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Steve Ballmer takes pop at Microsoft over universal apps



Steve Ballmer has criticised Microsoft over its approach to universal apps and its approach to cloud revenue.

It's two years since Steve Ballmer was forced out as CEO of the company he so loved, and a year since he resigned from the board. However, the eccentric figure remains the single biggest shareholder at Microsoft. Awkward.

Inevitably, like a divorced father turning up at a family party and causing a scene, Ballmer can't quite seem to move on.

Take his recent performance at the company's annual shareholder meeting, for example. Ballmer started by criticising how Microsoft reports profit margins and sales for its cloud and hardware businesses, calling the current 'run rate' approach "bull****".

"It's sort of a key metric - if they talk about it as key to the company, they should report it," he elaborated to Bloomberg. "They should report the revenue, not the run rate."

Ballmer didn't stop at squabbling about money, either. He also doesn't like the way the new Microsoft family head, Satya Nadella, is handling apps.

When quizzed by an audience member on the continued lack of key apps in the Windows Phone ecosystem, Nadella pointed towards the company's universal app push, which encourages the creation of apps that work across all Windows 10 platforms, including mobile.

"That won't work," Ballmer chipped in as Nadella spoke. Ballmer's solution, he added, would be "to run Android apps."

Related: 30 moments to make you feel nostalgic about Microsoft Windows

Microsoft was developing a means to allow Android apps to be reworked for Windows earlier in the year, but those plans - code-named Project Astoria - were recently put on hold.

Of course, one of the main reasons Ballmer was replaced as CEO was because Microsoft missed the smartphone boat on his watch. So Satya Nadella might opt to take his advice on the matter with a pinch of salt.

Next, take a look at Windows 10's key features:

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December 3, 2015, 11:29 am

I am not a Star Wars fan, but I was sure I've seen this face somewhere.



December 3, 2015, 1:23 pm

Balmer is an idiot. Allowing Android apps to run easily on WP may seem like a shortcut to making WP attractive to consumers, but ultimately it just makes the platform irrelevant. Apps will always be targeting Android, ignoring features unique to WP. Google's platform will be calling the shots, and WP won't have any influence.

In truth, though, there is probably nothing MS can do - the world just doesn't need a third mobile platform at this point. Apple caters to the high spec / profit end, and the open / royalty-free Android caters to everyone else. Where does MS fit in? WP will likely just languish at 2% (or similar) market share until it's eventually discontinued.

MS's insistence on 'Window's everywhere' is driven by desperation to play the only card they have - Windows compatibility. This has traditionally been their ace, but in the new world of ARM processors and touch-screens, the apps all need rewriting anyway. Also, I'm not sure how loved Windows really is in any case. For most people it's just what comes by default on their Dell PC, rather than actively chosen.

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