Steve Ballmer mocks “idle chatter” of Salesforce and VMware at Dell World

By Tom Warren, on 14th Oct 11 2:20 pm with 62 Comments

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer kicked off his Dell World keynote on Friday by branding the Salesforce and VMWare keynotes as “idle chatter”.

Ballmer appeared on stage at day two of Dell’s conference on Friday to discuss Windows 8, Skype and the company’s Lync communications platform. Ballmer introduced a demonstration of Windows 8 and Windows Server 8 shortly after discussing Dell and Microsoft’s close partnership. “I would argue even in the organization of this meeting, you could see the strong partnership between the two companies,” said Ballmer. “I was so pleased to be on day two with Paul Otellini [Intel CEO] instead of having to be on day one, a day of idle chatter in my opinion.”

Day one of Dell World 2011 featured VMware CEO Paul Maritz and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, two of Microsoft’s biggest rivals in the battle for the cloud. Benioff previously labeled Microsoft an “evil empire” and has a long history of trading insults with Microsoft officials. Microsoft also recently poked fun at VMware with a new marketing campaign in August. Microsoft created a VMlimited mini-site that claimed VMware was “stuck in the past” with its cloud offerings.

Despite the joking, Ballmer discussed how Microsoft was re-imagining the entire company alongside Windows. “We’re not just re-imagining Windows, we’re also re-imagining the rest of Microsoft essentially at the same time,” explained Ballmer. He introduced short demonstrations of Windows 8, Windows Server 8 and Lync. Ballmer also briefly discussed Skype and its role in Lync and the enterprise. “One of the great efforts now is to make sure we get Skype to our Lync technology for inside the enterprise video, so you can have a managed solution inside the enterprise and still be able to reach the whole world of hundreds of millions of Skype users.” Microsoft’s BJ Haberkorn also demonstrated the company’s Windows Phone Lync application, promising a release before the end of the year.

  • Rosewiddows

    Microsoft has lost it… no direction, no real leadership in the market.Ballmer needs to get his head out of his $#$se

    • Justfortherecord

      And you need to get your head out of Apples and media pundits A$$ and take responsibility for your information and make informed decisions based upon real facts and not blown up media disproportionate thinking. If you truly want people to agree with you make sure your comments are unbiased and based upon true research and not the blathering of Apple Fanboys or Hedge Fund Managers or Media pundits who wallets and rating rest on beating upon on others. Get OFF the bandwagon Rosewiddows

    • Test1ngi23

      LOL. Wow. If you say anything bad about Ballmer, you’re immediately an Apple fanboy. You know Apple and Microsoft are not the only two companies in the world. And there really are legitimate reasons to criticize Ballmer. You have to admit that he does have a tendency to disparage his competitors that later come back and kick him in the ass. I, and many others, see that as a flaw, not a strength.

    • Fatlady

      Right on.

    • Guest

      Then again, you have an alias dedicated to trolling. And it’s probably not the only one, is it? Hehheh. So you’re not exactly an objective opinion.

    • deathmore34

      Since a month ago the internet does not believe in opinions, if you dislike something you are  a troll

    • Guest

      Well in this case Salesforce has handily beaten MS in the market by every measure: dollars, share, customers, growth rate. Ballmer used to make fun of Salesforce and their idea of cloud-based computing. He’s not laughing about it any more. He’s busy spending billions trying to catch up. Chatter was another very smart move that forced MS and others to respond. And then there’s VMware. MS has gained share there by giving away the desktop stuff for free and including the the virtualization as part of server. But every report I’ve read concludes that VMware is still years ahead of MS on functionality, at least on the server side. And they have reported record quarter after record quarter despite MS’s efforts to hurt them through giving stuff away for free.

      So Ballmer making fun of them does tend to make him look stupid and foolish.

    • Anonymous

      You sound like a liar.

