Ballmer admits his open-source blindspot

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer admits he sometimes misses innovations because he doesn't understand the business model. Exactly.

In one of the most revealing (and honest) quotes I've ever seen from Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, Mary Jo captures the big man revealing his blind spot toward open source, SaaS, the Internet, etc. :

One of the biggest mistakes I've made over time is not wanting to nurture innovations where I either didn't get the business model or we didn't have it.

Now compare this to a previous Ballmer statement :

I'm not saying open-source is a bad thing, but it doesn't pay the bills in this company, so we can't embrace that way of doing things. ... We give out free soda pop to everybody who works here. We make our stuff free, people gotta give back the soda pop -- it's just inconsistent with what we do around here.

Could it be, Mr. Ballmer, that you are classically overlooking a major opportunity for Microsoft because you simply don't understand the open-source opportunity? Now would be a good time for a touch of humility and a smidgeon of good counsel from those around you.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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