Android is wild and uncontrolled, says Steve Ballmer

by: J. Angelo RacomaNovember 15, 2012

(Photo credit: AP Images)

If Steve Jobs was known for his reality distortion field and cool, calculated manner of presenting, Steve Ballmer is the polar opposite. Microsoft’s CEO is known for his energy and enthusiasm. Sure, this is probably what the company needs in order to push its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platform forward. Chair-throwing incidents aside, Ballmer’s “woo hoo” moments may just help rally Microsoft’s troops forward in the ever-evolving battle for dominance in the mobile industry.

In an interview with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman at a “tech influencers and innovators” event, Ballmer was at his usual self, acting as Microsoft’s chief cheerleader, and boasting about how great and different the latest Windows platform is. At one point, he described the platform in words that may have been borrowed from another popular brand (we’re looking at you, Apple). “Wow! It just works!”

Steve lauds the Surface user interface, which he describes as “different,” although he says current sales were modest, at best. Excitement aside, one of the highlights in this interview was how the Microsoft CEO had described the company’s two biggest competitors at this point, which are actually the dominant platforms in the mobile industry today. He says Android was “wild” and “uncontrolled,” particularly due to its fragmentation and malware problems.

“The ecosystem for Android is a little bit wild,” Ballmer notes, with reference to app incompatibilities across handsets and Android versions.

Meanwhile, Apple’s iOS is “high priced” and too “highly controlled.” Ballmer also went on to make a stab at Apple, particularly with the latest criticism against the new iOS Maps app.

In his critique of Android and iOS, Ballmer thinks Microsoft can find the right middle-ground between control and freedom in the company’s latest platforms: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Surface. He highlights that Microsoft is working closely with developers and partners, something that he thinks Apple and Google are lacking at this point.

What may be interesting at this point is that the Microsoft CEO might have hinted that Microsoft may be developing its own smartphone hardware. Ballmer says Microsoft wants to take better control of hardware creation. “If we see an opportunity in the software/hardware seam, we’re going to take it.”

As for the statements on Android, do you agree that the platform is “wild” and “uncontrolled?” Has Android’s success in the market been marred with the side-effect that is fragmentation and the rise of malware?

  • True because of huge fragmentation issues on every Android phone except Nexus family, but WP is too controlled and closed and that’s a bigger flaw for me then previous mentioned.

  • Giovonni Fareed

    Yept 100% agree.. I AM an android fanboii & It’s soooo pathetic that my S3 is STILL waiting for the damn 4.1 update LET ALONE 4.2..I could care less that the carriers fault I’m BLAMMING ANDROID GOOGLE because they need to take responsibility of this and come up with a solution. That’s what company’s DO.. WHY ARE THEY LETTING THE CARRIERS control this… MATTER OF fact I don’t even care why, just fix it… Now there delaying updates so that they can have selling points for new phones wtf… I STILL HAVE YET TO USR GOOGLE NOW because of some shit Verizon is doing to hold back updates… It’s really becoming OLD & I blame Google for not solving this issue of fragmentation.. I don’t wanna here about “well they have custom skin overlays” and whatnot.. Fix the damn issue so that my new phone can enjoy an operating system that it is more than capable of running… I am at the total mercy of Verizon unless I go threw all these steps to root, bootloader unlock, find & put 3ed party OS on.. U know it to much… I’m still an android fan and always will be BUT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH come up with something creative to fix this issue NOW

    • rom3o90

      Agree totally..Google needs to work on this

    • sh4d0w.phantom

      Mine has 4.1 already haha.