    • Sarah_gilbert

      1. Prove It
      2. SalesForce has bad accounting practices. THey actually lose money. Compare GAAP and non-GAAP. You will see.
      3. SalesForce has done well in CRM. Accepted. But what’s the point bashing MSFT? You do well and grow, Marc needs a muzzle first. Chatter, anyone uses it?
      4. VMWare is actually a Microsoft partner too. If you don’t know Microsoft is a software company and VMWare is a great platform to run Windows OSes, like most of you are running.
      5. Hyper-V was late to the market. period. Now, Microsoft is ahead in the cloud. period.
      6. The battle is for the datacenter here, Microsoft is shifting the datacenter to its own. See what happens in the next 5-7 years.

    • Guest

      @ sarah

      “See what happens in the next 5-7 years.”

      In 7, there’s a decent chance that MS will cease to exist as an independent entity.

    • Anonymous

      Wait! Before I answer guest’s post I have to say that I wish Steve Ballmer would grow up a bit more and mature beyond the unnecessary verbal jabs that tend to come back to haunt him. He came across to me as being a little ticked for being placed on day 2 and what made matters worse for him VMWare was put on day1. Steve your marketing team is doing a good job at throwing “funny” mud at the competition. Please rise above that level of intellect. I understand that the competitive nature sometimes takes over but this is definitely a situation where he would have been better off letting it go.

      Now on to the post made by Guest. Are you seriously comparing Salesforce to Microsoft?

      If you’re comparing stocks then just say so. The 2 companies other than being publicly traded cannot be compared. It’s like comparing WalMart with Whole Foods. Yeah WalMart competes in that sector also but we all know Whole Foods does not compare to WalMart in size, reach, offerings, client base, just to name a few.

      It’s funny how everyone loves to take matters out of context then judge. Ballmer didn’t laugh at the idea of cloud based computing. Ballmer laughed at the time because the tools and technology to provide a viable cloud offering hadn’t reached critical mass yet. I test drove’s offerings back in 2004. They were a joke back then. I didn’t see myself recommending them based on the value they were offering back then.

      Chatter forced MS and other to respond? What are you smoking?? Look! Just because salesforce works for what you need to do, just do the rest of the world a favor and do your homework on competing products before you speak. OCS has been around since 2005. 5 years ahead of chatter. Sharepoint has been around since 2001. Nothing that chatter achieves couldn’t have been achieved with off the shelf products from Microsoft. Don’t kid yourself. Sharepoint + Office + OCS integration has been available since the early 2000s. Key products like outlook and communicator were available in destop, web based and mobile. Microsoft Dynamix has its roots in Great Plains, Solomon and Navision. All organizations that were market and domain leaders in their own right before their acquisition and continue to lead in the marketplace today.

      Get your facts straight then come and share your opinion based on facts not based on fantasy…

    • Guest

      @2d75c6a3459d11a259b3bc4a9872289c:disqus :  For someone who is blasting someone for not know the “facts” you lose credibility  when you just rant and call names rather then offering any insightful or materially informative.   

    • Phandstra


  • Pedro Roque

    Welcome back, Microsoft. We missed you.

    • Guest

      No. The old MS talked tough and then backed it up by beating you senseless in the marketplace. MS should have buried both these companies before they ever had a chance to become players. Instead it let that happen right under its nose, and has now been chasing them for years.

      This is just more idle chest thumping by Ballmer. Like when he still tries to talk down iPhone or iPad. He’s become an embarrassing joke. I’d take Maritz or Benioff as CEO of MS any day.

    • Anonymous

      .”"” I’d take Maritz or Benioff as CEO of MS any day”"”

      .i would stop using ms in that day

    • Guest

      Then you clearly have no understanding of either’s skill sets or accomplishments. Because either would be head and shoulders better than Ballmer. Maritz has forgotten more about technology and strategy than Ballmer will even know. And Benioff is a visionary who saw the enterprise cloud opportunity years ahead of Ballmer and is ten times more effective at marketing and promoting his company is a positive light.

    • MSfan

      Yes Ballmer has stayed well past his prime, looking and sounding like a joke that he is.  He talked about re-imaging the company but still slaps “Windows” on everything they sales like it is still 1987.  It is one of the reason no one want to look at WP7 even though it is a good OS 

    • Anonymous

      I am no one?

