Steve Ballmer's talk at Microsoft's Venture Capital Summit yesterday may have only been open to a select few, but non-VCs can now get the next best thing courtesy of TechCruch, which got a chance to sit down with Ballmer following the event. In the wide-ranging interview, Ballmer discusses Microsoft's new "three screens and a cloud" strategy, which he describes as a "fundamental shift in the computing paradigm" (and can't help but compare to Three Men and a Baby), as well as Microsoft's "fun year" with things like Bing, Windows 7, and Project Natal, and Microsoft's future acquisition strategy (it'll probably buy about another 15 companies next year). Of particular note, Ballmer also went some way to dampen any talk of a Microsoft-banded phone, saying that while an Apple or RIM can "do just fine," Microsoft still thinks a software play is right for them in such a high volume market -- noting that, "when 1.3 billion phones a year are all smart, the software that's gonna be most popular in those phones is gonna be software that's sold by somebody who doesn't make their own phone." Head on past the break to see the whole thing for yourself.

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Steve Ballmer talks 'three screens and a cloud' and more with TechCrunch