Josh W points us to an article about Microsoft new mobile phone software that contains an odd quote from Steve Ballmer
, responding to a question concerning Microsoft's plans to compete with Google's free Android mobile operating system:
"Free is not a business model," he said. "We are a commercial company, we will look to gain revenue and profit from our activities. You'll have to ask our competitors if they'll make money on free things."
Internet explorer. Bing. Microsoft's new security software
. All free. All offered by Microsoft. Is Steve Ballmer admitting that he doesn't know about any of these things... or is he just expecting that the reporter and the readers of the article are flat-out stupid? Clearly, Microsoft seems to recognize that free is a part of lots of smart business models, so why is its CEO apparently acting clueless on this front? As clearly anyone who thought this through knows, free by itself is not a business model
, but free, in combination with a larger business model often makes a lot of sense
. That's what Google is doing, and it's what Microsoft is doing as well. So why is Steve Ballmer pretending otherwise?