Steve Ballmer: The Truth
There seems to be a lot of hate for Steve and he is blamed for a lot of stuff (Vista, no Courier, etc.) even thought some of it is false, so lets get it straight:
- Windows 7, not Vista was the first OS that Bill Gates had zero influence on it. Gates is as much responsible (if not more) as Steve.
- aQuantive was bought when Bill Gates still shared leadership of the company. Check the WSJ, it said how there were a lot of internal conflicts and Bill Gates made fun of Steve Ballme when he was no longer the CEO.
Things became so bitter that, on one occasion, Gates stormed out of a meeting in a huff after a shouting match in which Ballmer jumped to the defense of several colleagues, according to an individual present at the time. After the exchange, Ballmer seemed "remorseful", the person said. Once Gates leaves, "I'm not going to need him for anything. That's the principle," Ballmer said. "Use him, yes, need him, no.
- KIN was created by the same guy who made Courier. Yes, bet did not pay off, just like Apple's Social Network, Google's Video/Wave/Buzz, etc. You have to take risks and it's a part of the job.
- Courier was axed by Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Bill hated it because it did not have the email client, Ballmer decided to go with Sinofsky's vision instead and made a good choice. Disagree?
Under Ballmer's leadership, when Gates was no longer influencing the company, he:
- Reimagined the Windows Phone with creative folks like Joe, etc.
- Reimagined Office with Ribbon
- Reimagined Windows 8, bringing something fresh to the table
- Approved Microsoft Surface, a product that everyone is excited about
- Changed Microsoft's image from dark, dirty company to exciting and innovative, thanks to the guys he approved, Sinofsky, Stevie Bathiche, Joe Belfiore, Panos Panay. And before you say: they should run the company. I'd rather them focus on things they do best: innovation than on accounting and other things, which is Ballmer brilliant at.
- After 10 years of antitrust limits (let's not forget who is responsible for that), Ballmer now has freedom and is integrating Xbox, Surface, Glass, Windows 8, Windows Phone, etc. into a giant ecosystem, something they could not do before
- Exploded Microsoft's revenue
So my question is: what kind of magic gold nugget does he have to pull out of his ass for you to finally say: yes, he is a good CEO?
And before you bring same old stocks argument, the everyday consumer does not give a rats ass about stock price and no, Microsoft's share price is not $30 vs. Apples $600. Actually, Microsoft split their share price 9 names so the real number is:
MSFT $15360 vs. AAPL $600