Tech Culture: Steve Ballmer on the iPhone
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Tech Culture: Steve Ballmer on the iPhone

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With the emergence of the iPhone, Windows Mobile has a strong competitor in the mobile market. CNET News.com's Ina Fried speaks with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about what he thinks of the device, and how he sees other competitors in the market.

^M00:00:01 [ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Obviously a lot of talk around the iPhone. When you look at the iPhone what are the things you say to the team? Okay this is Mario we need to push. >> I think they've done some nice work and they've got their own set of challenges and we note both of those. I mean I certainly think many people they did a nice job for example with the gestures UI, hats off to them; that doesn't mean it's perfect. But there's some stuff that absolutely they've done that's quite nice. >> Some multi-touch is something you can imagine seeing on mobile. >> Multi-touch is yet another issue. Multi-touch we do obviously on our surface computers right now, but I think the most important thing right now that I would say where Apple's done a nice piece of work is in the ability to gesture and have that mean something to the device. >> When you look at the mobile space, who do you see; I mean a few years ago, you would have said that Nokia was the biggest competitor. Where do they compare with say Google, Apple? >> I think that they would probably say Symbian, [assumed spelling] not Nokia, but Symbian's a competitor certainly an important competitor. But then I think you'd look at sort of the new cast of characters, Wren, Google, potentially everybody says they'll be a competitor; we'd have to wait and see; we don't really know what that looks like, but you know Google, Apple and Wren would probably shine out because they're primarily software plays in some ways. >> How important is live to the mobile strategy and mobile to the live strategy? >> The mobile strategy better work independent of live; the live strategy better work independent of mobile; and live and mobile better be better TV. Now you could say that's a tall order but that's what we get paid to do. >> And you guys have seemed to strike partnerships along those lines bringing competitive web serves onto Windows mobile and bring live onto competing devices? >> Yeah we've been through this before in some sense as with Windows. Office was important to Windows and Windows was important to Office and they had to be better together, but particularly Office had to be better than anything else running on Windows, and we took Office to the mat, and Windows and Office had to be better together; so let's say there's a lot of familial love and yet people have to be able to stand for themselves. >> In terms of mobile devices, most of it is around Windows mobile but you have launched this Zune effort to kind of go after the music player part. It seems like Apple with the iPod Touch and some of the things they've done since the Zune came out, it seems like they've gotten more innovation in that 12 months than the Zune team. I'm curious is there a concern with that since Zune was already coming a little bit late to the market? >> Well I probably wouldn't agree with you that they've done more in the last 12 months than we've done in the last 12 months, and I think we'll continue to pick up share here. We launched Zune a year ago and the first year, at the price points where we compete, we took 10 or 15% share. I think we'll continue to take share at the old price points. We've got new models at other price points; I think we'll continue to take share; I think it's a long-term deal, we could have left it alone and let Apple have a complete kind of free run of the market. We think we've got some innovative ideas and we'll see whether the market agrees with us. >> Why is it important to compete in that space? I mean dedicated music players; I think a lot of people think the phone. >> There's really no such thing as a dedicated music player. There's music services that may run on dedicated players, but there's a music service, there's an entertainment service. Clearly one of the keys for the iPhone is that it runs the Apple music services and I'll think that'll be an important direction.

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