CEOh-Snap! Ballmer Publicly Ridicules Microsoft Employee for Using iPhone

iPhone BSOD + Laughing Ballmer

As Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was taking the stage for a private company meeting at Seattle's Safeco Field, he saw an employee about to snap his picture with... an iPhone. So, Ballmer decided to snap instead. TechFlash (via Engadget) reports he grabbed the iPhone from the hapless employee, began making "funny comments", put the iPhone on the floor and pretended to stamp on it, and then continued on, only to remind the employee he hadn't forgotten about him later.

Maybe Ballmer should just forbid iPhones at Microsoft the way Bill Gates forbids them at home? Or, you know, get Windows Mobile back in order and make a phone so good no one at Microsoft would want to use anything else?

Of course, if it had been an Apple event, and Steve Jobs had caught one of his employees rocking an Windows Mobile device, no doubt Jobs eyes would have glowed and Omega Beams would have shot out and fried the poor soul on the spot.

(Yeah, we know Apple Store employees all use Windows CE credit card processors, shhhh!).

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

CEOh-Snap! Ballmer Publicly Ridicules Microsoft Employee for Using iPhone


This was a pretty stupid move on the employee's part. The same thing (if not worse) would have happened if a Pepsi employee brought a Coke to Pepsi's corporate gig.

This is great publicity for Apple. Did Apple's covert marketing team plant the employee's phone like a hand grenade and then stand back to watch such magnificent effects? The fact that SB's radar was highly sensitive to the presence of an iPhone speaks volumes. Nice Job Steve, consider ramping it up by offering MS employees a trade-in discount of 5% (max!) on their Windows Mobile 6.5 phones when upgrading to iPhone?

I was in an AT&T store in Redmond Town Center, standing in line behind someone with a Microsoft badge. He was returning his Windows Mobile phone in exchange for an iPhone. When he left, I laughed about it with the Sales Rep, who told me that this happens about five times a week just with her. She didn't even notice anymore.

If MS has so many employees that they have to meet at SafeCo Field how can he possibly expect not one employee to have a rival smartphone. What a douchebag. Fix WinMo before you rag on your own employees.

@Lolipopjones- Really?? jesus...
@druce that's a great story.... =)
Steve Ballmer is a douchebag... and i fear we won't see anything cool come out of microsoft until he's gone... =(

It was kind of a mean move on Ballmer's part, but it was stupid for the employee to wave a rival companies phone in his face.
As someone already noted, you don't bring a Coke to a Pepsi meeting. You don't wear a Visa shirt to an Amex meeting and you sure as hell keep your iPhone in your pocket at a MS meeting.
Having said that, I am of course posting this using my 3Gs.

What Ballmer COULD have done: Walk up to the employee, ask to borrow his iPhone, then state to everyone, "Our objective is to make products so worth owning that every one of our employees would consider nothing else. We are the reason this iPhone is in this room today."
Inspiration, not spectacle.

This is both funny and sad. It tells a lot about rotten corporate culture out there. Competitors should be respected and studied closely - not the opposite.
While Nokia was also taken by surprise by the iPhone success (though they will rarely admit it), the company is smart and democratic enough to not ban employees from carrying and using iPhones as personal devices at Nokia offices. Heck, I bet Nokia CEO has one too (though well hidden inside his pocket). LOL.

Ha i think ballmer overreacted. If the employee wants to own an iPhone, let him own an iPhone. Done

The employee definitely has the right to own what ever type of personal phone he wants. But as others have said he was kind of asking for attention when he pulled out the IPhone at a MS event. Still what a tool.

This is freaking America. Some buissnesses really need to chill the fu€k out. There should be a law against discrimination like this.

Stevie boy is a really really sick ahole, for this and other behavior he has exhibited throughout the years, and he is probably the single most culpable person for the Vista debacle.
When Vista came out I purchased what I thought was a really nice Sony Vaio with Vista Home Premium and was really horrified what a slow piece of crap Vista made this nice premium system.  Now I hear that Windows 7 is coming out that is supposed to fix all the Vista problems but Microsoft is charging a huge amount of money to fix their screw up.
Are you kidding me; I have to pay over $100 to fix MicroSHAFTs mess.  You people are an absolute disgrace, doesn't Gates and Ballmer have enough money.  Have they no decency, at long last have they no decency???????
Why can't they take responsible for their mess and fix it for free or for a nominal amount of money.  No wonder people are fleeing to Mac and Linux.  I have already made the switch to Linux myself but can't get the wife to but I may force her because of this absolutely outrageous greedy behavior by these very sick people