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Ballmer: Tech showing 'buoyancy' despite economy

In a speech to the Churchill Club, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says the tech industry is weathering the economic storm, but is not immune to it.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said Thursday that it remains to be seen how much the current economic crisis affects the technology industry.

"Our industry is not immune to what goes on in the global economy and yet as I travel and talk...I would say given the current circumstances, people see a certain buoyancy (in technology)," Ballmer said.

That, he said, comes from a variety of factors--the fact that consumer spending has not yet been harder hit and the fact that things globally aren't as severe as they have been in the U.S.

"At least for now, people that I talk to in our business (are), I wouldn't say optimistic, but better than you would feel if you watch CNBC all day," he said. (He made it clear that he wasn't speaking to Microsoft's specific results, noting that the company is in the last week of its quarter and thus in a quiet period.)

Ballmer's comments came at the start of a conversation with Hummer Winblad founder Ann Winblad at Silicon Valley's Churchill Club.

Such appearances have been frequent for Microsoft's CEO in recent years. Ballmer hasn't hesitated to take on the local names, either: in remarks following a 2006 Churchill Club appearance, he chastised Google for its demands over browser search defaults in Internet Explorer.