At the Churchill Club in Santa Clara, two tech titans sat down to have a conversation. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman interviewed Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer at an event with “tech influencers and innovators”, and a bunch of of us press folk. Ballmer is riding on the release of Windows 8, Surface and the Windows 8 Phone, so there is plenty to talk about.
I love when Reid Hoffman asks questions, as I saw him speak with Newark Mayor Cory Booker last year, and it was great.
Hoffman asked Ballmer what the future looks like at Microsoft and he said “We’re happy with the spectacular start we got off to with Windows 8 and we’re always innovating, but from a strategy perspective we’re all in. We’re off to a very good start, and have a great team.”
On Sinofsky’s recent departure, Ballmer said: “Sinofsky’s departure was his decision, we wish him well.”
On the Surface and Windows 8, Ballmer says that Microsoft has found the best of “Both worlds, work and play.” On the Surface specifically, Ballmer says that many people have had the “Ooooh, Ooooh, Ooooh, I get it moment.” Hoffman then pressed and asked them if Ballmer feels like it makes a dent in the tablet market, and Ballmer brought up the Asus model for Google, and others. He does give in by saying that Microsoft is still in early days.
Hoffman asked about the iPad and if Surface can make a dent in the market and grab developers attention. On consumers, Ballmer says “Diversity of form factor matters, and not compromising either form factor. You need diversity of price point, that’s quite important.”
We recently reported that Surface sales were “modest” at best.
Ballmer went on to discuss the Surface UI, which he described as “Different.”
This is developing.
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