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What if Steve Ballmer was CEO of Apple?

I love the classic "What If?" series of Marvel Comics that altered one bit of a story and then showed how everything else would play out around it. So, of course, I love the idea of "What if Steve Ballmer ran Apple?". What if the Apple-is-doomed contingent forced Tim Cook out, and brought in the freshly-departed-from Microsoft Steve Ballmer? What various positives and negatives - everything is always a blend of both - would happen in just such an else-world? Clearly Ben Thomson does as well, as he's written it up brilliantly for Stratechery:

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Turning Microsoft into Apple... on the way out

Earlier today Steve Ballmer announced he would be retiring as CEO of Microsoft in 12 months. The timing is perhaps among the most interesting aspects of the decision. It happened on the eve of yet another massive, company-wide re-organization, and arguably the biggest ever - Ballmer transforming Microsoft into a functional alignment. In other words, reforging it in Apple's organizational image. Guy English on Kicking Bear:

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Steve Ballmer leaving Microsoft in 12 months... and to diminishing relevance and an uncertain future

Steve Ballmer, the marketing- and sales-centric force of nature who took over as Microsoft CEO in 2000, and became the public face of the company following Bill Gate's full retirement in 2008, has just announced that he too will be retiring, in 2014. Bill Gates oversaw the rise of Microsoft to brutal dominance in the late 90s and early 00s, only to face severe anti-trust action from the government that forced them into becoming a more mature, if less effective company. Ballmer was hugely successful in milking Windows and Office profits, but aside from the almost accidental birth of the Xbox, has been completely unable to transform the old giant into a new power. Google owns the internet. Facebook owns social. Apple owns tablets. And Apple and Google jointly own phones. That leaves precious little space for the company that once defined popular technology. Ballmer said, in Microsoft's announcement:

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Microsoft, once again hoping for free advertising on tech sites, releases another dumb anti-iPad ad

Microsoft has released a yet another anti-iPad ad, this time awkwardly trying to make fun of the iPad mini by putting it up against what everyone on Twitter tells me is the worst period Windows period tablet period in the world period - the Acer Iconia W3.

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Halo: Spartan Assault is worthy of envy, will we ever see it on iOS?

It isn't every day that something on Windows Phone has us green with envy, but since its big unveil, Halo: Spartan Assault has given us a case of the green-eyed monster. However, since taking possession of a Nokia Lumia 925 – more on that soon – and a copy of the game, one thing is clear; I really hope Microsoft gets this out on other platforms for everyone to play.

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Why the iPad continues to succeed where the Surface RT did not

Last week during their earnings report, Microsoft reported a $900 million write-down in relation to unsold Surface RT inventory. It's just over a year since the Surface RT launched, and yet despite continual efforts from Microsoft, including iPad baiting commercials, things don't seem to be going so well.

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Microsoft releases OWA for iPhone and iPad

Microsoft has released OWA for iPhone and iPad, letting users access their Outlook email, calendars, and contacts. These apps are enhanced versions of the Outlook Web App, with added functionality for iOS devices, including voice actions and the ability to receive push notifications. The OWA apps also require that your mailbox has been updated to the latest version of Office 365 in order to work.

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Microsoft rumored to be developing a smartwatch, just like everybody else

Another day, another iWatch competitor rumor, this time coming from Microsoft. Rumors already suggest that both Google is developing a competitor to the unannounced Apple smartwatch, as is Samsung, among others, and now it's reportedly time for the folks from Redmond to get in on the act. A Microsoft watch would no doubt compete directly with the rumored devices from Apple and Google, and it's said to be being internally tested running a modified version of Windows 8.

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Microsoft launches Xbox Music web player, iOS app still nowhere to be seen

Microsoft has taken another step forward with its Xbox Music service by launching the much rumored web player, though any iOS app is still very much absent. With a web client now active, it means that Mac using Xbox Music subscribers, of which we're sure there's a few, can listen to their music. Until now, only Windows users had been able to get their music on their desktops.

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Microsoft gives OneNote for iOS an overhaul, ground up rebuild with refreshed interface

Microsoft continues to show its iOS portfolio some attention with todays launch of a major update to their OneNote application for iPhone and iPad. Following the — albeit limited — launch of Office for iOS, OneNote has been redesigned from the ground up with a mostly new codebase and a new, cleaner interface that is more consistent across platforms, as well as a more consistent, rich editing experience.

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