Reaction to Steve Ballmer Leaving Microsoft
Steve Ballmer has announced that he is planning to retire from Microsoft within the next 12 months. I cannot speak to Mr. Ballmer’s abilities as a CEO – I am not close enough to Microsoft to be able to any an opinion either way. He has, however, allowed himself to have the reputation of being somewhat of a buffoon (remember the “Monkey Boy” video?).
Andy Dugdale at FastMoney is out with a column about Ballmer leaving Microsoft, and what people are saying about it [Link].
As the dust settles over Friday’s shocking announcement that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is planning to step down–an estimated $769 million better off–more details are emerging. AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher is reporting that the exit is not necessarily happening the way that Ballmer and the company he’s worked at for most of his adult life expected.
Instead, the Microsoft board, including chairman Bill Gates, all decided that Ballmer should go sooner rather than later, because of the company’s poor business performance.
Here are some of the reactions and analyses from around the web:
ZDNet’s Mary Jane Foley had an interview with the beleaguered CEO on Friday night–the Microsoft specialist journalist’s first in 20 years, in which he talked about his regrets, the succession, and his proudest moments.
One blogger named Ben Thompson claimed that, had Ballmer run Apple, it would be making more money in the next five years than it will under Tim Cook. However, Ballmer would be so busy coming up with products to cater for every market and pushing these products aggressively that Apple would cease to be an innovator. “If Steve Ballmer were the CEO, Apple would make more money, but they would slowly but surely become irrelevant. Just like Microsoft.”
The New York Times‘s David Pogue wrote a post headlined “How Ballmer Missed The Tidal Shifts In Tech,” which argued that the importance of the touchscreen phone completely passed the CEO by. Per Pogue:
It doesn’t take a psychologist to understand why Microsoft missed these tidal shifts: It’s always been a PC company. It helped to create the PC revolution, its bread and butter was the PC — and so of course the company kept insisting that the PC was the future.
It would have taken an exceptional thinker, an out-of-the-box visionary, to admit that the company’s foundation was crumbling. Mr. Ballmer wasn’t that guy.