It seems that Mr Naughton is a tad upset about the media coverage Microsoft has been getting lately, a few articles over the last week or so have directly quoted Steve Ballmer because of his recent trip to the UK. Heaven forbid.
Ballmer was in town last week, graciously granting audiences and genially talking through his hat. Yet his every word was reverentially chronicled. The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones reported Ballmer's metaphorical comparison of Microsoft (annual revenues, $60bn; 90,000 staff) as 'David' in comparison to Google's 'Goliath' (annual revenues $20bn; 19,000 staff).
What's wrong with that? Oh you're trying to make it seem that Microsoft is the Goliath – well sure, they're the larger company but then they're active in more businesses than Google who have one business which is online advertising. Google control depending on the country between 50% and 90% of the online advertising market, primarily through its search engine. Microsoft on the other hand commands worldwide about 9% of the search market. Of course Naughton is fully aware that this was the comparison that Ballmer was making, which is why he's talking about Google, but why bother to report it in context when you can make it seem like Ballmer is nutty straight off?
Commenting on Google's just-launched Android platform for mobile phones, Ballmer declared that 'an open-source solution would not be attractive to phone manufacturers
His opinion, and historically accurate, Linux for example hasn't gained any traction in the mobile phone market.
...and predicted that Windows mobile phones would stay ahead of BlackBerry, Apple's iPhone and Google Android in the smartphone market
Despite the hype over Blackberry, iPhone and Android - Windows Mobile outsells them. Blackberry is close, and possibly slightly ahead in the United States, but Windows Mobile is much stronger in Europe. As for the iPhone, Microsoft sells 20 million Windows Mobile devices in a year. Apple project 10 million iPhones sales this year, however for the first quarter of the year they only moved 1.7 million. IDC project Windows Mobile to continue to outsell iPhone 2 to 1 in the consumer space until 2012, and 9 to 1 in the business space.
And he went on to say that Windows Vista had been 'the most popular operating system that Microsoft had ever introduced'.
It's certainly the fastest selling, both on raw sales figures, but also on how quickly it is spreading through the PC ecosystem, which is larger than ever before. Windows XP sold 17 million units in its first 2 months on the market; Windows Vista achieved 20 million in the first month. Windows XP was on 16.9% of all computers by the end of 2003, about two years after launch; Windows Vista on the other hand was on 18.3% of all computers a year and a half after release, by the end of the year that's projected to be 21.3%.
Unfortunately for John Naughton, despite how he attempts to spin it, Ballmer is actually spot on. But that's not all Naughton does to demonstrate his ignorance.
This hooey was conscientiously relayed by Cellan-Jones, who was too polite to ask why, if Vista is such a success, Ballmer is to unveil its successor, Windows 7, to the Microsoft developers' conference at the end of this month.
Microsoft holding its developer conference two years after release isn't unusual, in fact it is to be expected, the Windows team has been working for last two years and they're ready to start showing off what they've been doing. Microsoft held a PDC in October 2003, two years after Windows XP shipped to introduce Windows Vista (then codenamed "Longhorn"). Here we see Microsoft doing another PDC in October, about 2 years after Windows Vista was finished to introduce Windows codename "7". Getting the people who actually write software (and the hardware, the hardware conference is the following week) for a platform in on the process early means they're not caught off guard by a new release of Windows and then have to work to make all their old applications compatible, they can play with the early version of Windows "7" now so they can start getting ready for its release.
Perhaps Rory Cellan-Jones actually knows something, unlike Naughton, which is why he didn't need to ask Ballmer such a dumb question.