When I asked Barry Diller earlier this year if Ask needed some type of "Don't Be Evil" like Google, his answer got the audience roaring with laughter. "Be Evil," he said, then qualifying that businesses needed to be realistic. Now Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gets to swing at the same question in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. He basically dodges the question by saying Google doesn't seem to follow it.
Definitely check out the exchange in the interview in On The Record, Microsoft Corp, Steve Ballmer. It starts off:
Q: This is an old question, but it always comes up: What do you think of the "Don't be evil" mantra as a corporate culture?
A: Who are we talking about?
A: Do they follow it? (Laughs.)
Q: What do you think of that?
A: I don't have any comment. I'll ask you. I mean, it's one thing to have a mantra and it's another thing to follow it. Dude, you've got to ask yourself that question.
Q: Are you saying that they don't?
A: I didn't say anything. No comment about it.
Well, I'd say he pretty much gave a comment on it -- and that he doesn't think Google follows it. C'mon Steve, be brave and just say so. Plenty of people would agree that it's either outdated or something Google doesn't always live up to.
So what's the Microsoft mantra? No catch phrase, but he says:
We believe in empowering people and businesses around the world to realize their full potential. We have a set of core values that we believe in.
Lots more in the interview, covering being engaged in China to never having read his Wikipedia entry to the fight not being over in search.