March 15, 2007 2:02 PM PDT

Ballmer calls Google's growth plans 'insane'

PALO ALTO, Calif.--While many investors have knocked Microsoft for not moving as quickly as Google, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggested that his chief rival may be trying to grow too fast.

Microsoft took nearly three decades to grow to 75,000 people, while Google has become a very large company in a fraction of that time.

"They are trying to double in a year," Ballmer told a crowd of Stanford Graduate School of Business students on Thursday. "That's insane in my opinion."

But, he added, "it doesn't mean they won't do it well."

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Video: Ballmer sees Google's model as unproven
Says Google is still in an early phase, in which it can milk its "one good idea."

There are advantages to the deliberate management structure that Microsoft has put in place, he said, adding that he isn't sure anyone has proven "that a random collection of people doing their own thing" has created value. Among Google's perks, the company is widely known for letting its engineers devote 20 percent of their work time to pet projects.

As in the past, he characterized Google as a one-trick pony, playing down the company's efforts beyond search.

"They do a lot of cute things," Ballmer said, to huge laughs from the business students.

"We do a lot of cute things too," he said. "We have a robotics effort."

Although not in the audience for Ballmer's chat, Google CEO Eric Schmidt happened to be not far away, eating lunch at the business school cafeteria as Ballmer's chat began. Schmidt teaches a class at Stanford's business school.

At Stanford and schools throughout the country, Google and Microsoft have emerged as each other's fiercest rivals for talent. Ballmer, who attended one year of the two year Stanford Business School program, makes fairly regular stops here, having delivered a similar "View from the Top" chat in 2005.

Ballmer said there are basically four stages in business: coming up with an idea, getting it to critical mass, milking it financially and then finding a new idea.

"Google is in the part of the cycle where they are milking," Ballmer said, acknowledging that's a fun stage. "That was the '90s for us...or I would say the '80s and '90s."

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143 comments

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Ballmer should know.
He's demonstrated some expertise on the subject of insanity. ; - )

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc4MzqBFxZE" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc4MzqBFxZE</a>
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Also knows about one-trick ponies
Well, two tricks. There's Office, and then there was DOS.
Posted by billmosby (536 comments )
Link Flag
Ballmer should know.
He's demonstrated some expertise on the subject of insanity. ; - )

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc4MzqBFxZE" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc4MzqBFxZE</a>
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Also knows about one-trick ponies
Well, two tricks. There's Office, and then there was DOS.
Posted by billmosby (536 comments )
Link Flag
Yes, don't believe the hype
Google is good at search engine, and will do well for the future, but they are getting all the respect for something they haven't created just yet. If they create it and have it ready, and they announce or display, then give them the credit, but not all this hyped up credit.
Posted by robbydobby (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, don't believe the hype
Google is good at search engine, and will do well for the future, but they are getting all the respect for something they haven't created just yet. If they create it and have it ready, and they announce or display, then give them the credit, but not all this hyped up credit.
Posted by robbydobby (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a quote!
"Google is in the part of the cycle where they are milking," Ballmer said, acknowledging that's a fun stage. "That was the '90s for us...or I would say the '80s and '90s."


What a quote! So Microsoft just admit that they overcharged their customers. Oh but now they are back in line.

Sheesh. The arrogance. I guess it's well founded, though.
Posted by mjm01010101 (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a quote!
"Google is in the part of the cycle where they are milking," Ballmer said, acknowledging that's a fun stage. "That was the '90s for us...or I would say the '80s and '90s."


What a quote! So Microsoft just admit that they overcharged their customers. Oh but now they are back in line.

