Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer proved once again he’s the master of hyperbole, telling an interviewer during the Web 2.0 conference that only the geekiest of the geeks can figure out how to use Android phones. Given that it’s the most popular smartphone OS in the world, there must be plenty of geeks out there if he’s right.


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At the conference, Ballmer was interviewed John Battelle of Federated Media. According to GeekWire, When Battelle asked him about Android phones, he said that Android was a difficult-to-learn-operating system and added:

“You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone. I think you do to use an Android phone.”

That’s likely news to the people who use Android phones. Comscore reports that in August, Android was by far the most popular smartphone operating system in the U.S. with 43.7% market share, compared to 27.3% for second-place iOS, and only 5.7% for Microsoft smartphone operating systems.

Are there really that many computer scientists in the United States?

Clearly not. This is just one more example of Ballmer being Ballmer. But it’s time that he realized that bluster does Microsoft no good. Few people take him seriously any more when he makes public pronouncements. And having people tune out your CEO isn’t the best way to help your company make up lost ground against Google and Apple. He’d do better to highlight Windows Phone 7’s unique capabilities — and there are many of them — than engaging in pointless hyperbole.