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Steve Ballmer says Microsoft was too slow to develop hardware

The former Microsoft CEO has some regrets.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft, Code Asa Mathat
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

What did Steve Ballmer regret about his time as Microsoft’s CEO?

“I think I was too slow in cases to recognize the need for new capability, particularly in hardware,” Ballmer said during his interview with Recode editors Kara Swisher and Kurt Wagner at the Code Conference at the Terranea Resort in California.

“I wish we’d built the capability to be a world-class hardware company, because one of the new expressions of software is essentially the hardware,” Ballmer said, referring to how Microsoft never really succeeded in the mobile phone industry — and, really, the hardware-based business model that Apple used to transform the industry with the iPhone. (Ballmer later wasted a lot of money buying Nokia, which was far too late and didn’t work.)

“The company under my leadership should have built that capability earlier than we did.”

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