Steve-Ballmer

Another call for Steve Ballmer to go

Don Reisinger from eweek has gone through the rather predictable excercise of pointing out that Steve Ballmer’s performance as CEO of Microsoft is less than stellar. In Don’s article, he goes through 10 different reasons why Steve should go and most of them are pretty obvious.

I do like number 3 though..

As mentioned, Ballmer talked up Windows Phone 7 quite a bit at CES. He also reported that the company’s mobile app marketplace now has 5,000 apps. Considering Apple’s store has over 300,000 programs and the Android Market has around 200,000 apps, it probably wasn’t the best figure to mention.

Moreover, Ballmer did little to allay fears that the company’s previous sales announcement of 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 devices shipped in its first six weeks of availabilitywas an anomaly.

Apple sells millions of iPhones every quarter. Google is seeing hundreds of thousands of Android devices activated each day. And yet, Ballmer couldn’t find a single Windows Phone 7-related stat that would put Microsoft on anywhere near a level playing field. That’s not good.

That is a pretty sad stat for the Windows phone.

Here’s the deal. Steve Ballmer is a good guy. He had/has the confidence of one of the wisest and richest men in the world (Bill Gates) and as a CEO, for a while, he wasn’t that bad.

The problem is that too much has changed in the past decade on his watch and it is disturbing to see Microsoft struggle with how to make the change in leadership.

Steve is not a bad person and in fact, I posit that he is a very smart person but sometimes even the smartest people in the world miss a paradigm shift.

I am 38 years old and realize that I have no idea what music is “hip” anymore these days. When I guess, my younger cousins are the ones who gently correct me and tell me that the artists that I am talking about are “so last year” or “not hot”.

That doesn’t make me a bad person, it just tells me that I am getting older and my focus should probably be on something a little different OR I should depend on younger trendier people to help me figure the music thing out.

Likewise, Steve missed a paradigm shift – A major one. Windows Phone 7 came too late, IE still stinks as a browser, Windows Vista was awful, Iphone and Ipad should have been Microsoft’s and Google sealed the deal. All (or most) on his watch.

Now most of these mistakes alone would be enough to sink a regular CEO. With Microsoft it’s not that easy.

The company is doing well and has tens of billions of dollars in cash. The problem is they have ceded the top innovator spot and crucial mind-share to other companies.

Today Verizon and Apple announced they would be offering the Iphone to customers and the internet is abuzz with the analysis.

There is real excitement about this and even the naysayers are only resistant because of the upcoming launch of the Iphone 5 – another Apple product.

Microsoft need to get that buzz back because it’s gone.

Unfortunately they may need another CEO to do it…

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  • Simone

    Yeah it’s time for him to go. The fact that they are taking this long to let him go only shows how much trouble they are in…

  • Timiteh

    Well i disagree.
    I think that Ballmer is a better manager than Bill Gates was.
    He is certainly not a visionary but he can put himself out of the way to enable some people like Steven Sinofsky to do some quite amazing things like Windows 7 and the WP7.
    Moreover Microsoft has never been as profitable than now.
    So i personally think that he is quite a good CEO.
    However he is quite a bad showman and has quite a lot of troubles to deliver exciting shows.
    Even with exciting technology such as Surface 2, he is unable to make an exciting show.
    He is hopeless in this regard and should either find a showman to make keynotes or find some people from Microsoft teams to do showcase.
    For example, i find that Steven Sinofsky and Julia Larson Green should be the only ones making Windows related show.
    Now regarding buzz, i think that is the single most stupid concept ever created on the net and the very symptom of the pathetic level to wish our society has fallen.
    So i am pretty glad, Microsoft let Apple be the king of this concept as long as Microsoft manages to deliver products that fit their costumers need.
    And btw, it is not because because WP7 doesn’t sell as well as either Android or iPhone that it is a bad product or that it has failed.
    And i guess that you didn’t try IE9, did you ?

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Moreover Microsoft has never been as profitable than now
      – yes due to the things he had the least to do with..Windows and Office.

      Now regarding buzz, i think that is the single most stupid concept ever created on the net and the very symptom of the pathetic level to wish our society has fallen.
      So i am pretty glad, Microsoft let Apple be the king of this concept as long as Microsoft manages to deliver products that fit their costumers need.
      – Seen Apple’s Stock price lately? Built on Buzz…

      And btw, it is not because because WP7 doesn’t sell as well as either Android or iPhone that it is a bad product or that it has failed.
      – Didn’t say it had failed. Just doesn’t seem to be doing very well..

      And i guess that you didn’t try IE9, did you ?
      – I did, I have. I’m still on Chrome.

      • Timiteh

        “Moreover Microsoft has never been as profitable than now
        – yes due to the things he had the least to do with..Windows and Office.”

        But they are very profitable, in fact more profitable than either Google and Apple, aren’t they ?

        “- Seen Apple’s Stock price lately? Built on Buzz…”

        This is what i said. It is a complete anomaly that a company with significantly less profits than another has a higher stock price.
        Normally the stock price of a company should be proportional to its profitability not to the will of some irresponsible people guilty of the current economic crisis.
        Without that infamy that is the buzz , the economic system would be much more stable and consistent.
        So yes i am glad that Microsoft has higher profit despite being quite bad at generating buzz.
        And last the least the Microsoft shareholders don’t need that the stock price become insanely high to make money.
        They just need that Microsoft was very profitable and last time i check it is.

        “- I did, I have. I’m still on Chrome.”

        Even if you prefer Chrome, you can acknowledge that it is significant evolution from IE8, don’t you ?
        Personally i use both Firefox 4 Beta and IE9 Beta.

  • http://twitter.com/adam_hartung adam_hartung

    Interesting article Onuora!

    I’d say it’s time for Ballmer to go.

    Check out my blog at:

    http://www.thephoenixprinciple.com

    and let’s keep this conversation going!