    • raj

      if your samsung galaxy s3 is waiting for 4.1, then it samsung fault that there are not pushing 4.1 update although google released android 4.2 or 4.1 for all the compatible android devices, it up to manufactures to release update for device. far as i see microsoft isn’t gona release windows phone 8 for lumia 800 or 900… too sad

    • then just root it, there are plenty of great GS3 roms out there. Oh forgot, lol verizon locks the bootloader. This is why i ditched VZW last year

  • rom3o90

    on my Android is going on the right direction. I own a sprint gs3 and just got jelly beans, for the first time ever I can say that Android is as smooth as ios. I have use iphone and I played a bit with this windows phone. There is no way I can change my android. Android only needs (in my opinion) a desktop version. google needs to work on this, or more compatibility with software like ubuntu. dont even samsung make Kies compatible with ubuntu, if android is linux based why not having a linux desktop? I own a mac and if I had an iphone the sync between them would be soo easy. but I dont like ios I love android and I want android to keep moving forward

    • Justin W

      Google’s desktop version = Chrome OS. It’s not Android, but it’s the desktop/laptop OS they use with their Chromebooks.

  • The “problem” with android is every android update brings significant changes and new features, for free. Then the market wildly pursuing for update, eventhough there is nothing wrong with their phone. In reply to Giovonni, Google Now is great, but that is not what make u decide ur purchase on when u bought ur S3 last time. Its a great phone with/without update.

    Microsoft solve this allright, by charging for versions upgrade lol. They abandon the mango 7.5 ecosystem for windows 8 (past device will NEVER be supported sorry) and start over every time. 1-2 years from now they will hv Windows 9 and the ecosystem starts all over again lol. Congrats for users who actually purchase anything and surely need to dump it later lol.

  • Remus Popoviciu

    I don’t understand why people say that fragmentation is a problem. Apps work PERFECT on my sisters 2.1 galaxy mini on my 4.2 g nex and nexus 7 (a tablet :)) ) and my wifes 4.0.4 one s. They have different screen size and resolution, specs, parts and os versions.
    I don’t understand why people say we have malware, when in all my experience with Android, i have NEVER, ever, seen an app send sms, mail, facebook msg or make a call wthout my permission.
    Offtopic- when gnex was launched, they whined about the plastic case. Nexus 4 is out, in glass and they say that it is “a bit outdated”.
    Android JUST WORKS great for all types of people. We have glass, plastic, carbon, metal, ceramic. We have colours, sizes and prices for any man, woman and child… even for iSHEEP.

    • jangeloracoma

      Hi Remus, I think fragmentation becomes more of a problem when we consider devices of radically different specs. For instance, an app may work for a dual-core smartphone, but not for a lower-end device with a tiny screen. I understand this is meant so that users with low-specced phones won’t complain about an app not working properly. Granted, it’s the same on iOS — some apps will require iOS version 4+ or 5+, but the “fragmentation” is a lot less. With Android, a developer will need to consider a multitude of screen sizes and resolutions, and may have a difficult time building an app that will work perfectly across all sorts of devices.

      As for malware, well, yes, more advanced users would be wary of which apps to install. But those who are new to the platform might not be so cautious. For instance, I find myself cleaning my kids’ Android phones every so often because of all the junk apps they accumulate, because they keep on hitting the “install” button without giving much thought to permissions and access.

    • On a Clear Day

      Very well put Remus. I completely echo your points – this whole “fragmentation” beef I think was thought up by Apple and Microsoft. I used to sell cell phones for a major carrier – including the iPhone. It was almost laughable when the East Coast’s Apple director showed up one day to listen to what was said, I thought I was listening to an ad for the iPhone – how Android has “so much fragmentation”. Yeah, sure I thought!

      It’s all about the money and trying to manipulate perceptions and if Ballmer or Cook can manage to get us to but into what they say is perfectly obvious – from the standpoint of their business models as well as most efficacious to the continued fattening of their cash cows, well then we have only ourselves to blame if we let them get away with it.

      I for one – will wait until hell freezes over before buying either an iPhone or a Windows phone, by then they may be worth having. lol

  • Justin W

    I agree with Steve in the fact that Android is fragmented, but I think this would be a problem with any open-source software. Everyone wants their own cut of the profits Google is getting from the OS, so every manufacturer/carrier is getting additional things added to the OS to do that.
    I think Google needs to work on getting updates out faster to the OEM’s so they can be released within a month or so of the actual version being released to AOSP, CMDA phones included (lookin at you Verizon and Sprint). This is largely the reason that I’m switching to a Nexus device.