Live from MIX ’08 Ballmer Keynote

Photos by Long Zheng, commentary by Rafael Riviera Rivera


12:44am: Waiting for Ballmer to start throwing chairs… These look heavy…
Johnny Cash impersonator makes a comeback tour.


12:51am: Long’s MIX ’08 restyle entry displayed on the big screen.
Realization of power saver mode and its effects on wireless signal strength… Power level 9000!!!


1:04pm: Vince Mira (15 year old) kicked off stage.


1:05pm: MIX ’09 announced and scheduled. I’m getting bribing some Microsoft guys for tickets as you read this…


1:06pm: Guy and Steve on stage, walking the runway. The cameras are going wild. Where’s Paris Hilton?


1:07pm: Notice the smashed peons on the bottom of Guy’s shoe?

1:09pm: Ballmer: Yahoo. We made an offer! It’s out there baby!

1:10pm: The chair joke comes up, record time.

1:11pm: Ballmer says the word Google. The world shook.


1:12pm: Guy stops Ballmer’s bullshit PR answer.

Ballmer mentioned Google’s non-enterprise presence. Let’s count how many times he says the word Google.

Guy asks Ballmer why Google isn’t sued for anti-trust. Ballmer emits scary dog sounds…
… and we segue into Apple.

1:14pm: Guy is running Motorola Q running Windows Mobile 6.

Guy brings up partnership with Facebook in the advertising market (apparently was in the works since last year, Ballmer denies involvement). Only a few hundred billion from Ballmer’s Lexus Ford’s ashtray…

1:16pm: Guy: You’re a rich bastard.

1:17pm: Guy: You run such a huge organization — What do you do in the morning?
Ballmer: I’m with customers, from 0730am to 0800pm one day, running a “doctor’s office” the next, and finally think/write/research secluded in a room.

1:19pm: Guy: How much email do you get?
Ballmer: 60-70 “pieces” of email a day. No assistant either.

1:20pm: Guy: No assistant virtual or otherwise?
Ballmer: [tap dances] Yes. I answer them personally too.

1:22pm: Guy: Where is Bill Gates?
Ballmer: Bill transitions into part-time, whatever that means, after some well-deserved time off. The company evolved in certain unappreciated ways (e.g. the lack of innovation). We need moar “synergies”.

1:24pm: Ballmer: We hire the best and the brightest — the ones that change the world. This hasn’t changed from 10+ years ago…

1:25pm: Guy: Aside of aside. Kids (12 and 14). Halo tournaments. Pissed off wife as a result.

1:27pm: Guy: I don’t think kids know Microsoft makes cool stuff — Xbox, Halo, etc. (ed – If kids only knew Microsoft was responsible for the RROD).


1:29pm: Guy: Tell us about Silverlight. We haven’t heard enough of it.
Ballmer: Well, there’s this fork in the road… Easy to deploy in browser or deploy a rich local application. Over time, we’ve been working on bringing the two together, without compromise. That’s at the heart and soul of .NET/Silverlight/WPF.

1:31pm: Guy: Numbers please.
Ballmer: Over a 1.5 million downloads a day.

1:32pm: Guy: What’s with Windows Vista?
Ballmer: The second most popular OS in history? — Answer interrupted.


1:33pm: Ballmer: That thing (Macbook Air) is missing half the functionality of a real PC, and is heavier!

1:34pm: Ballmer: Apple’s skillset is consumer devices, not much else…

1:35pm: Guy: You noticed the Windows Vista question was skipped — What’s up?
Ballmer: Windows Vista is very popular in the consumer world… (cough)… issues are application and driver compatibility. We made a set of concrete choices to enhance security… sorry you can not has application compatibility. SP1 was already shipped, now with more sugar and fun. Guy: Um. Ok.


1:37pm: Ballmer: We’ll get rid of your machine (Macbook) and get you a real machine.
Guy: Maybe with ethernet.

1:38pm: Ballmer: More IE8 coming, stay tuned. Browser innovation is core for us.

