Mix08 – Keynote 2 – Guy Kawasaki & Steve Ballmer

The second keynote was a one-hour interview format between Guy Kawasaki from Apple and Steve Ballmer from Microsoft. There seemed to be friendly banter between the two of them, and they both seemed to enjoy the session. He is a ham, and plays to the crowd and pulls you into the conversation. What impressed me most was the breadth and depth of knowledge he had on technical and business aspects of Microsoft’s products, services, activities, and acquisitions. I recommend going to the Mix web site, downloading the video for the session, and watching it. It was both informative and entertaining.

There were a lot of questions that were thrown out, so I tried to get the gist of the questions and answers as quickly as I could. Here are my notes. I didn’t get all the questions from Guy and the audience, but I think I got the ones that were most interesting.

  1. Q: Why do you wanna buy Yahoo?
    A: Advertising on the Internet will be the next super-big thing. Yahoo is a way to accelerate Microsoft forward.
  2. Q: Is it a zero sum game? Do you have to do Google in?
    A: We have to have a strong position in search and online advertising.
  3. Q: Are you hunting down Google?
    A: Microsoft is trying to do 4 things, and there are competitors in all of those spaces – Desktop (Apple, Linux), Server & Enterprise (IBM, HP), Entertainment & Devices (Sony, Apple), Online (Google, Google, Google)
  4. Q: What about Apple?
    A: They have some market share, but Microsoft has a bigger footprint in the PC arena
  5. Q: What about Facebook?
    A: Serious about online advertising, Facebook is a big platforms for advertising. That is where Facebook comes in.
  6. Q: You are one of the richest people in the world… what drives you?
    A: Looking forward to doing more great work, look at Silverlight! I wanna change the world, work with smartest energetic fun people. I love a challenge.
  7. Q: What does Steve Ballmer do?
    A: I have 3 types of days – 1) working out of Redmond, work with customers from 7:30 am, 8 at night, 2) Doctor’s in the office – every hour I will have a meeting all day long, 3) There are days where I can think , write, and research.
  8. Q: How much email do you get?
    A: 60, 70 emails a day – steveb@microsoft.com
  9. Q: Where is Bill at? Where is Microsoft post-Bill?
    A: He will be Part Time, Full time in the foundation, working special projects, and taking time off this summer
  10. Q: What’s the marketing pitch to a young person to work at Microsoft?
    A: not that different than 25 years ago. really wanna work on things that will change the world.
  11. Q: How does Halo 3, Guitar Hero, Rock band fit in the Microsoft Strategy?
    A: These are products that people are passionate about, 17 million Xbox users, 11 million Xbox Live users
  12. Q: What’s the plans and long term goal of Silverlight?
    A: As the Internet & PC have grown up, they have forced users to take a fork in the road – use broadly available & easy to deploy applications, or have rich interaction. We are trying to bring those two things together, without compromises.
  13. Q: What are the numbers around Silverlight?
    A: It was launched a year ago, we are shipping 1.5 million downloads a day, and there are still lots of opportunities. Windows update already puts WPF on the desktop.
  14. Q: What’s the deal with Vista?
    A: The cries from the masses were to focus on security, so we did. Now there are some issues with application compatibility & driver compatibility. We have taken feedback, turned around with SP1, and updated the drivers.
  15. Q: How can you do all these things well?
    A: not an option to do one thing, we have to be good at them all.
  16. Firefox and IE. What’s happening there?
    A: Firefox is gaining market share, built up a lot of new developer features in in IE8, and there is lots more to come.
  17. Q: What about IE on the Mac?
    A: of all the key innovations, that is not the top on the list… teasing… it is smarter for us to apply innovation in other areas
  18. Q: Social networking… what’s the Microsoft perspective?
    A: People will be using the Internet more richly. It’s not a fad. The Internet has changed forever.
  19. Q: what about opening APIs on social Microsoft?
    A: We are already providing open interfaces on a lot of stuff. There is lots more to come there too.
  20. Q: What about Adobe?
    A: Yes Silverlight may be a competitor, but we have integrated PDF into our office apps too.
  21. Q: why wasn’t IE part of the evolution of .Net since they are both web solutions?
    A: IE was part of the progression of the OS. Lesson is learned.
  22. Q: If Yahoo moves over to MS, what about all the PHP apps?
    A: Microsoft shouldn’t have 2 of everything. if PHP apps are better than a Microsoft solution, PHP will be in production and supported for a long time. Microsoft will become a PHP shop too.
  23. Q: What are the synergies with Yahoo?
    A: Scale is an advantage in the search game, more search, more advertising, more bidding on keywords, more revenue, more reinvestment.
  24. Q: What about FAST Search & queryless search?
    A: This is in the middle of regulatory review, they have a great technology and a great team.
  25. Q: Talk about the acquisition of Danger
    A: Danger provides Microsoft way to do consumer oriented services on Windows Mobile
  26. Q: Will Silverlight be used for Hotmail, etc?
    A: This will happen when existing products are re-released. We still have issues getting Silverlight on the desktop.
  27. Q: What about Amalga, HealthVault?
    A: Healthcare is the only vertical that we have dug in deeply. It is the least well-served by IT.
  28. Q: The format wars. Blu-Ray has won. Now what for Microsoft?
    A: We are not a hardware shop. We will just shift support. Will it really matter? Will rich media may be delivered over the Internet instead of on discs? Maybe.

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