Sheesh. The arrogance. I guess it's well founded, though.
Posted by mjm01010101 (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You Know You're in Trouble When...
You know a company is scared when they make a point to say
they're not.
Posted by TheBikerWeb.com (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You Know You're in Trouble When...
You know a company is scared when they make a point to say
they're not.
Posted by TheBikerWeb.com (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ballmer's single talent:
shooting his mouth off without thinking, like the stupid obnoxious windbag he is.
Posted by extinctone (214 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ballmer's single talent:
shooting his mouth off without thinking, like the stupid obnoxious windbag he is.
Posted by extinctone (214 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Any 'Net Shrinks care to comment?
I mean, SHEESH, what's wrong with Ballmer and Gates these days?
Between Ballmer's obvious step outside of reality here, and Gate's
"Macs get totally owned every day" meltdown, what's going on with
these guys? Too much flouride in the water in Redmond?
Those two need some serious vacation time, before they end up
sharing adjacent padded cells.
Posted by GGGlen (491 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Any 'Net Shrinks care to comment?
I mean, SHEESH, what's wrong with Ballmer and Gates these days?
Between Ballmer's obvious step outside of reality here, and Gate's
"Macs get totally owned every day" meltdown, what's going on with
these guys? Too much flouride in the water in Redmond?
Those two need some serious vacation time, before they end up
sharing adjacent padded cells.
Posted by GGGlen (491 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Open Source....the future
Google support open source...which is something Microsoft don't do well, as a result will do well into the future. Open Source is the future for standard home users and Microsoft are scarred that the only viable product they will have in 5-10 years from now is their OS, everything else is free. Why pay for office when openoffice is available, why use media player when VLC is a better product, why use IE when Firefox makes your PC more secure?
Posted by ozidigga (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Open Source....the future? Not So, For Sure!
As Newtonian Science will tell you - stand under an apple tree and see where the apple falls! Code-Base (Windows) OS/2 will always be Code-Base OS/2 and Code-Base Lotus "OPEN" SmartSuite (Open Office and Office) will always be Code-Base "OPEN" Lotus SmartSuite and this is the real "future of collaboration (OFFICE) as well as (WEB COMPUTING). Follow the attached link and see for yourself:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/notesdomino8" target="_newWindow">http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/notesdomino8</a>
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
OSS has own set of problems
&gt;"Open Source is the future for standard home users and Microsoft are scarred that the only viable product they will have in 5-10 years from now is their OS"

Open Office has been free for how many years yet MS still pulls in billions/year from it?

You can't even say it is becasue so few people know about it, becasue even the well informed people I know prefer not to use it.

The current open source community model creates almost as many problems as it solves (and I am not saying this just because of OOo)
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
errr
While open-source products are becoming more popular, business is largely remaining with MS products primarily because the work-force is accustomed to it and support is readily available - and business is where the money is.
Posted by a85 (104 comments )
Link Flag
another naive open source advocate..
...Google and open source!!! Google will support anything that undermines its key competitors and its ability to make more money, which in most cases is Microsoft. Google is as much a closed source company as MS is. There is not a single key Google product that is open source. Google is as much a proprietary software company as MS, I wouldn?t blame them it hard if not impossible to create a long term successful software company that is open source.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Link Flag
Open Source....the future
Google support open source...which is something Microsoft don't do well, as a result will do well into the future. Open Source is the future for standard home users and Microsoft are scarred that the only viable product they will have in 5-10 years from now is their OS, everything else is free. Why pay for office when openoffice is available, why use media player when VLC is a better product, why use IE when Firefox makes your PC more secure?
Posted by ozidigga (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Open Source....the future? Not So, For Sure!
As Newtonian Science will tell you - stand under an apple tree and see where the apple falls! Code-Base (Windows) OS/2 will always be Code-Base OS/2 and Code-Base Lotus "OPEN" SmartSuite (Open Office and Office) will always be Code-Base "OPEN" Lotus SmartSuite and this is the real "future of collaboration (OFFICE) as well as (WEB COMPUTING). Follow the attached link and see for yourself:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/notesdomino8" target="_newWindow">http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/notesdomino8</a>
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
OSS has own set of problems
&gt;"Open Source is the future for standard home users and Microsoft are scarred that the only viable product they will have in 5-10 years from now is their OS"

Open Office has been free for how many years yet MS still pulls in billions/year from it?