    • MSfan

      @Jarrichvdv:disqus :

      yes no one, unless you count the 1.4 million you bought one in the last QTR a number horribly less then what Apple will sadly sale in ONE DAY with their retread iPhone 4s.   

    • Guest

      Dude, your Crandrea effort failed. Why didn’t you just sell out and move on?

    • Anonymous

      @6970db54414a16927b3e22470ef98c66:disqus Steve’s death and the Apple stores’ metamorphosis into shrines surely must’ve contributed to the 4S sales numbers. It seems that Steve even planned his demise in order to help the company.

    • Anonymous

      No, you are wrong, it’s “Anti-Trust” strangling by the DoJ.

      But that’s all finished now, thank God.  It’s not easy to really go after your competitors when you’ve got over 600 anti-trust lawyers on your arse day in day out for a decade.

    • Guest

      Oh bs. The DOJ didn’t create the Longhorn fail. Or Vista. Or Zune. Or Kin. It didn’t tell Ballmer to ignore VMware for literally a decade before figuring out they were a threat. Or write off Salesforce because nobody was going to use the cloud for business. Or predict that iPhone wouldn’t gain much share and then take three YEARS to respond when it did. Or repeat that mistake with iPad. The DOJ didn’t tell them to spend $9.5 billion/year in R&D and yet have less to show for it than Apple who spends $1.5. Or to buy aQuantive for $6 billion or Danger for $.5 billion and then mismanage both into the ground.

      The DOJ impact is maybe to blame for 5% or less of what has transpired. Ballmer and MS can take credit for all the rest.

    • Anonymous

      @ guest, it’s not bs.  and it was the EU also that was all over MS those years.  Vista, sold more than OSX and still have more users than it.  Zune?  The software is still there and growing.  The hardware was only sold in the US and they didn’t even offer the software to other countries until the WP7 came out.  The Kin, well Verizon killed that with their data plan.    As for the iphone he was right.  He said at that price point no one was going to buy it.  When they dropped the price it took off!  Do you know that the 9.5 billion a year is not all in house stuff right.  You think all those colleges out there is made out of $$$?   They fund plenty of schools with that money.

    • Anonymous

      too bad nither makes more money for their company than Ballmer!!

    • Anonymous

      I like Steve Ballmer, I really do. He’s my kind of CEO – brash and bold.

  • Michael Stanclift

    Ballmer will have room to talk trash on VMware when Microsoft Hyper-V can do half the things VMware vCenter/ESXi can do.

    • Jinge

      I kind of agree… HyperV is nice, but VMWare is as good as it, and has few more features HyperV doesn’t have. Ballmer should better push its HV team, then he will be able to mock… Unity is still not available on HyperV. Having a VM dedicated to 1 software can be a need, and having only the software window on our desktop is much more practical than having the full “remote” desktop, for example if there is no internet on the VM.

    • Michael Stanclift

      Microsoft has AppV for that, VMware has ThinApp.

    • Jinge

      Thanks, I didn’t know AppV! Looks nice.

    • Guest

      Exactly. Only then he won’t need to trash talk them. He can let the features and market share speak for itself. Until then, he should stfu and get busy making MS’s offerings more competitive.

    • Sarah_gilbert

      THis is exactly Ballmer’s point. You validated it. You guys are still stuck into ESX/vCenter (*i.e. virtualization). The world is moving to the cloud. VMWare does not have a cloud, they don’t make a cloud they don’t offer a cloud. But they say they have a cloud. If you have it, show up.

    • Michael Stanclift

      No, VMware makes the tools that power “the cloud” … Microsoft has their own cloud offering, Azure, Office 365, etc, and that’s all well and good. But if you want to build your own cloud, either as a large scale hosting provider or as a private company looking to deploy services for internal or external customers, chances are you’re not going to do it with Hyper-V, you’re going to use a variety of technologies centered around VMware’s virtualization platform.

      The world isn’t going to move their entire infrastructure to the cloud, there are always going to be people and companies who have needs that the cloud cannot provide, and in the end there still has to be technologies and companies making the cloud function.

