Ask Steve Ballmer

MCP Magazine is lining up an interview with the feisty and always outspoken Microsoft president and CEO Steve Ballmer.

MCP Magazine is lining up an interview with the feisty and always outspoken Microsoft president and CEO Steve Ballmer. But instead of a roomful of journalists scratching their heads and coming up with a bunch of me-too questions, we thought we’d turn that job over to the real experts—experts like you!

What issues are of deep concern to the Microsoft IT professional community? Feel free to ask about product directions, hackers, training, the value of certifications, spam, Linux, what it’s like to work at the world's largest independent software company, what is Bill Gates really like?

Send your questions, along with your name, title and company to And while you’re at it, feel free to tell us what you like and don’t like about magazine, newsletters, and Web site.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Jan 15, 2004 Latino Heat Anonymous

Paper CHICAO are worthless

Wed, Jan 14, 2004 ChicagoMCSE Anonymous

Hey, you were right, Anonymous! I sent my e-mail to Doug Barney and he's going to send Steve Ballmer to my workplace so that we can all shove our completely worthless wallet cards and certificates up his ass! Thanks for the heads up!

Tue, Jan 13, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

Well, I can see we have a bunch of brilliant folks here who know how to read and follow directions. The text of this article tells you to send your questions to Doug Barney along with the name of the company you work for, job title, etc.. Do you really think they're going to just print out these anonymous posts and hand them to Steve Ballmer? Maybe if you e-mail your questions to this guy, they'll send Steve to your workplace where you can shove your wallet cards and certificates up his ass!

Mon, Jan 12, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

Latino Heat: Chica, I implied that you were hired because of your race based on the fact that your compositional skills are virtually nonexistant and consequently one would have to infer that you are in essence an illiterate person. Lacking any evidence to support the theory that you were hired as a result of technical wizardy, I came to the conclusion that you were hired as a way to increase your company's workforce diversity. If you speak the way you write I truly feel sorry for the people that you are providing technical support for. Your words do more to prove my words than mine do. Have a good night's sleep, oreo!

Mon, Jan 12, 2004 ChicagoMCSE Anonymous

Mr. Ballmer:
What EXACTLY is Microsoft doing about the following sites which were found by typing in "braindumps" on Google?

I've just presented you with over ten reasons why the MCSE is not worth the paper it's written on. Until these sites are closed down and prosecuted vigorously, Microsoft certifications will essentially be somewhat less than useless. I personally will not be pursuing any further MS certifications.

Mon, Jan 12, 2004 RockyRoad Anonymous

"Anonymous" was right, Latino Heat - you are an illiterate. Please translate this phrase into English please: "so he can take all your possible lineage ability to land their IT related employment". Let me recommend "English as a Second Language" classes before you try to progress any further in your career.

Mon, Jan 12, 2004 Latino Heat Anonymous

How can you say I was hired because of my race? It's racist people like you who make companies go to India with their job openings. I am laughing my Puerto Rican ass to the bank while you sit in you white trash infested trailer park somewhere in Iowa wondering where your next IT related paycheck will come from. Think I am illeterate take that to the bank. One more thing I am training my lil bro on Microsoft and Linux products so he can take all your possible lineage ability to land their IT related employment. Go back to school learn more about the field while I build this server and handle these support questions..Have a beautiful day Howard Dean

Mon, Jan 12, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

Oh, one more thing, Latino Heat, if you would like proof that you were hired strictly on the basis of your race, all you need to do is re-read your laughably illiterate post. Your grammar is atrocious, your spelling questionable, and your writing ability itself is just about what I would expect from someone who has gotten a free-ride through life by exploiting the race card. You're a real credit to "La Raza", chico.

Mon, Jan 12, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

Latino Heat, quite frankly I've never met a Latino IT worker that would have been hired strictly on the basis of merit and ability. Think about the fact that you were hired because of your race and not because of your skills. Hope you can sleep well at night knowing that more qualified white applicants were passed over so that your company could meet its diversity quota. When you accomplish something based on your own abilities, I'll be impressed. Until then, pipe down.