You can't even say it is becasue so few people know about it, becasue even the well informed people I know prefer not to use it.

The current open source community model creates almost as many problems as it solves (and I am not saying this just because of OOo)
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
errr
While open-source products are becoming more popular, business is largely remaining with MS products primarily because the work-force is accustomed to it and support is readily available - and business is where the money is.
Posted by a85 (104 comments )
Link Flag
another naive open source advocate..
...Google and open source!!! Google will support anything that undermines its key competitors and its ability to make more money, which in most cases is Microsoft. Google is as much a closed source company as MS is. There is not a single key Google product that is open source. Google is as much a proprietary software company as MS, I wouldn?t blame them it hard if not impossible to create a long term successful software company that is open source.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Link Flag
MS is on a down slide
I worked there for afull 2+ years, just ended my employement, you could say :- ) with two weeks notice, didn't quit or get fired. MS is reducing their work force, they are doing this quietly in some areas and in some they are adding people, but a fraction of what it used to be and majority of the spots are filled with HB1 Visa people.

Can anyways say "They are stealing our jobbbbsss"

South Park eppisode, had to laught.

Vista is a joke, and no I am not refering to the Beta or RC1, I got a full Retail version of the Ultimate, I got a 64-bit machine with 2 gig of ram and very good graphics card, and it wouldn't even install, I got a hardware system error at boot, when I choose to start from the DVD.

So, I think Vista is a joke. Office 2007, got a radical redesign that a lot of people hate, and it's too expensive, I loved 2003 Office, and even if I could get used to the new 2007 look with the Ribbons and so on, most people that need a simple spread sheet, can get free software, who would want to pay so much money for it.

There are too many version of Vista, makes it damn confusing and when I tried to give this software away from friends, no one wanted it, not even for free.

So, I don't know what to tell you.

Outlook 2007 is super slows, when I download messages on my home computer, using POP, it takes a few seconds just to switch between messages and it soooooooo slow.

I don't know what to say, probably why Ballmer is so mad and jumps up and down like a monkey in that video on youtube.com

That's all I got to say, I am looking into IT jobs in Healthcare and more stable government services, as this is bunch of BS.

Their stock isn't doing any good either.

I fear layoffs for them in the future and all those fancy new buildings, they will be sold or for Lease. I know some people that work in the Mail Room, and they let go some people, so that means they are expecting them to make less deliveries.

I can't believe that after 5 years and 5 billion $$$, that's all MS could do, steal so much from the Mac, even the little freaking icons, it's pathetic.

MS is a pathetic company these days, that's why Bill Gates is cutting out.

All of this is my opinion, I still use XP daily, but Vista is a waste of reasources and everything else. My friend who works for Dell, his hours were just cut, because no one is buying new computer with Vista and manufacturers are still offering the XP.

Play Station 3, with the BlueRay is now outselling 3 to 1 the HD DVD format that MS backed.

The MS was smart they would offer both drivers as external options and not lock them self down to just one, give the consumer a choice.

That's what happens when you bet the whole company and you do it so stubbornly, MS for a long time was used to forcing people to adhere to their OS and people not having choices and they did that.

These days, you got Linux, Linux and more Linux, OS X is great as well and Solaris and other UNIXes, much more choices in the market place.

What can I say, MS is loosing and they are mad that they can't control things, like they want to.

Good day.
Posted by RompStar_420 (772 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That was fun
"Can anyways say 'They are stealing our jobbbbsss'"

... you've got to be kidding.
Posted by Betty Roper (121 comments )
Link Flag
I agree - I just got a Mac
I got tired of microsoft products. Uninstaller that do not uninstall. Registry that the bigger it gets the slower it gets. Sometimes opening a folder means waiting over 40sec(just to look at a directory). I can go on and on. But it's late. I got a brand new mac 20" with Mac X. awesome machine. Very clean. Excellent performance and the best thing of all, I get all the Unix cool stuff.

