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Your Dinner with Balmer



January 26, 2007 – Comments (5)


I'm like you. I'm a meat 'n' taters kind of investor. I make my calls based on publicly available materials, because that's how most people have to do it. Jane and Joe Oddlot don't get to rub elbows with CEOs and ask them how the biz is doing over tea, pinkies out, winks and nudges, etc.

That's one of the reasons I tend to avoid meeting with management whenever possible. I think legendary value guy and filings sleuth Bob Olstein had it right when he said that he could learn everything he needed to know about management from the filings.

But I'm making an exception to this rule next week. Sort of.

To its credit, despite my frequent, loudmouthed criticism, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has graciously offered to let me sit in on a Vista and Office launch event in New York. CEO Steve Ballmer will be there, and apparently there will be a "moderated Q&A" after we have a little nosh.

I'd love to ask Ballmer, "Dude, can I 'squirt' you a little something from my brown Zune?" so he could see just how lame "the social" is in reality. Or I'd like to hit him with, "Why did uninstalling Office 2007 cripple my Office 2003 software?" and share my ongoing reinstallation nightmare.

But instead, I'm going to give this opportunity to all you Fools out there. Assuming they let me up to the mic following this little stunt, I hereby pledge my face time to ask a question of your suggestion.

Wondering why Mr. Softy doesn't just leave the portable media space to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)? Want to know why it continues to butt heads with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) on search, even though it's getting trounced? Want to know why there's still so little video and music content on the Xbox 360, despite serious, device-integrated challenges from Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Sony (NYSE: SNE)?

Here's your chance to query Microsoft.

Send your suggestion here. I'll pick the best one and try to get it answered. Just keep it above the belt.

5 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 26, 2007 at 3:31 PM, rasterbator (< 20) wrote:

Two questions:

Can you explain the term "People Ready?"

Can you explain the use of Flintstone-like dinosaurs in your Microsoft Office ads and how that is supposed to relate to REAL people in REAL office situations?

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#2) On January 26, 2007 at 4:49 PM, ValueIsValuable (93.12) wrote:

Why, oh why, has Microsoft not added anything resembling a useful new feature to Excel since Pivot tables? It's been like ten years, people!


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#3) On January 27, 2007 at 8:54 AM, josnijhoff (< 20) wrote:

PLEASE please ask him when he will go back to selling used cars.

From all I read about the man it must be where he started out! (and he should have stuck to it)

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#4) On January 29, 2007 at 2:21 PM, Steve819 (93.26) wrote:

1. It's been more than a year since Ray Ozzie wrote the "Internet Services Disruption" memo, where he outlined the Web 2.0 services based model, and how Microsoft needs to change in response to service based architecture like Google's. How would you gauge Microsoft's success since then, and what measures should investors look at to see how the .NET services platform is achieving its stated goals?

2. Do you regret stating that you would <obscenity> bury Eric Schmidt yet?




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#5) On February 02, 2007 at 1:39 PM, Steve819 (93.26) wrote:

So, how'd it go? Did you wear a jester cap?


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