Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said in an interview with FORTUNE magazine (“The Sleeping Giant Goes on the Offensive”, April 3, 2006) that he’s got his kids brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod. (Oh mind, no Google? Does that mean his children only use MSN Search?)
But, I wonder whether it’s reckless arrogance or pure ignorance that Ballmer is disallowing his children anywhere near a competitor’s product. Doesn’t he realise that in order to beat the competition, you need to know what the competition is about?
Sun Zi’s The Art of War made it very clear: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Ballmer himself doesn’t own an iPod either, but should he?