by Shane O'Neill

Ballmer the Good Sport Signs a Mac

Jan 22, 2010
Data Center

Steve Ballmer laughs it up with students and autographs a MacBook. Makes you wonder if Steve Jobs would ever sign a PC.

Here’s some light Friday fodder for you. We all know that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is an intense, sometimes overcaffeinated, corporate boss, but he still has a sense of humor, even when asked to sign … gulp … a Mac.

TechFlash posted a video of a brave young college student asking Ballmer to sign his MacBook Pro at a recent event in Nashville, Tenn.

What would Steve Jobs do?

That takes some guts, but it was all in good fun and an affable Ballmer laughed and signed his name with the question, “Need a new one?”

When handing off the MacBook to Ballmer the Trevecca Nazarene University student uttered, “It’s got Windows on it I promise.” To which Ballmer smiled and said “Oh yeah. Uh huh” — as if to say stop yankin’ my chain kid.

I think Big Steve will stop laughing if this kind of thing becomes a trend, but it was nice of him to be a good sport here. Imagine, if you will, if this were Steve Jobs and some poor soul asked him to sign a Dell laptop. Lasers would probably shoot from the Apple chief’s eyes, reducing the student to vapors. In a less gruesome scenario, Jobs would flash a sinister smile and gently apply the Vulcan nerve pinch to the student, quickly bringing him to his knees and into a state of unconsciousness.

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Of course none of that could happen because Steve Jobs would never be there in the first place. Jobs is not a mingle with college students kind of guy. It’s doubtful he mingles with anybody, ever. All due respect to Mr. Jobs — I know he is not in good health — but even when he was fit as a fiddle he was never a man of the people.

Ballmer is not exactly salt of the earth either, but he is an enthusiastic character and is fairly comfortable hanging out with normal people, as he shows here.

Nevertheless, if I were the MacBook autograph seeker, I wouldn’t be calling on Ballmer for a reference any time soon.

Shane O’Neill is a senior writer at Follow him on Twitter at Follow everything from on Twitter at