Sat, Jan 10, 2004 mathias belgium

If Bill still starts rasing prices we all use linux software within 10 Years

Sat, Jan 10, 2004 Pravin India

Steve, I would like to ask what innovative steps is Microsoft taking to fight spam and the security issues. Will Palladium be included in Longhorn ? if not then when ?

Fri, Jan 9, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

Mr Ballmer, why is Microsoft such an irresponsible company? They produce operating systems that allow viruses and hackers easy access. The technical support is horrible. The Microsoft certifications are a joke, so don't waste your time and money. The certifications will not earn you that 6 figure job salary or get you ahead in your company. IT is no longer the career of choice. Look at me, I've been in IT for 10 years and started making a 6 digit figure in the beginning. But with all the companies outsourcing their jobs to others countries (which is ridiculous if you ask me) and amount of IT workers looking for jobs, Information Technology is a dead-end career. So take it from me, go back to school and earn an MBA and you too can become a CEO of a company like me and make alot more money. I making 7 figures now, so business and healthcare is the wave of the future. If you are going to stay in IT, don't learn Microsoft, instead learn Linux, its more reliable and cost effective!!!!

Fri, Jan 9, 2004 rabl2001 Colorado

Just a couple of comments on MS Products testing environment. The way that tests are scored and the results are displayed back to the test taker needs to be reviewed. I have taken several tests recently and get back results stating that I have either passed or failed with no feedback. When I took my NT4 & W2k tests they at least told me a score. Some of them even told me how I scored in the different areas. This is great feedback. This is information that a test taker needs to know when having to study to take a test over. It is also great feed back for people that have passed the test. It lets them know what areas they are still weak or strong in. This way they can review material to make them a better-certified MS person. I agree that we don't want just paper MCSEs or MCSAs but this is going to happen no matter how MS or we feels. I have been working with MS products prior to Windows 3.0. I currently hold all versions of the MCSA and MCSE on Windows 2000 and Windows 2003. So I am not new at taking tests on MS products.

Thu, Jan 8, 2004 Latino Heat

To anonymous who stated Mr. Ballmer should shove his wallet cards up his ass.

I guess you didn't listen or read any find prints. Microsoft Certs are not a guaranteed open door to a life in IT. Alot of know how and how to is what gets you in the door. You really need to know your shit and something valuable to offer experience wise to get you to an entry level position. I just got my second IT job the first I got after working as a Temp. I expected to get a lot of money but once I started looking I realized that was not possible unless I can prove Im that dam good. What you should be saying to yourself is How can I assist myself and be able to talk about the skills and certs I have in a knowledgeable way. And not blame the company you got them from. I am an MCSA, have my A+ and Net + and have all my MOUS certs and I know certs are just a way to get an interview and not a way to validate my status in this industry..Just because you have Certs doesnt mean you the Top Dog what makes you a coach and not a player is when you wow a CIO (Chief Information Officer) in an interview when you tell what you know and what you can offer his company...enough about this ...I have a question for Mr. Balmer what is the expected release date of LongHorn and How will it differ from previous MS operating systems.

Thank You

Fri, Dec 12, 2003 Rune Anonymous

Well, I wanna thank Microsoft for making VB 7 fully OOP and for creating .NET Framework, both of which make life as a developer easier, more powerful, less worrying, and more fun!

Wed, Dec 10, 2003 Ray Anonymous

The question is value. How do you overall add value to your organization? The certifications only say you have the ablility. By the way I can add NT3.51 certed to the list too and the others. One way to add value is to have input into Microsoft products to compete and thus add value and make your certifications worth more. We are in a different time. It used to be the Techies now it is the ideas. The push for Linux is not the OS its the apps. No server is any good unless you can do something with it. A large part of this is the perception is that Java is free. I recently did a comparison of IBM, BEA, Oracle, Borland, and Sun products. Believe me these products are NOT FREE and the hardware in most cases is even more costly. DotNet is the first step. A way to make better Enterprise Applicatons is crucial. If this were to happen then we can all say that the Java stuff was just a lower generation scripting language with problems with garbage collection, speed, time to create an application and security.

