Ballmer may have missed the critical point of the issue--in these tough economic times, businesses are looking to more cost effective alternatives to Microsoft products. While Apple has concentrated on proprietary hardware/software solutions such as the iphone and ipad, Microsoft has continued to support the PC platform and now faces stiff competition from vendors offering less expensive or open source solutions.
A collegue recently advised me not to pursue the MCSE certification because nobody's buying Microsoft Server products anymore. Similarly, many of the companies I talk with are going to open source and web-based or network-based solutions for office productivity software. The Windows OS may continue to be the standard for PC's, but that's only because of their licensing agreement with manufacturers so that it ships with your new computer.
I envision that the future of mobile computing may be somewhere between the iphone and ipad, but the desktop PC will be around the office for some time to come (it may be supplanted for casual home users by game consoles with keyboards, internet, and cloud apps). The question for Ballmer is what Microsoft's role in the future of personal and office computing will be.
Keep Up with TechRepublic