Ballmer on Future of Print

In a new WashingtonPost.com video, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talks on a wide variety of topics, including the future of print. “In the next 10 years, the world of media companies will be turned upside down,” he says. “There will be no newspapers or magazines delivered in paper form. Everything will be delivered in electronic form.”

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. tory

    I heard this before with paperless office. I have 2 monitors and still have paper all over my desk.

  2. Mike Boland

    Great point. Ballmer’s comments need to be appended with the stipulation that all newspapers, magazines etc., will be delivered via IP IN ADDITION TO paper formats. It will be a while before we stop seeing print versions of the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, — hell, even US Weekly. Sometimes print just makes more sense when you’re sitting on a train, at the beach, or any number of use cases. Digital readers like Kindle haven’t come far enough yet to replace print, and it will be a long time before they’re more economically attractive than a $1.50 paper or $4.95 throwaway magazine at the news stand.

  3. Charles Laughlin

    I am actually a little surprised he would make this prediction, since it’s kind of a cliche. I don’t have a Kindle, but my bookworm sister does and she loves it. Yet she still reads tons of paper books. I think electronic delivery supplements and replaces some use of paper, but it does not completely replace it. Nor will it anytime soon.

  4. Pat Marshall

    I think you have to consider Ballmer’s perspective: he’s CEO of a large technology company that hopes old media are displaced as it enhances MSFT’s sphere of opportunity; he’s a billionaire and doesn’t live life like the rest of us and in a tech-centric place like Seattle to boot; he has to be provocative or the story doesn’t become a story.

    Remember vinyl LPs? They are still around and enjoying something of a resurgence. How about AM radio? Again, still alive a kicking some 40 years after the predicted demise of the band.

    My daughter (17 year-old) is a dedicated user of all digital devices, yet when she wants to relax she picks up a good book or magazine and, when studying, she uses her printed textbooks. And, yes, once in a while she uses the printed yellow pages.

  5. Stan Gauss

    I agree with Charles and Pat and will add that he needs to keep making these bold predictions to keep Microsoft, their board and stockholders horizon watching. With that said, I think he needs to visit the WaWa in my town and watch the 18-20 year olds picking up magazines, tabloids and yes, even newspapers.

  6. Faiz Rehman

    You can have books, magazines, comics and newspapers in digital form today, and they’re great to have. But has any one asked consumers if what they’d prefer? Pretty sure it won’t be a print-free world.
    I, too, have two monitors, numerous hard drives and a tablet PC and while the amount of paper and filing I have is a lot less than, say, 5 years ago, there’s still a requirement for paper. In our office reception, you’ll find newspapers and printed brochures. Even if we could have a Surface-type interface deliver this sort of content, I’m not sure it would be cost-effective. Anyway, I heard someone once say that we’ll have the paperless office when we have the paperless bathroom 🙂

  7. tory

    All this reminds me of people saying that video conferences will make business travel obsolete.

  8. Josh

    I can see this happening I mean think about it the Uks major none internet phone directory gone in a flash! MS don’t need to make money on it just kill it! I cant see the EU stopping them!

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