Ballmer: Microsoft wasted time on Vista

In a chat with fellow CEOs at Microsoft's 14th annual CEO Summit, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer came close to admitting Vista was a dog.

"How do you get your product right? How do you help the customer? How do you be patient?" he asked, as if he knew the answer.

What he did know was that Microsoft spent too many years building Windows Vista. "We tried too big a task and in the process wound up losing thousands of man hours of innovation," he said.

What we take him to mean by this that instead of innovating Microsoft sought to make itself into the guardian of digital media - a sort of Internet copyright cop - by stitching up a DRM-infested monster.

The attempt fell flat and allowed the likes of Apple and Google to gain a march on the monopolist.

Microsoft-watcher Mary-Jo Foley was more interested in Ballmer's five-point plan for company success. These he listed as: Attracting talented employees; making balanced investments; innovating in the right areas, maintaining a positive product flow and making the right future bets.

You can listen to half an hour of Ballmer's dulcet tones from here.