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Ballmer Slams Android As Cheap and Overcomplicated 645

jfruhlinger writes "On the day Android Ice Cream Sandwich was released, Steve Ballmer livened up the Web 2.0 conference by lobbing potshots at Google's mobile OS, calling it the choice of 'cheap' phones and claiming 'the biggest advantage we have over Android is that you don't need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone.'"
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Ballmer Slams Android As Cheap and Overcomplicated

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  • by microbee ( 682094 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:18PM (#37767322)

    Doesn't Windows have a lower TOC than Linux, according to Microsoft?

    • by jhoegl ( 638955 )
      I like the irony that he says its cheap and then requires a PHD to operate.
      • Where's the irony? Remember the VCRs that no ordinary people could work out how to set the timer. The cheaper, the more obscure and confusing the operation. The higher the intelligence needed to work out how to do it.

        Hard to use is a typical quality of cheap, not expensive.

  • In other words, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:21PM (#37767352)

    Windows Phone 7 will be not-cheap and not-complex.

    This means it will be expensive and not do half the stuff Android does.

  • Out there (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:22PM (#37767362) Journal

    I get the impression Ballmer hasn't even used an Android phone. Exactly what part of the OS is complicated to use? Really, that's just an absurd, out-there statement.

    • by haus ( 129916 )

      Perhaps he is referring to the complications of updating the OS when your handset maker/ cell carrier sold you a phone that is several revisions out of date and they refuse to make current updates available to you.

      • Re:Out there (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:34PM (#37767536)
        Unlike with a Windows phone where you can... still do nothing about that. If a hardware vendor wont update the software the way you like it, you dont buy from them again. Which OS they refuse to update has little to do with it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Unlike with a Windows phone where you can... still do nothing about that. If a hardware vendor wont update the software the way you like it, you dont buy from them again. Which OS they refuse to update has little to do with it.

          True, except Microsoft magically seems to have solved this problem with their partner relations. Did you miss the fact that 98% of Windows Phones had the Mango update available within a four week span []?

          Microsoft hasn't been getting a ton of press, but their WP7 update work is seriousl

        • Unlike with a Windows phone where you can... still do nothing about that.

          Sure, but hardware vendors can't actually sell a phone using a version of "Windows Phone" OS that is several versions out of date, since Microsoft changed the name of their phone OS immediately prior to WinPhone 7. And even if they could do so, they wouldn't, because "several versions" out of date for whatever the current Windows mobile OS is called would be a much older version than "several versions" out of date for Android.

          WinMo 6.5

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zonky ( 1153039 )

        I love my Nexus S, and maintain it via Cyangenmod, but the simple fact is that the majority of handsets are hopelessly out of date, with known security problems, and the networks just don't give a shit.

    • Next Ballmer will lob an "Ice Cream Sandwich? The name alone a reason to buy a Windows phone instead."
  • The best thing about Android Ice Cream Sandwich is that Steve Ballmer has gone nowhere near it.

  • by Lemming Mark ( 849014 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:24PM (#37767380) Homepage

    That sounds like same Ballmer who laughed at the iPhone because of how expensive it was: []

    Same negative marketing smack talk. Also, enjoy the irony that expensive phones are apparently now good, and cheap is bad. (although, of course, cheap isn't the same thing as inexpensive - it really *is* good to be neither expensive nor cheap).

    • by TechLA ( 2482532 )
      You do know that things change and advance? To be honest, the expensive phones 5 year ago really weren't that good. They were clunky, slow and offered features that would be common place in cheap phones now. There's a reason why Apple didn't make iPhone before they did - they had to wait until that time it was actually feasible.
  • My wife loves her new Android phone. She will be so excited that she now has a Computer Science degree as well as her PoliSci degree.
    So apply for a job at Microsoft and put down you have a Degree in CS and when they ask from where hold up your Android phone and point at at.

  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:28PM (#37767434)

    Let's not forget; Ballmer isn't exactly fond of Google*. I'm not surprised he's got a mouthful of trash to talk.

