Talking gadgets and smack: Microsoft’s Ballmer, HP’s Bradley

What do Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and HP’s head of PCs Todd Bradley have in common besides the fact that both their companies are behind in the mobile-device race? They’re both talking smack.

• Ballmer was in Silicon Valley last night, talking at a Churchill Club-sponsored event about Microsoft’s plans to further combine hardware and software, as it has done with the recently launched Surface tablet. “The distinction between a PC and a tablet, in our ecosystem, I think, completely goes away,” Ballmer said, according to the Merc’s Heather Somerville.

But also, he got some digs in at the competition: “The ecosystem for Android is a little bit wild,” he said, according to AllThingsD. And Apple is “high-priced” and “tightly controlled.” According to TechCrunch, Ballmer is looking for Microsoft to “wedge itself between the two to be successful with diversity and organization.”

Ballmer’s remarks come on the heels of a major shake-up at his company: The departure of Windows chief Stephen Sinofsky, reportedly over a power struggle, was announced Monday.

Hewlett-Packard‘s Bradley, meanwhile, is slamming Microsoft’s Surface. “I’d hardly call Surface competition,” he said in an interview with IDG Enterprise, calling the tablet “slow” and “kludgey.” Bradley touts HP’s enterprise tablets and says the Palo Alto company will be “judicious” when it returns to making tablets for consumers. HP last year stopped making its webOS-based TouchPad tablet after a few months. (See Liquidation, valuation, evaluation: on HP’s TouchPad, stock and its CEO.)

Although HP CEO Meg Whitman has said the company must have a presence in smartphones and tablets, in the IDG interview Bradley doesn’t sound quite convinced the post-PC world is the place to be. “The usage models as you look at these emerging markets, as excited as we are going to get about ultra-mobile, the billion people in rural China still want PCs that have DVD players in them. It’s all about usage,” he said. By the way, the Merc’s John Boudreau writes that iPhone and Android usage in China has surged 125 percent in six months, according to one research firm.


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  • Bryan

    Have you ever noticed that people who gravitate toward positions of power and control tend to remain psychologically stuck in high school for their entire lives?

    CEOs bear a remarkable and consist resemblance to various cliques of mean girls fighting for the cafeteria table closest to the jocks. Having surrounded themselves with sycophants, there’s presumably no one left in their vicinity who actually cares enough to say “Shut up. You’re acting like a jerk.”

  • sd

    Ha. Keep on talking, guys…

    Stevie B., your plan is not a bullseye, it’s a bow shot in the direction of mediocrity. If Ballmer thinks Microsoft can show up really late and aim in the general direction of the target, they’re going to have to make more room in the Microsoft Museum of Inadequate Initiatives, next to Bob, Clippy, and Windows Vista.

    And Todd Bradley and Meg Whitman had better be prepared to wait a couple years to see if their mobile devices catch on — it’s going to take that long for a buying public (especially Corporate America, HP’s target market) to recognize that they’re serious this time (if, indeed, they are) and will not pull the rug out from the IT infrastructure folks in a couple of months because of poor sales. Fool ’em once, shame on them. Fool ’em twice,…