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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 and Adobe holding secret anti-Apple meetings?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer snuck into Adobe to talk with their CEO, Shantanu Narayen, about how they could team up, cartoon villain-style, to take on the growing mobile power of Apple and one Steven P. Jobs. the NYT Bits blog says:

The meeting, which lasted more than an hour, covered a number of topics, but one of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could team up in the battle against Apple. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft were among the options.

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UPDATED: Steve Ballmer NOT announcing iPhone, iPad Visual Studio support at WWDC? [Crazy alert!]

An analyst has let fly that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be getting 7 minutes of time during the WWDC 2010 keynote -- where the iPhone HD/iPhone 4G will al but certainly be introduced -- to announce Visual Studio 2010 will support the native creation of iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps. Is there a word in the English language for something so bat$#!t crazy "rumor" and even "fiction" just don't properly convey its bat$#!t craziness?

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10% of Microsoft Employees Secretly Using iPhones?

Much to the chagrin of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Devices and Entertainment honcho Robbie Bach, the Wall Street Journal reports that even publicly stomping on employee iPhones hasn't stamped them out:

Nearly 10,000 iPhone users were accessing the Microsoft employee email system last year, say two people who heard the estimates from senior Microsoft executives. That figure equals about 10% of the company's global work force.

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Ballmer on Bing as iPhone Default, Google and Apple Still "Stable"

Given the rumors surrounding Apple and Google lately, and the iPhone and Microsoft Bing, it's no wonder Mobile World Congress 2010 has raised both topics again, earning a smile from Steve Ballmer, and yet another "stable" comment from Google.

First up, Reuters has comments from Vic Gundotra, Google mobile engineering lead:

"Apple is a very close and valuable partner and we're very excited about the relationship we have with them today. We have no reason to believe that's going to change." [...] "We don't want to comment on those rumours. We think that relationship is stable."

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Microsoft's Ballmer to Try and Pre-empt Apple, Introduce HP Tablet Tonight?

UPDATE: According to WMExperts liveblog, it was a Tablet PC by HP running Windows 7 and called -- wait for it -- the Slate. Yes, named after Apple's latest tablet name rumor. Looks chunky, and its using a desktop OS. Okay.

ORIGINAL: So the rumor is Steve is about to introduce a new tablet device -- no, not Steve Jobs of Apple, but his nemesis Steve Ballmer of Microsoft -- and he's rumored to be doing it tonight at CES!

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CEOh-SNAP: Ballmer Says the Internet Wasn't Designed for the iPhone

Steve Ballmer, whose company produced the single most internet-hostile program in history -- Internet Explorer 6 -- has the stupefying temerity to state:

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.

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

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.

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