    "At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office," Lucovosky recounted, adding that Ballmer then launched into a tirade about Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "I'm going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f***ing kill Google." Schmidt previously worked for Sun Microsystems and was the CEO of Novell.

    [*] - []

  • Really Steve? Do you know just how stupid that makes you sound?

    • by pyrr ( 1170465 )

      I don't think he does, he says stupid things fairly often. His mouth is like a font, with stupidity gushing forth. Given the dismal track record of previous Microsoft products that attempted to go up against the iPod (Zune), iTunes (MSN Music Store), and iPhone (Kin), their new offering will have an extreme uphill battle, and probably be abandoned just like its predecessors.

      That'll be one major factor contributing to the new Windows phone's failure, it's hard to trust that Microsoft will stick with someth

  • It's wise of ms to go after the high-price, low-IQ market.

    "You don't need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone. You don't need to be anything at all! Most WP users don't even exist!"

    The biggest advantage that WP has over Android is that one thing Ballmer mentioned. The biggest advantage that Android has over WP is everything else.

  • "lobbing potshots at Google's mobile OS,"

    Is that a step up or down from lobbing chairs?
  • It wasn't that long ago that Mr. Ballmer claimed that nobody would be buying Macs because they were more expensive, and nobody would "pay $500 for a logo"(despite the fact that that the price difference is nowhere near that, and you actually get a real OS instead of a toy, that wasn't mentioned). But now that the shoe is on the other foot all of a sudden he thinks people are willing to "pay for quality"(despite the fact that like every other Microsoft product WP7 is a steaming pile). So which is it Mr. Ba
  • Seriously, I have a Google Nexus One, I am one of the 165K that bought the thing.

    It has been a joy. No Telecom crap. A few applications I can't uninstall (grrrrr) but the UI and functionality has been peachy. I am always showing off how easy it is to do multitasking, navigation, web searches, ... All the stuff I want to do.

    My wife's Atrix? Not so much. Maybe now that Google is buying them, Google can scrape the sludge of a UI Motorola slathered on their phones.
  • I wonder if he would have made that same statement about Microsoft's innovative efforts and visionary user experience without laughing just two years ago, pitting Eclair against Windows mobile 6. I dare him to use a Samsung Omnia II for more than five minutes without crushing it to bits.

  • by willoughby ( 1367773 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:40PM (#37767634)

    I have a T-Mobile MyTouch 4g running Cyanogenmod 7.1 in my pocket right now. It's a very, very nice phone. I also have a friend who is looking to buy his first smartphone. He just wants the Internet in his pocket, and reading product barcodes to immediatly find reviews & prices interests him. No games or videoconferencing or anything fancy.

    The main reason I told him to buy an iPhone is that if you go into a store to choose an Android phone there is no way to know if, when an OS update is released, you will receive it at all. The "latest-android" might be out, and you are wondering when you'll have it pushed to your phone. The carrier says to talk to the manufacturer, the manufacturer says they released it to the carrier, no-one knows for sure if you'll get it all. LG, Motorola, HTC, Samsung multiplied by T-mobile, ATT, Verizon and you have a huge matrix of possibilities and no-one can tell you before you choose a handset if that one will recieve OS updates, or how quickly.

    Even folks on the same carrier but with different brand handsets see wildly different timeframes for updates.

    I can update my Cyanogenmod myself, but he can't & shouldn't need to. He should just be able to walk out of the store with a smartphone and, when an OS update is released, just have it pumped into his phone right away.

    Android phones are great for enthusiasts but for my friend & most other folks, the iPhone is a better choice.

    • by tycoex ( 1832784 )

      You should have had him get a Nexus S.

  • "The biggest disadvantage we have is that nobody will touch a Windows phone with a 15 foot barge pole".
  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:48PM (#37767784)

    you don't need to be a computer scientist to use a

    OK lets define "use" as making the computer bend to my will, rather than making me bend to the computer's will. In other words, I wanna install whatever software I want.