Wed, Dec 10, 2003 Me All over

Anonymous, you are useless... and you need some anger management :)
Abdullah, this is not Microsoft web site... it's a MCP magazine web site... I wonder how did you pass the exam with that kind of spelling? was it in arabic?
Maybe Microsoft isn't the all mighty, but I installed Red Hat Linux, and signup for the Errata, and I'm getting messages about update every two three days... so I would rather stay with XP, than update twice a week... and yes C(sharp) is the best :)

Wed, Dec 10, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Steve, I would like to shove my completely useless MCSE NT4/2000/2003 certificates and wallet cards right up your ass. Please advise me as to when and where the above procedure may be performed. Thank you in advance for your timely response.

Wed, Dec 10, 2003 Pieter Belgium

MS do its best to conquer the "enterprise market". This is not obvious. If we like it or not, for top management in these surroundings, Microsoft still carry a reputation of being "amateurish" (rather an Xbox vendor than a reliable Application Server Vendor!). Regrettably, Microsoft is still seen as a solution for the baker's shop around the corner, not for the support for heavy industry (e.g. they talk about Mickeysoft in contrast to Big Blue, which produces just by its name the assumption of seriousness -- in the industry, "Machines" are serious things!). [At the same time, these managers try to forget that most of their PLCs are steered in a NT environment! ;-) ]
It-departments can try to oppose to this prejudice only with facts, not with words. The unbearable lightness of words, you know? To invalidate their misconception, we need the full support of Microsoft. Buzzwords and catchphrases are just not good enough (Connecting system, information, people & devices/Do more with less, ... is for IT personel, Industry managers do not find any benefit in it -- they call it salesman's talk!)
One of the most important signals Microsoft can send out, is durability!
Industrial IT-systems change when production processes change. The average lifespan of a supporting IT-system in our business is 12 years! We can argue with top-management, if and only if we can guarantee them that we will be able to maintain that system during that period without major intervention in difficult (and expensive) transition periods.
Durability is something Microsoft talks about, but reality often conflicts with it.
The transition of "Biztalk 2002" to "Biztalk 2004" is a textbook example of this. All effort our colleagues have put in BTS 2002 is already subject to "substantial rework" (fortunately, we've stopped our investments in BTS 2002 in time, and moved to 2004 before we had things in production!). As top managers talk to each other, that fact not only harmed our colleagues, but returned to us as a boomerang.
I've convinced our Enterprise Management to choose for (not obvious at all!) and I hope Microsoft support me to keep my promises. Together, we must get these problems under control. An IT-department can't do it on its own. Microsoft should enable it to do so. What are the concrete plans of Microsoft in this area?
Remember, Steelproduction is my company main-business, not IT! Our job is to serve!

Tue, Dec 9, 2003 Ray Anonymous

C# is already much better than Java. Are there any plans to make COMplus easier to create and deploy to a center tier? This is an argument that the J2EE is superior.

Mon, Dec 8, 2003 DaveD NH

MS has truly terrible technical documentation and on-line 'KnowledgeBase' database. Outmoded search tools, poor or nonexistent compiling and editing, lacking coherent links to related info. When is MS going to accept its responsibility for distributing accurate, accessible technical product information?

Mon, Dec 8, 2003 Raghuraman India

Why Doesn't Microsoft Introduce Throwaway Prices for Earlier Versions Of MS Products When Newer Versions are Released ?

Sun, Dec 7, 2003 abdullah saudi arabia

i am did exam befor 2 month but i had not resev eny crtificet .

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