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Microsoft suggests bias in media's 'puzzling' Steve Ballmer coverage

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stock 1020
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stock 1020

As members of the press and public weigh in on Steve Ballmer's impending departure from Microsoft, the company is today delivering an emphatic message: the best is still to come. But Redmond isn't happy about the tone of media coverage in recent days. VP of communications Frank Shaw has taken to the official Microsoft blog to call out "variability" and "radically divergent conclusions" he's seen following Ballmer's surprise announcement. "The key thing that determines how we interpret a set of facts is the frame we view them through and what pre-existing beliefs that frame is built on," Shaw writes.

"The reason we have big ambitions is because we see big potential."

Intertwining mentions of Dickens and Kurosawa, he goes on to cite examples of these "quick-twitch" and "puzzling" stories that have come from "so many writers, pundits and self-promoters." In particular, Shaw takes issue with shining a light on Microsoft's missteps "while ignoring the successes" enjoyed by the company elsewhere. "Another approach has been to go a step further, criticize our lack of 'focus' and suggest that those other successes are actually a distraction from what they believe should be our single priority." The Verge touched on issues of focus and Microsoft's ill-fated consumer products in our report analyzing Ballmer's tenure as CEO, also highlighting the executive's strong successes. "What these themes reveal is a single narrow frame through which the writers and pundits view the industry itself that leads them to reach these conclusions."

Microsoft, says Shaw, has "a different perspective" driving the company's path forward. He concludes the message, which never mentions Microsoft's outgoing chief by name, on an optimistic note. "When people see the 'worst of times' while we see the best still ahead of us, we know it’s simply because we’re not looking through the same frame or the same time horizon." Microsoft is expected to choose a new CEO to better execute on that vision within the next year.