Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is a Woody Allen fan? Or a fan of sharks? We can't be sure after a long and generally flattering weekend New York Timesfeature on the coming launch of Windows 7. (Now only two days away! We can't contain our Win-citement!) The Ballmer quote that leaps out is this, as he tells the NYT:
"What's the old movie line from Annie Hall? Relationships are like sharks; they move forward, or they die. Well, technology companies either move forward, too, or they die. They become less relevant."
Annie Hall? From the same pervy '70s director whose middle-aged hero sleeps with a teenager in Manhattan? From the guy who went on to marry his (sort of) stepdaughter, who defends child rapist Roman Polanski? Where were the Microsoft PR people when they needed to clamp a hand over Ballmer's mouth? (Good way to lose a finger, actually.) Couldn't he have cited Benji instead? The company is trying, after the Heaven's Gate that was Vista, to makes its wares all warm and cuddly. And we're only talking about the biggest product launch in the history of the world's biggest software company. But sharks? That only feeds (sorry!) Microsoft's old, rapacious image.
Good thing these other Ballmer movie references didn't make it into the Times story...
Ballmer about competing with Google in the search business: "You know what happens to nosy fellows? Huh? No? Wanna guess? Huh? No? Okay. They lose their noses."
When asked whether it'd be better to acquire or strike an advertising deal with Yahoo, Ballmer says it's better "to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women."
On Microsoft's corporate strategy: "In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women."
Planned response if OEMs aren't ready for full Windows 7 rollout on Thurs., Oct. 22: "Bring out the Gimp."