I've interviewed a fair few Fortune 100 CEO's over the past half-decade with my current employers, but my most entertaining interviewee has to Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, not including the time when thanks to over-reliance on technology I discovered to my horror that my office's digital transcriber was full (and thus learnt never to trust office equipment, unless they were in your own possession) . However, I will hark back to my first interview with the man that Fake Steve Jobs politely refers to as Monkey Boy back in November 2004.
I will try and find the transcript in the archives, but I remember asking him about Google and he dismissed the threat of the Mountain View company, calling them just the 'current hot thing' of the internet (this made for an interesting second interview two and a bit years later). Anyway, since I am generally feeling unemployed today and was surfing all over the interwebs, I came across this interesting conversation that Ballmer has with the editors of the Washington Post.
"...there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form..."
Now, while this obviously means the US and other developed economies, this is an interesting statement and unlike his rather crazy dismissal of Google back in 2004, this is rather more serious. I do believe that things will not be so dramatic in India, but lets be honest, I am very sure that over 99 per cent of the readers of my publication have access to the internet, and sooner or later will find consuming information from the internet a far easier proposition than spending money and buying the 'offline' magazine.
I have said time and again, the main reason I hopped onto the blogging bandwagon, what some 300,000 pageviews and 700 posts ago was because I had to be online. I realise that the future is not in paper. Ballmer is right, you know, he might have no clue how Microsoft will leverage this paperless world, and the newspaper may take longer than 10 years to die out in India, but we're in for interesting times over the next few years.
Oh, and if you want to know why fake Steve calls ballmer 'Money Boy', you have never seen this YouTube classic.
EDIT: Microsoft India seems to be in serious crisis.