INTERVIEW: Steve Ballmer on the Cloud, Google, data centres and the cult of Apple

The transcription was supplied by The Webpitch.com

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer delivered the keynote speech at his company’s London conference “Technologies to Change Your Business: How Customers Are Implementing Tomorrow’s Strategies Today”.

CIO editor Martin Veitch interviewed Ballmer directly after his keynote.

CIO: Given the massive investment that corporates are considering, what are the key factors you believe are now going to drive us into Cloud Computing? Why would we entrust Microsoft with its cloud provision, over other competitors such as Google?

Ballmer: Well, let me take it in a variety of ways. First of all, anytime there is a major disruption you want to make sure you take advantage of it. The book ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ says “You can’t as a company that’s established miss the next major revolution”.

So we are embracing Software + Services, Cloud Computing as hard as anybody. By the time we finish our Professional Developers Conference this month, I think you’ll have to say that there is nobody out there with as wide a range of Cloud Computing services as Microsoft, including, dare I say it, Google - which has a great search product but, at the end of the day, doesn’t really have much for Enterprise email, productivity, collaboration. They are trying. They are coming to the game. But they are not really there yet.

Related:

Even though we are driving disruption, our job has got to be to also give you a clean and straightforward path forward. So you are going to want the PCs that you own, you are going to want to to be able to apply the licences that your already own.

I think we have, and our prices reflect an ability to let you get to the disruptive point easily, from the place you are now financially.

CIO: Steve, I guess the $64,000 question from a lot of people’s point of view is, is there going to be an Office for the Web, something that really competes head on with Google Docs, Google Apps?

Ballmer: Well, those are not very popular products! I hope that we are not competing head on with those! I hope we actually compete head on with Microsoft Office. If you take a look at it, Google Docs and Spreadsheets have relatively low usage and have not grown over the last six months or so.

There’s a reason. I think what people want is something as rich as Microsoft Office, something that you can ‘click and run’, if you are not at your own desk. Something that is compatible, document-wise with Microsoft Office and something that offers the kind of joint editing capabilities that is nice in Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Will Microsoft Office offer that? Yes! Standby for details in the next month.