The things a miss from the pc is the cool stuff that the community makes. I hope as more programmers like me move to mac, more programs get created for it.


I have a windows vista that I got from MS in one of their marketing trips. I am not planning to ever install it. Why bother? I will need to buy a new machine and my new Mac is plenty.

Bye Bye MS.
Posted by yacahuma (530 comments )
Link Flag
you probably did get sacked
You probably did get sacked because your spelling and grammar are so awful (and let's not mention your incoherent ramblings). MS were probably glad to see the back of you.
Posted by a85 (104 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, it sure seems that way
Five years and billions of dollars, what have they got to show for it? A crummy facelift with no new killer features that runs slower and isn't backward-compatible.

And a CEO who is clearly needs antipsychotic medication.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
MS is on a down slide
I worked there for afull 2+ years, just ended my employement, you could say :- ) with two weeks notice, didn't quit or get fired. MS is reducing their work force, they are doing this quietly in some areas and in some they are adding people, but a fraction of what it used to be and majority of the spots are filled with HB1 Visa people.

Can anyways say "They are stealing our jobbbbsss"

South Park eppisode, had to laught.

Vista is a joke, and no I am not refering to the Beta or RC1, I got a full Retail version of the Ultimate, I got a 64-bit machine with 2 gig of ram and very good graphics card, and it wouldn't even install, I got a hardware system error at boot, when I choose to start from the DVD.

So, I think Vista is a joke. Office 2007, got a radical redesign that a lot of people hate, and it's too expensive, I loved 2003 Office, and even if I could get used to the new 2007 look with the Ribbons and so on, most people that need a simple spread sheet, can get free software, who would want to pay so much money for it.

There are too many version of Vista, makes it damn confusing and when I tried to give this software away from friends, no one wanted it, not even for free.

So, I don't know what to tell you.

Outlook 2007 is super slows, when I download messages on my home computer, using POP, it takes a few seconds just to switch between messages and it soooooooo slow.

I don't know what to say, probably why Ballmer is so mad and jumps up and down like a monkey in that video on youtube.com

That's all I got to say, I am looking into IT jobs in Healthcare and more stable government services, as this is bunch of BS.

Their stock isn't doing any good either.

I fear layoffs for them in the future and all those fancy new buildings, they will be sold or for Lease. I know some people that work in the Mail Room, and they let go some people, so that means they are expecting them to make less deliveries.

I can't believe that after 5 years and 5 billion $$$, that's all MS could do, steal so much from the Mac, even the little freaking icons, it's pathetic.

MS is a pathetic company these days, that's why Bill Gates is cutting out.

All of this is my opinion, I still use XP daily, but Vista is a waste of reasources and everything else. My friend who works for Dell, his hours were just cut, because no one is buying new computer with Vista and manufacturers are still offering the XP.

Play Station 3, with the BlueRay is now outselling 3 to 1 the HD DVD format that MS backed.

The MS was smart they would offer both drivers as external options and not lock them self down to just one, give the consumer a choice.

That's what happens when you bet the whole company and you do it so stubbornly, MS for a long time was used to forcing people to adhere to their OS and people not having choices and they did that.

These days, you got Linux, Linux and more Linux, OS X is great as well and Solaris and other UNIXes, much more choices in the market place.

What can I say, MS is loosing and they are mad that they can't control things, like they want to.

Good day.
Posted by RompStar_420 (772 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That was fun
"Can anyways say 'They are stealing our jobbbbsss'"

... you've got to be kidding.
Posted by Betty Roper (121 comments )
Link Flag
I agree - I just got a Mac
I got tired of microsoft products. Uninstaller that do not uninstall. Registry that the bigger it gets the slower it gets. Sometimes opening a folder means waiting over 40sec(just to look at a directory). I can go on and on. But it's late. I got a brand new mac 20" with Mac X. awesome machine. Very clean. Excellent performance and the best thing of all, I get all the Unix cool stuff.