1:39pm: Guy: Let’s go back and talk about social networking. What is Microsoft’s perspective? Is it a fad?
Ballmer: The notion of using the web to keep up and socialize is not a fad. ]


1:40pm: Guy: Don’t you already have social networking Microsoft folks? Are you going to open APIs, a la Facebook.
Ballmer: Most of our interfaces are open… like Active Directory and other boring stuff. [tap dancing follows]

1:41pm: [warm fuzzy time] Guy: It’s very easy to work with Microsoft, serious. No bullshit.

1:42pm: Audience: What about Adobe?
Ballmer: What ABOUT Adobe? Adobe is obviously a big competitor in a sense… I suppose Flash, Flex, etc. is kinda neat… We understand they’re important and we will support them (as an ISV cough).


1:45pm: Audience: .NET came out, got tools, etc. — I’m curious, how did Internet Explorer get left out of the development path…
Ballmer: We made several decisions as to what we were trying to do with Windows Vista, the browser was tied into it’s scheduling… .NET is standalone…

1:47pm: Ballmer: We won’t have two mail services… (if Yahoo purchase goes through). For the forseeable future, we will be a PHP shop (PHP will work nice on IIS).


1:49pm: Audience: Synergies! Do you see them?
Ballmer: The number one synergy is search advantage. More search = more advertisement = more bidding = more revenue = ??? = profit!!!


1:50pm: (Rafael goes to ask Ballmer a question. BRB)

1:54pm: Audience: Silverlight for iPhone?
Ballmer: Extensive discussion. Just noticed new runtime announced today/yesterday. They charge more money than everyone else on the planet. Good business if they can make it. May mean Apple’s not welcoming royalty free runtimes. We’ll have to wait and see.

1:55pm: Audience: Danger?
Ballmer: About consumer oriented consumer services for mobile on Windows Mobile. There will be a Windows Mobile core platform, and Danger on top.

1:56pm Guy: What type of phones do you use?
Ballmer: I’ve used Q. Blackjack. HTC. Having a hard time. Switch to 10key phone to keyboard. Dial by braille. I’ll pass on giving you a number.

1:57pm: Audience: Silverlight, AOL Mail. What about Hotmail?
Ballmer: You’ll see us introduce Silverlight into our core applications over the next months maybe years. Maybe not Live Messenger, not relevant.



1:57pm: Rafael gets his question asked. Ballmer goes into Hulk mode. View video here.


1:58pm: Audience: Health solutions.
Ballmer: Health’s the only vertical we’ve chosen to dig in deeply. Largest, least well served by IT. See if we can make a difference. On consumer health, we call it an experimentation. We have to figure out as society, what it’s really going to take to bootstrap personal health.

2:00pm Audience: Format wars. Thoughts, plans on Blu Ray. XBOX?
Ballmer: We don’t make drives. We thought lots of merits to HDDVD. At the end of day, we’re going to support Blu Ray. Right support. World moves on.

2:03pm: Rafael:  I had to get another meme started! Web developers! Web developers! Web developers!

2:08pm: Ballmer likes Razorfish and talks about aQuantive (boringggg).


2:09pm: Guy: Thanks Ballmer.
Ballmer: Thank you.


2:10pm: Lights dim, stampede of people wanting to pee and eat ice cream.

16 insightful thoughts

  1. WoW today i’m the first guy 2 comment tats great 4 me.
    I didn’t get the head and tail of this post???
    What do u want to say by this post Long???

  2. Today, I’m the second person to comment. WOW, EXCITING. (I’m being sarcastic). Guy: I don’t think kids know Microsoft makes cool stuff — Xbox, Halo, etc. (ed – If kids only knew Microsoft was responsible for the RROD). I think as of today I’ll tell the kids at the nearest school that Microsoft is responsible for the Red Ring Of Death.
    I wish I told one of my neighbours kid to say that already but the problem is,,, he’ll look like a geek (nerd) and become geekophied and get special geek treatment unlike the older guy. People wanting help will go to the 10 yearold and not the guy who’s about 8 years above 10 years old.

  3. Ballmer’s answers makes it sound like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. That’s what I got from his answers.

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