Neil MacDonald

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Neil MacDonald
VP & Gartner Fellow
15 years at Gartner
25 years IT industry

Neil MacDonald is a vice president, distinguished analyst and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research. Mr. MacDonald is a member of Gartner's information security and privacy research team, focusing on operating system and application-level security strategies. Specific research areas include Windows security…Read Full Bio

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What Would You Ask Steve Ballmer?

by Neil MacDonald  |  October 5, 2010  |  4 Comments

Yesterday, there was quite a bit of buzz about Microsoft after a Goldman Sachs analyst downgraded Microsoft from “Buy” to “Neutral” and lowered their target share price by US $4. As reported in the article, the analyst highlighted Microsoft’s continued weakness in the mobile and tablet space as factors in the downgrade.

Microsoft’s future is a bit of a conundrum. One one hand, Microsoft is having success with newer versions of its established offerings such as Windows 7, SharePoint 2010, Exchange 2010, Windows Server 2008 R2 and others.

But what about new growth opportunities in the mobile space and in Cloud computing?

I will join my colleague, John Pescatore, in interviewing Steve Ballmer live on the main stage on Thursday morning, October 21st at Gartner’s upcoming US Symposium conference in Orlando.

So, what would you ask Steve Ballmer?

Do you believe Microsoft has lost its relevance in a world of mobile devices connected by Cloud-based services?


Category: Microsoft Strategic Planning     Tags: , ,

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott Olson   October 5, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    I would ask Ballmer what Microsoft plans to do in the future relative to integrated systems as mobile platforms begin to look more like consumer electronics. Should we expect to see less licensing of Microsoft software by hardware partners?

  • 2 Neil MacDonald   October 5, 2010 at 11:41 pm


    I think Microsoft would want the mobile platforms to be based on Windows Phone 7 or future versions, so what do you mean – that the OS itself isn’t known? Possible, like my Blu-Ray player that has a lot of embedded licenses for various codecs and formats that are paid by the OEM – is that what you mean?

    Or that these devices aren’t running a MS OS?

  • 3 Scott Olson   October 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I can see that my post wasn’t very clear. What I meant to say was that Microsoft has had some attempts at controlling both the hardware and software with mixed results (XBox on the positive, and Zune and Kin on the negative). I wanted to know if they were abandoning an integrated approach where they control the entire end consumer device and returning entirely to licensing of software to hardware providers.

  • 4 Manny | Schecter Hellraiser Solo 6   October 13, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I would ask Steve specifically if Microsoft is planning to do anything in the Android/iPhone space. I see the Droid gaining lots of traction on the iPhone this year so it would be interesting to see if MS is just staying out of that tough battle or are they taking some risk?
    BTW, you are right about Sharepoint doing very well.