Microsoft Is a Fad

Nice going, Steve Ballmer.

After suggesting that social networks (like ad partner Facebook) might be passing fancies, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) energetic CEO is either a shrewd negotiator -- or an idiot.

"I think these things [social networks] are going to have some legs, and yet there's a faddishness, a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people," Ballmer told Times Online on Monday.

Legs? Faddish? Younger people? Oh, snap! Did Ballmer just call Facebook the next Heelys (Nasdaq: HLYS  ) ? Don't tell me that he just relegated News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS  ) MySpace to the status of a rusting Razor scooter. 

Aren't many of the software giant's entertainment appliances, like the Xbox 360 and the Zune, turning to social networks to woo consumers into stickier relationships with Mr. Softy?

And what's wrong with appealing to young people? (My Foolish colleague Tim Beyers was just discussing why IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI  ) should buy the social networking/virtual world of Second Life.) Weren't folks like Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) Steve Jobs and Microsoft's own Bill Gates once just sharp kids toiling away with the "faddishness" of personal computing? And don't even get me started on what grad-school duos were cooking up when they launched Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) , or even Hewlett-Packard.

I'm hoping that Ballmer's comments will turn out to be a negotiating tactic. After all, Facebook's CEO is in his early 20s. If there is any truth at all to last week's The Wall Street Journal story -- citing unnamed sources that had Microsoft looking to buy a small stake in Facebook, valuing the social-networking site at $10 billion to $15 billion -- fad rhetoric like this may prompt Facebook to cash out before it gets too greedy.

Sure. And if you believe that, I have the $1 billion that Yahoo! supposedly offered to swallow Facebook whole last year. Facebook turned it down, and even a pessimistic valuation of Facebook proves that Mark Zuckerberg made the right call at the time.

Facebook has gone on to grow faster than other social networks, closing the gap with market leader MySpace. Embracing developers by opening the site to lucrative widget-concocting programmers has helped Facebook claim the top spot on every brand marketer's to-do list.

Tsk, tsk, Ballmer. Playing the fad card isn't going to work with someone whose arrogance paid off perfectly last year. It's also no way to treat and ad-serving partner

If Ballmer thinks that Facebook is a fad, one can only wonder how quickly his mental clock must be ticking on Zune's 15 minutes.

Other Facebook snaps:

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 537932, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/27/2016 1:36:01 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 4 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,199.33 30.06 0.17%
S&P 500 2,139.43 -3.73 -0.17%
NASD 5,250.27 -33.13 -0.63%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/26/2016 4:00 PM
MSFT $60.63 Down -0.36 -0.59%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ****
AAPL $115.59 Down -2.66 -2.25%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
FOX $26.52 Up +0.81 +3.15%
Twenty-First Centu… CAPS Rating: ***
GOOGL $822.10 Down -6.45 -0.78%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: *****
IAC $66.26 Down -0.88 -1.31%
IAC/InterActiveCor… CAPS Rating: *****
YHOO $42.08 Down -0.47 -1.10%
Yahoo CAPS Rating: **