Microsoft's Steve Ballmer visits valley

Ballmer and me (Matt)
Today Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer invited me (Matt) for a twenty-minute drive in his car to the Microsoft campus in Mountain View.

I decided I could hang with Steve (Eric was busy with Google’s shareholders meeting). So I hopped into his Escalade, whipped out the ol’ audio recorder, and asked him questions as someone else drove and he knocked back Planters peanuts (you will hear his loud crunching), sipped at a Starbucks’ iced tea and played with its accompanying green straw.

Here is the audio file.

His comments on Google and Yahoo are revealing. The audio clip begins after we start talking about some Google products, and you will see that he rips into Google’s Desktop, calling it a “random hodgepodge of a bunch of incompatible things….I think it’s more embarrassing than anything else.”

Later in the clip, he talks about all the areas of current and possible deeper cooperation with Yahoo. He talks warmly of Terry and Jerry.

Here are links to the Mercury News stories about Ballmer’s visit:
–Coverage of his comments at the Churchill Club/Commonwealth Club (including praise of Facebook)
–An edited text transcript of the Q&A I had with Ballmer in the car.
–Related Merc story about how Microsoft is trying to shake up the PC gaming market. It is by Dean Takahashi who knows his stuff. He’s authored a book on gaming, released just this week, called Xbox 360 Uncloaked.