    Rank the iphone, android, and windows phone in order of education requirements to jailbreak.

    My very semi-serious research:

    iphone is supposedly jailbreakable with like "click on a website" or something. Or at least it was. Then it either magically worked or was irrecoverably bricked. So I'd say this is roughly lower grade school level.

    android takes all kinds of foolishness just to install cyanogenmod, but its well documented. You need about as much skill as it takes to bake a cake, which admittedly most of the marching morons can't do without setting the kitchen on fire. I'd say this is roughly college freshman level.

    I don't think anyone uses windows phone so there is not much news out there. I'd say roughly PHD level because you'll be breaking new territory, using something no sane person has ever used before. Kind of like LSD in the early 60s.

  • Oh no ... thats a huge step down from slamming chairs as a sign of anger. think - a measly smartphone .... not striking at all.
  • have blown by Android and iPhone, right?

    If he's right (BIG "if") though, I have one thing to say to him:

    "Welcome to OS/2-land, BITCH."

  • by shadowfaxcrx ( 1736978 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:59PM (#37767956)

    "you don't need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone.'"

    My mom plays with my android phone when I go visit. She's about the farthest thing from a computer scientist I know. I still occasionally have to remind her how to move a file between directories (on Windows). She finds the android OS to be very intuitive, and would get one herself if she had any need for a smart phone.

    Criticizing Android's faults is one thing, but descending into ridiculous hyperbole that no one in his right mind is going to believe is pretty stupid.

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @06:00PM (#37767970) Journal

    I've been using my first Android phone for a little over 2 weeks. I think on the whole the capabilities are brilliant but there are some real frustrations. It's still a lot less frustrating to deal with than Windows, and this phone was cheap.

    My frustrations with Android
    - Forced update of "protected" apps on the /system partition
    - Default calendar without search? (Google is a search company!)
    - Default opt in for sharing every detail about your life with Google
    - Need to root phone to get full functionality and remove garbage protected apps
    - Separate /data and /system partitions, plenty of crapware on the phone I got which I then removed, but no easy way to repartition.
    - Only some apps can have some portion moved off internal memory. Many phones have very limited internal memory. There are kludges to get around this if you root the phone (such as link2sd, or apps2sd and Titanium backup moving apps to SD card even if not marked to do so, but some apps don't play well with these solutions and you still end up limited)
    - Incompatibility between versions of Android

    The upside:
    - Google voice is impressive
    - Heaps of apps, some very good. Lots of apps to quickly look things up - from guitar tab to identifying a song that's playing. Great travel and web apps. Apps that use your phone's GPS into a fully featured instrument, not to mention games.
    - Familiar Unix commands, even a terminal on the phone

  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <> on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @06:48PM (#37768558)

    ... is another man's flexibility. This is the same company that apparently thought giving people access to basic file attributes was too complicated, and so removed and obfuscated them in Windows 7 to the point that yet another third party shell-extension utility is needed to make up for it. (What's worse is that the labeled "Read Only" box now doesn't actually represent JUST the read-only attribute any more, but now also combines permissions and/or sharing states in some confusing fashion that even I haven't yet figured out... which is kinda exactly the opposite of simplification.)

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @09:45PM (#37769942) Homepage Journal

    An example of yet another "has been" ( tho obscenely wealthy "has been" i admit, but only due his friend Bill ) trying to cling desperately to old ways of doing business, instead of adapting.

    Him stepping down would do Microsoft a world of good.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:05AM (#37771602) Homepage Journal

    you don't need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone.'"

    True. You need to be a total idiot.

    Really, Balmer, that was way too easy. You need to realize where MS is this decade: Nobody loves you anymore, and your monopoly is crumbling. You've done an excellent job delaying the downfall of MS, but as the company is a dinosaur unable to re-invent itself, playing the FUD card again and again and again will accomplish one thing: Using it up.

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.