Ballmer Gets Earful From Vista Mom

    October 11, 2007

In my years of retail work, I’ve encountered tough guys, wicked old ladies, and thousands of screaming children.  Yet the scariest creatures are often the mothers of those children, and Steve Ballmer may have seen a hint of that when one woman confronted him over Windows Vista.

That’s not to imply that Yvonne Genovese, a Gartner analyst, was out of line.  She used humor to her advantage, and generally voiced what hundreds of other people have said on blogs and in reviews.  Also, Ballmer didn’t exactly break down and cry.

Still, it sounds like an interesting exchange.  Patrick Thibodeau quoted both parties, and while at a conference and in front of a crowd, Genovese reportedly said, “I’m one of those early adopters of Vista.  My daughter comes in one day and says, ‘Hey Mom, my friend has Vista, and it has these neat little things called gadgets — I need those.’”

Ballmer replied, “I love your daughter.”

And to the crowd’s amusement, Genovese responded, “You’re not going to like her mom in about two minutes.”

Genovese then stated that she’d installed Vista, only to quickly reinstall XP – Vista didn’t live up to expectations.  Microsoft had a similar problem with its Live Search overhaul.  Plus, Steve Ballmer has been at the center of some controversy due to statements about Gmail and Facebook.  It seems like Redmond is getting knocked around a little more than usual these days.