The things a miss from the pc is the cool stuff that the community makes. I hope as more programmers like me move to mac, more programs get created for it.


I have a windows vista that I got from MS in one of their marketing trips. I am not planning to ever install it. Why bother? I will need to buy a new machine and my new Mac is plenty.

Bye Bye MS.
Posted by yacahuma (530 comments )
Link Flag
you probably did get sacked
You probably did get sacked because your spelling and grammar are so awful (and let's not mention your incoherent ramblings). MS were probably glad to see the back of you.
Posted by a85 (104 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, it sure seems that way
Five years and billions of dollars, what have they got to show for it? A crummy facelift with no new killer features that runs slower and isn't backward-compatible.

And a CEO who is clearly needs antipsychotic medication.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
Maybe Google needs a chair-throwing app?
That'd get Ballmer's attention...

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe Google needs a chair-throwing app?
That'd get Ballmer's attention...

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mr Sanity
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?</a>
v=d_AP3SGMxxM&#38;mode=related&#38;search=

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?</a>
v=IqUcTvfWgoM&#38;mode=related&#38;search=
Posted by Ian Joyner (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mr Sanity
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?</a>
v=d_AP3SGMxxM&#38;mode=related&#38;search=

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?</a>
v=IqUcTvfWgoM&#38;mode=related&#38;search=
Posted by Ian Joyner (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe Google isn't Trying to grow quickly
Maybe Google isn't purposefully trying to grow quickly, they just naturally have. Plus google has a social slant MS doesn't have.

Remember, this is coming from this guy:
<a href="http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=steve+ballmer+developers%7Cmonkeyboy">http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=steve+ballmer+developers%7Cmonkeyboy</a>

Developers Developers Developers Developers!
Developers Developers Developers Developers!
Developers Developers Developers Developers!
Posted by justgold79 (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe Google isn't Trying to grow quickly
Maybe Google isn't purposefully trying to grow quickly, they just naturally have. Plus google has a social slant MS doesn't have.

Remember, this is coming from this guy:
<a href="http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=steve+ballmer+developers%7Cmonkeyboy">http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=steve+ballmer+developers%7Cmonkeyboy</a>

Developers Developers Developers Developers!
Developers Developers Developers Developers!
Developers Developers Developers Developers!
Posted by justgold79 (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This from a guy who still reads management "How To" books.
Ballmer, you're a fool. The only smart thing you ever did was to get a dorm room across the hall from Bill.
Posted by anarchyreigns (299 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This from a guy who still reads management "How To" books.
Ballmer, you're a fool. The only smart thing you ever did was to get a dorm room across the hall from Bill.
Posted by anarchyreigns (299 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ballmer's superlatives
Once again, Steve Ballmer uses terminology to stir reaction,
whether it is warranted or not. No one can justifiably refer to
Google as "insane." Still, it is a step up for Mr. Ballmer from past
fanatical rantings. As a communications neophyte, he still
represents very little in the way of class or intelligence, and only
promotes the perception that he and his company are very
powerful, very rich, very scared, and running on luck that is very
quickly, running out. I'm not saying Google is the perfect
company, but if there is any claim to insanity it seems to lay with
the corporate minds at Microsoft who continue to believe that
they can run roughshod over their competition through
intimidation and unfair trade practices. Frankly, I think a lot of
people are catching on to the fact that the likes of Steve Ballmer
cannot do justice to a company that represents over 90 percent
of the current OS market share.
Posted by Eric Westra (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah!
What ^^^^ said :-)
Posted by GGGlen (491 comments )
Link Flag
In the 90's Microsoft was the ?little company that could? and everyone loved them for not being ?big bad corporate IBM?. Now Microsoft is the ?big bad corporation? and Google is everyone's favorite ?little company that could?. Gimme a break. I wonder who everyone will love when Google becomes that big bad corporation.
Posted by levelheadeditguy (3 comments )
Link Flag
 

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