50+ Steve Ballmer Quotes on Microsoft, Apple, Leadership & Employment

The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.

Great companies in the way they work, start with great leaders.

So, I think the output of our innovation is great. We have a culture of self-improvement. I know we can continue to improve. There is no issue. But at the same time, our absolute level of output is fantastic.

There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.

All companies of any size have to continue to push to make sure you get the right leaders, the right team, the right people to be fast acting, and fast moving in the marketplace. We’ve got great leaders, and we continue to attract and promote great new leaders.

The truth is that you can’t really tell how anybody’s doing in the tech business for at least five or 10 years.

Certainly, we continue to bring in new people. We’ll hire, net new, over 4,000 people this year, and attract great people into the company. I’m very bullish about the employee base and what it can accomplish.

Accessible design is good design.

We can believe that we know where the world should go. But unless we’re in touch with our customers, our model of the world can diverge from reality. There’s no substitute for innovation, of course, but innovation is no substitute for being in touch, either.

Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.

We don’t have a monopoly. We have market share. There’s a difference.

What we’ve gone through in the last several years has caused some people to question ‘Can we trust Microsoft?’

I don’t know what a monopoly is until somebody tells me.

I think it would be absolutely reckless and irresponsible for anyone to try and break up Microsoft.

My children – in many dimensions they’re as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I’ve got my kids brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod.

Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.

I have never, honestly, thrown a chair in my life.

Our company has to be a company that enables its people.

I have lots of sources of information about what’s going on at the company. I think I have a pretty good pulse on where we are and what people are thinking.

I’m not sure blogs are necessarily the best place to get a pulse on anything. People want to blog for a variety of reasons, and that may or may not be representative.

Look at the product pipeline, look at the fantastic financial results we’ve had for the last five years. You only get that kind of performance on the innovation side, on the financial side, if you’re really listening and reacting to the best ideas of the people we have.

We’ve grown from 18% of the profits of the top 25 companies in our industry to 23% of the profits of the top 25 companies in our industry over the last five years. Profits are up over 70%, where the industry profit is up about 35%. Pretty good.

Our mail product, Hotmail, is the market leader globally.

And then you take a look at Spaces, there is this great innovation that came out of nowhere. We have the number one blogging site in the world because of the innovation that’s there.

Our people, our shareholders, me, Bill Gates, we expect to change the world in every way, to succeed wildly at everything we touch, to have the broadest impact of any company in the world.

The World I’m very, very bullish about our prospects, and as I tell our board, as I tell our employees, this is the time to invest. There’s so much opportunity. Let’s just invest in that opportunity, and really get after it.

Great companies have high cultures of accountability, it comes with this culture of criticism I was talking about before, and I think our culture is strong on that.

I think our leadership team is a highly accountable leadership team.

I come back to the same thing: We’ve got the greatest pipeline in the company’s history in the next 12 months, and we’ve had the most amazing financial results possible over the last five years, and we’re predicting being back at double-digit revenue growth in fiscal year ’06.

We will make our products work out of the box.

From a client perspective, I really think the work Microsoft’s doing with Surface, with HoloLens, with Xbox, that stuff’s absolutely essential to the company’s future. Because innovation in the future will either be from the cloud out to all devices, or from devices as supported by software in the cloud.

If you look at companies with upside potential, Twitter’s right there. They’ve established a brand in a world where it’s extremely difficult to establish a brand. It’s a global brand, people recognize it, people want to let you know what their Twitter handles are, etc.

When you’re running a company, you have employees – lots of them – that can interrupt your schedule. You have customers that can interrupt your schedule. You have a certain obligation to wave the flag because people expect to get out and wave the flag. The number of ways that others can command your time is high.

I loved every minute of my time at Microsoft, but I had always envisioned having another phase of life just because I thought that would be interesting. It had never been my plan to work until I literally didn’t want to do anything and then hang it up.

Anybody who ever left Microsoft to Amazon, we could count on them coming back within a year or two, because it’s not a great place to work to do innovative stuff as an engineer.

I think Amazon is a place where people don’t want to work.

You’ve got to remember there’s intense competition between Microsoft and Amazon.

Microsoft’s culture is very strong.

As a businessman, if you ask me what I’m proud of, I’m proud of the fact that I made $250 billion under my watch as CEO.

One capability every business is expected to have is the capability to make money. It requires a certain kind of discipline, a certain kind of mindset.

I have a hard time with businesses that don’t make money at some point.

I’m all in on the Los Angeles Clippers. We’re moving forward. We’ve got to work to be the best we can be to take advantage of all the assets in the community.

The NBA has made it clear they want fan bases to be able to keep their teams.

The Clippers are more valuable in Los Angeles. It’s a phenomenal city, a phenomenal market, phenomenal everything.

I love Los Angeles. I love Seattle, too, which is where we have our home. But the notion of spending a lot of time in Los Angeles has been exciting to me for years. The community down there is great.

In the case of music, Apple got out early. They were the first to really recognize that you couldn’t just think about the device and all the pieces separately. Bravo.

Apple is a failure because they missed social? Nobody would say that, because they are having great success.

The Clippers are the L.A. Clippers, and they will remain the L.A. Clippers. There is no question about that. I live in Seattle. I will continue to live in Seattle.

I liked football a lot, too, but basketball clearly is my first love.

Diversity of form factor matters, and not compromising either form factor. You need diversity of price point. That’s quite important.

If we see an opportunity in the software/hardware seam, we’re going to take it.