzanne Tindal/

For the full video of Ballmer's Sydney speech on Thursday click here.

Speaking this morning at Telstra's annual investment day, Ballmer said it was Google's first phone operating system and designing one wasn't easy. "They can hire smart guys, hire a lot of people, bla dee bla dee bla, but you know they start out way behind in a certain sense," he said.

He questioned Google's ability to make money with Android. "I don't really understand their strategy. Maybe somebody else does. If I went to my shareholder meeting, my analyst meeting and said, hey, we've just launched a new product that has no revenue model!"

"Yeah. Cheer for me. I'm not sure that my investors would take that very well. But that's kind of what Google's telling their investors about Android," he said.

He said that although the idea was that Google gave away the operating system and in return got to put its search on devices for free, he believed telecommunications operators were smart and would still ask to be paid to carry search.

The lack of certainty around money would mean that the improvement of the operating system would be neglected, according to Ballmer, who said that in the whole scheme of things, there was other competition he was more worried about.

"Google doesn't exactly bubble to the top of the list of the top competitors we've got going in mobile. They might some day. But right now ..." he said.

Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo also jumped in with his opinion. "My view is it's interesting, not compelling," he said.

The Telstra leader also wondered if Google had the expertise to follow through, saying that there are always issues in a first generation device which had to ironed out. "Yes, first generation you make the sale. The question is when you get into the second, third and fourth generation," he said.

Topics: Android, Google

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • "Financially unsound"... <sigh>

    Oh, poor Steve, he still doesn't understand Google's business model.

    Which means that Microsoft really is in trouble...
  • I don't really understand their strategy.

    He seriously cannot be that ignorant. There's just no way.

    Even I can see a way to gain revenue, mindshare about this. Everyone is IT is talking about this. There's no way to NOT make money out of this.
  • Ballmer is 100% right!

    Telecoms aren't stupid. If the system is truly open, Google will be forced to bid on placing their search, advertising and applications on those devices. If not, MS's or someone else's search, maps and applications will be featured. How is that sustainable long term?

    If you see a way to gain revenue, where is it?
  • It's pretty easy...

    when you are the best at search, maps and not far off for applications. Google will win lots of those bids you are talking about. How about *that* for a revenue model? What is MS going to offer in that regard? Windows Live Search. Man... I can't stop laughing...
  • he understands allright

    Don't doubt for a second, he understands what google is doing and he is worried. That's why he deliberately tries to downplay them. Millions want i-phones, I want an android phone, does anyone get excited by a windows mobile device?
  • Just like he dismissed the iPhone right?

    I don't mind him talking down his competition - that's his job, but he shouldn't insult the intelligence of his audience. Re Google business model - it's already made history but he still doesn't get it. I wouldn't want to invest in anything he's involved in for sure.