I don’t have a lot of respect for Steve Ballmer, he always seems to be speaking rashly—not to mention, he often mocks things I like. When ever I read something that Ballmer has said, it always seems that there is something interesting and new coming out and he says, “that’ll never work. We’re going to keep doing it our way because we don’t want to think about it in another way.” It almost seems like wishful thinking on his part, but maybe I’ve misjudged the guy (he makes more money than I do after all, maybe he has a point), but his comments always have a less-than-thought-out feel to me.
Steve Jobs on the other hand seems to have a more calculated approach. Last Tuesday, at the D8 conference, an obviously upset iPhone user asked Jobs when AT&Ts network problems would be fixed—it was obviously a hard question—but Jobs addressed the question with a lot of poise, I thought, though not without some stumbling. Now, I’ve been a little upset with Apple and the way they seem to close off developers, but if I had to chose a product based on Jobs or on Ballmer, I’d choose Jobs.
All this said, I thought that a remark by Ballmer on Thursday was actually somewhat true. He said it in contradiction to a statement that Jobs had made. Essentially, Jobs said that eventually everyone will have a tablet, Ballmer said that everyone will want only one device, a PC, that does it all (not a limited-use device). They are both right.
The irony is that Ballmer hit it right on the head and was completely wrong at the same time. What Ballmer doesn’t realize is that the PCs that he is talking about will be the tablets that Jobs is talking about. Jobs even said that in his interview. Yes, the iPad is a limited-function device now, but it’ll get better. I predict that in 5 - 10 years tablets will be good enough to replace most people’s need for a PC—a desktop or laptop—the PCs in a few years will be tablets.
Yes, it’s true that we’ll still have desktops and laptops, but they’ll be like trucks (just like Jobs says).