      There are many different types of “cloud computing” providers, just as there are many types of needs. The fact that Microsoft has their own cloud hosting platform is rather insignificant and doesn’t make them any better than VMware based on that fact, and it certainly doesn’t make them any better than Amazon, Verizon, AT&T, IBM, Savvis, or any other of the multiple public cloud providers. (Most of which are powered by VMware, mind you.)

    • Guest

      Actually Microsoft has a private cloud offering… Hyper-V + System Center Operations Manager is the answer.  Beats the snot out of anything VMware can do.  The future of IT isn’t being a VMWare expert.. If my skills were based on that alone I’d be very afraid.  Oh, and its less expensive than the VMware tax!

  • JimmyFal

    Where can we get the full keynote?

    • MSfan

      From the same guy who mocked the iPhone, the iPad, Android… Someone needs to tell our CEO to sut-up, stop mocking the competition and start creating some innovative products that WOWS the customer instead of giving money losers like Kin, Zune, and Bing.

    • Anonymous

      MSFT makes lots of profits on Windows, Office and XBox.

    • Guest

      Windows and Office, yes. Xbox, not very much. In fact on a % margin basis it’s an incredibly shitty business.

    • Penta2100

      Lots? More like they rob 10 banks in a getting atleast $100,000 each. (I actually have no idea but I’m pretty sure its alot. haha)

    • Anonymous

      you are truly an idiot. you get your tech knowledge from tabloid tech sites. do you know why ballmer mocked the iphone during that interview. the phone was going to sell for $500 and $500 subsidized on a contract. if you told that to anyone, they would laugh ever harder in your face.

      And also, with such a huge company as Microsoft, not everything turns to gold. Zune,kin sure they were failures,but they were such an insignificant part of the company. Yes lets bash the CEO because a dumbphone that was a small side project didnt work out, but lets have selective memory for the 450 million windows 7 licenses sold in a year and a half. stop being such a moron

    • MSfan

      Actually when AT&T was shown the iPhone they did not laugh but signed on the dotted line and made one of the company’s most successful strategic positioning since wireless started.  

      Windows is a legacy product that rides on the coattails of a near monopoly position in the market.   But just as the stock market has reflected, other then the company’s legacy product it has seen little to no success at new product other then Kinect, even the so called Xbox had been a sinkhole of cash and took way to many years of good money after bad to finally show some positive cash flow.  And what about Bing still flounders after near trillion dollars spent on it, even for you big spender that in not trivial, nor is it for shareholders.   Which is why mean, like me, is calling for the train chimp of a CEO to step down.    

    • Guest

      Ballmer should have been smart enough to understand that Apple could easily adjust the price, which is exactly what they did. The advantage of the product over everything else at the time was obvious. It convinced AT&T to do an unprecedented upfront exclusive deal where Apple retained control of updates. Bill Gates has been quoted as saying he immediately thought oh no, we didn’t aim high enough. And since they had already destroyed MS in music with iPod, it was fairly obvious they had the manufacturing ability to drive down costs and the marketing skills and consumer base to sell millions. So there’s really no excuse. Ballmer simply blew it. Big. And then he made it worse by wasting another year or more in denial before replacing the entire mobile group and starting over, ultimately costing the company a three year total lag that it as been unable to recover from.

    • Guest
  • Anonymous

    Go Ballmer, give ‘em hell!

    • AlienSix

      Or as my First Grade Teacher would have said to Stevie B, “Keep your eyes on your own paper and you will do just fine…”   

    • Anonymous

      I’m sure your 1st grade teacher know loads about running a multi-billion company.

    • AlienSix

      Maybe not running a multi billion biz but a think or two on “Focus” and the trained chimp Ballmer runs around like a ADD first grader missing his proper dose of retalin   

    • JohnDeRosa


  • anonymous

    Anything Steve mocks gonna turn to gold :)

  • J. Davies

    Yeesh. I’ve been an Apple fan since forever, but Microsoft’s new products have seen me start to use their platform. They’re great. The Powershell team infected me with their enthusiasm.

    But then… this. It makes me grind my teeth and think of alternatives. (It’s not rational, but I’m human). Why can’t the company have a positive, enthusiastic CEO instead of this man? He’s so aggressive and negative, while being bland like a leaden sky. Not the image I’d want for my company.

