Microsoft critics, including many Wall Streeters, have been wondering aloud whether Ballmer is the right man to lead Microsoft these days. At a Seattle Rotary Club meeting on June 29, at the Westin in downtown Seattle. When asked the question yet again, Ballmer had an official response.
"YOU TELL ME if I lack energy or conviction, or we're not driving all the change we need to drive," Ballmer told the audience.
As the Seattle Times noted, Ballmer repeated again the key areas where Microsoft is focusing right now. He said it's all about touch, natural language understanding and the cloud. (And Windows, of course. Can't forget that Microsoft's still about "Windows, WIndows, WIndows" to quote Ballmer.)
Microsoft officials have provided an exact transcript of Ballmer's remarks. Here's the slightly amended statement:
We're building the products that we hope are the difference makers. We've been very fortunate. We've made bets. We've built products. We've made the difference. There's a reason why we'll do almost $70 billion in revenue this year, and we'll make over 20-whatever, $26-27 billion in profits. There're reasons -- we made the right bets and we're making the bets for the future.
The clip below also includes a question about Microsoft's investment in Windows 8, and once again Ballmer's response was meant to get across how deep his commitment to the software companies goes.
"You cut me open and saw what was inside: Windows. Windows. Windows. Windows," Ballmer said. "Our company was born on the back of Windows. Windows underpins a huge percentage of all of our success, all of our profitability, all of the important things that we do. So, how important is it? Very, would be a very fair answer."
Earlier in his remarks, Ballmer stressed that it would take "optimism" and "persistence" for Microsoft to continue to be a leading company.
Here's the audio clip: