Defending Ballmer?June 9, 2010: 11:17 AM ET
Lots of reactions to my screed on Steve Ballmer, his tenure at Microsoft (MSFT) and his shocking lack of awareness about the world around him. Most agreed with my perspective. Not all. One fan of Steve's wrote thusly:
The idea that all these Windows users are just stupid is a huge blind spot for people living in Silicon Valley. Look, people can complain about Microsoft and Steve. But the fact is for years people have been saying the PC and Windows are dead, and they've been wrong. The market has said for the past 10 years there is no growth upside for Microsoft, and boy have they grown revenue and profits. Off a huge base. So there is more to do, and Steve is honest about the challenges. In some circles, that might be called a good thing.
The real Daniel Lyons at Newsweek.com had a different take, namely that my willingness to bash Ballmer means that "the tech press" doesn't care about access to him anymore. Um, not me. Message to Steve: I'd still like to interview you. How about, say, this summer in Aspen?
At least one friend of Walt Mossberg's didn't like my characterization of him in the same column as "old" because I called Mossberg a mean old man for picking on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over privacy issues.
You don't have to agree. But the young-old thing was really silly, sort of like Mr. Wilson and Dennis the Menace. Zuckerberg should have been able to answer these questions and he is not made of paper mache. A ton of young people are concerned about privacy and being relevant on tech has no age limit. It's lazy reporting to say so.
Maybe so. I'm just saying that this 43-year-old's take watching the 63-year-old Mossberg browbeat the 26-year-old Zuckerberg (in a way he didn't treat the 55-year-old Steve Jobs) was that there was an obvious generation gap in their approach to privacy issues.
One more comment from AllthingsD. Richard Rosenblatt of Demand Media calls the writers who contribute to his websites "content creators" or "freelancers" but not journalists. (Don't know about Demand? Read this.) I challenged him on that. Someone who writes on a subject and gets paid for it is a journalist, whether or not they're full-time employees. It's time we stop with the tedious debate about journalists, bloggers, content creators and so on. Where one writes isn't the issue. If someone is writing for a publication, online or offline, whose intention is to inform or entertain, they are a journalist.