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Microsoft's game of thrones: how Ballmer and Gates lost favor

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Over the course of the last year, the balance of power at Microsoft has drastically changed. Now, BusinessWeek has chronicled the Game of Thrones-like power struggle that shoved aside the regime of Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates to make way for a new leader. While much of the story has been told before in whispers and rumors, the publication's sources paint a vivid picture of internal strife and corporate backstabbings at the firm, starting with a rift between Gates and Ballmer themselves. Have you heard the one about how Bill Gates and the Microsoft board originally opposed the Nokia buyout, and that Ballmer exploded in rage? Or that the board then actively sought to replace Ballmer with Ford's Alan Mulally?

As in Game of Thrones, though, it appears to be the clever behind-the-scenes players that made the most out of the situation. After opposing Ballmer, John Thompson is now the company's executive chairman, replacing Gates after new CEO Satya Nadella convinced him to step down. Since the appointment, Nadella has apparently been cleaning house. And then there's Mason Morfit, who apparently forced the company to make him a director after threatening a proxy fight. While it may not be a tale dramatic enough to captivate HBO viewers, it's still one worth reading. You can find it at our source link below.