Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggested during a CNBC interview that the Xbox was the most popular young consumer brand in tech.
VEGAS-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used his Jan. 5 keynote at the Consumer
Electronics Show to promote his company's consumer initiatives, particularly
the Kinect hands-free controller for the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7. And this
being Vegas, he used a Jan. 6 interview with CNBC to essentially double down on
his assertion that Microsoft is a preeminent consumer brand-by insisting that
the Xbox eclipses Apple in that category.
According to a
transcript provided by CNBC
, host Maria Bartiromo asked Ballmer: How
are you going to get the Microsoft brand to really resonate with the younger
consumer out there the way Apple and Google do?
popular young consumer brand in the electronics business is ours, the Xbox,"
Ballmer told Bartiromo. "You could say, -Okay, we and Apple can go at it.' But let's
make no mistake about it; for young people today, it's the exciting things
they're doing, or the things they're doing in-what we call the entertainment
side of their lives."
asserted that, although Microsoft had made what he termed "big bets" on
technology such as cloud and Kinect, major acquisitions were a different story
entirely. When pressed on whether Microsoft would consider purchasing Research
In Motion-a much-rumored subject in the past-Ballmer seemed reluctant to give a
"I feel pretty
good about the bets," he said. "Now, when does acquisition make sense? That's a
complicated subject, probably best not addressed in this interview."
Xbox began life as a game machine, Microsoft is using it as a means to assert a
substantial presence in living-room entertainment. During CES, he announced
Kinect-compatible Netflix and Hulu applications. That would put Microsoft on a
collision course in yet another realm with Apple and Google, which are both
making living-room forays with their respective connected televisions.
also used his keynote to insist that Microsoft would continue to invest
"aggressively" in its Windows Phone 7 platform and issue a series of software
updates for the smartphone platform in the next few months. Those will include
"copy-and-paste and significant performance improvements when loading and
switching between applications," he told the audience.
7 smartphones, currently available only on GSM-based networks such as AT&T,
will appear on Verizon and Sprint in the first half of 2011. Microsoft is
trying to regain market share in smartphones, where it faces stiff competition
from both Google Android and Apple's iOS.