Apple and Microsoft are "two trick ponies" according to Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer, who has just passed Bill Gates to become Microsoft’s largest shareholder, has kept a relatively low profile since leaving the software maker. However, he did give a speech in March at Oxford Union–with highlights recently posted to YouTube. “I’m nervous,” Ballmer said at the outset of the talk, which he noted was his first one since leaving Microsoft in February. “It may be my last, too, if it doesn’t go well.” In the talk, he talked about Microsoft and Apple as both two-trick ponies. 

Speaking to students at The Oxford Union, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer offered his thoughts on the importance of passion, Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Microsoft’s future. “I’m nervous,” he said at the beginning of his talk. “This is the first speech I’ll give — and maybe the last, too, if it doesn’t go well — as something other than a Microsoft employee.” Ballmer, who stepped down in February, reflected on the 34 years he spent at Microsoft and shared several lessons from his days leading the Redmond-based company that he joined all the way back in 1980. One of the interesting tidbits from the talk came when Ballmer referred to Microsoft as “two-trick pony.” He said that many successful companies are “one-trick ponies,” in that they do one thing really well. For example, Coca-Cola invented one thing, got it right, and has sustained a profitable business for decades.

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