Ballmer told The New York Times that IBM made a mistake when it quit the PC, hard disk, and networking equipment businesses, because companies need to diversify if they want to profit over the long term. Here's what he told the Times:
"I.B.M. is the company that is notable for going the other direction. I.B.M.'s footprint is more narrow today than it was when I started. I am not sure that has been to the long-term benefit of their shareholders.
I.B.M.'s strategy has worked out O.K. for its investors over the last decade. Shares of I.B.M. are up about 30 percent since 1999, while shares of Microsoft have dropped about 30 percent over the same time span.http://blogs.computerworld.com/14838/ballmer_ibm_should_ignore_profits_get_back_into_the_hardware_business