In a recent AP articleabout today’s release of Windows 7, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had an interesting answer in response to a question about whether or not smartphones “could unseat PC’s as the technology of choice for on-the-go consumers.
Let’s face it, the Internet was designed for the PC. The Internet is not designed for the iPhone. That’s why they’ve got 75,000 applications — they’re all trying to make the Internet look decent on the iPhone.
I think this quote encapsulates everything that’s backwards about Microsoft’s mobile strategy. Sure, the Internet was designed for the PC and not the iPhone, but Apple was able to design the iPhone forthe Internet. There’s no denying that the web browsing experience on the iPhone, when first released, was years ahead of the competition. And if you think about it, the first worthy competitor to Safari on the iPhone didn’t come along until the Palm Pre surfaced a few months ago.
It’s easy to sit back, as Microsoft has done with every Windows Mobile browser, and casually decide that the Internet simply isn’t built for mobile devices with small screens. It’s a lot harder to take a look at the Internet and actually figure out and engineer a way to best transfer the desktop browsing experience into a small device like the iPhone. Apple, to its credit, sat down and figured out a way.
Also, Ballmer’s quote about 75,000 applications trying to make the Internet decent on the iPhone is strange, if not downright idiotic. Is Ballmer really that oblivious to the utility provided by innumerable iPhone apps, or is he just toeing the Microsoft line and blindly labeling every single iPhone app as useless? Who knows, but we’d like to think that Ballmer is smart enough to realize the importance of mobile app stores in the burgeoning smartphone war. Then again, Microsoft’s mobile app strategy leaves a lot to be desired, so maybe we’re giving Ballmer too much credit.
As we’ve said before, it’s better to acknowledge a competing product’s strengths and work to improve your own devices as opposed to ignorantly dismissing every product that isn’t yours as being irrelevant.