    • Guest

      When an Apple CEO can get through five minutes of WWDC without resorting to immature and arrogant jabs at MS (and every other competitor) that make Steve’s comment here look mild by comparison (which it was), then you *might* have a point. Until then, as an Apple fan, you’re being a hypocrite.

    • Anonymous

      How funny! The late Steve Jobs in his second tenure knew better than to bite the hand the fed him. The current CEO didn’t waste any time taking jabs at Microsoft.

      In his early days Steve Jobs couldn’t find a single complimentary word to describe Microsoft even if his life depended on it.

      It’s funny how selective is some people’s memory. Then again I don’t know what Guest’s life experience consists of. He might have grown up in the era where Steve Jobs had come to his senses and knew better than to fight Microsoft.

      All that said, I still say Ballmer should rise above these worthless verbal contests. They do nothing for the marketshare at this point. Spare the energy for the board room and the Microsoft conferences big fella.

    • J. Davies

      Hey, I’m not making excuses for Apple. Moreover, I’d call myself a ‘Microsoft fan’ too — and I still stand by my statement that Ballmer isn’t doing the company any favours carrying on like he does.

      It wasn’t the ‘idle chatter’ stuff in isolation. It’s the whole package. He strikes me as someone who rejects the human element of products and systems. That’s not good for what is, ultimately, a human-focussed company. It’s enough to turn me right off Microsoft, and I’m not alone.

    • Anonymous

      How does Ballmer reject the human element? That sound like iTard-talk to me!

    • Guest

      See ya.

    • Anonymous

      @JDavies:disqus sometimes passion is misunderstood. There is no doubt Steve Ballmer is dedicated and passionate about Microsoft. Not about technology. Not about computing. He’s the eternal salesman. He will go to any extreme to demonstrate his loyalty to Microsoft.

      People seem to forget that this man has been with this company 30+ years. He was one of the early leaders within the organization and continues to bust his ass for Microsoft even though he could easily retire a billionaire and could have done so years ago.

      In a weird way and even though I wish he wouldn’t do these things anymore, it’s good to see that he still has that same hunger and competitive spirit. You don’t reach that level in your career unless you’re competitive, dedicated and intelligent. Does he make boneheaded statements and moves sometimes, sure. Everyone does. Even intelligent people. 

      This guy got into Harvard and Stanford Business School. He sat across from people like Bill Gates and Paul Allen and even Steve Jobs. He shook hands with Presidents, country leaders, and world leaders. He worked with engineers, DEVELOPERS, and some of the most brilliant minds in the world and many others. In most of his bouts with his competitors he came out on the winning end, regardless of whether he was the CEO or it’s top sales leader.

      This is the guy who led Microsoft’s transformation from being the COM/DCOM and the VB4,5,6 company of the 90s to the company that became synomymous with things such as DotNet and C#.

      If any of you wants to criticize Steve Ballmer, pull out your resume look at it, look at his…


  • trashoner

    I can see there is plenty of competition out there on every aspect of what Microsoft does. But one big detail that most average users overlook is the fact that Microsoft willingness to compete with everybody brings great improvement to the windows ecosystem.  In my own opinion I rather have native support than third party solutions. A good example is WP7 where most solutions work all natively without the need to make the OS slow by non-native apps. At this point even iOS is playing catch up with some of the features WP7 came out with right out the box.  Yes wpOS didn’t have every solution that Android and iOS had when it first came out, but what was done, it was done well. It brought reminders right at the lock screen, sliding camera roll while taking pictures, multiple deletion of emails, hubs, xbox live, office and many other features that although small they were clever enough to make other platforms implement these features on their own OSes. As a result WP has become an OS that has a more practical and pleasant experience, even without one app downloaded, than most of the competition.

  • Guest


    • Paul Parisien

      Uh!? Works great for me :-D

  • RemixedCat

    Most of the top cloud hosting companies use vmware cloud/hypervisor products.

    Most of the top hosting companies listed on Netcraft use vmware hypervisors.

    • Anonymous

      Precisely which backs my point. The best use for linux in the enterprise is to run Windows virtual machines.