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4/26/2014
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Top 10 Secret Reasons Microsoft CEO Ballmer Retired

Steve Ballmer didn't get the credit he deserved, as evidenced by Microsoft's strong financial position when he resigned. Here are 10 reasons you've never heard about why he stepped down.
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(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who retired in February, didn't get the credit he deserved during his extraordinary 34-year career at Microsoft. While he was CEO from 2000 to 2014, the company generated an astounding $120 billion in profits and shifted its strategic focus and much of its market-leading software to the cloud. As of the beginning of the year, Microsoft was sitting on $84 billion in cash and cash equivalents. No small feat.

Microsoft's financial report on Thursday shows some of the big chinks in that armor -- a soft Windows business and a flailing Windows Phone business among them. But the fact that the company's stock is now trading near its 52-week high indicates that investors think Ballmer left a still-solid foundation for new CEO Satya Nadella to build upon.

Yes, Microsoft is way behind iOS and Android in mobile computing, remains an also-ran in search, is losing the browser wars to Firefox and Chrome, and is off to a very slow start with its Surface tablets. But it can't dominate every market in an age of rapid digital innovation and disruption. And while all of Microsoft's traditional strongholds -- Windows, Office, SharePoint, Exchange, SQL Server -- are under threat, that's the nature of the software business. It's worth noting that its SQL Server, System Center, Windows Server Premium, and Lync businesses grew by double digits last quarter, while its Azure cloud business grew 150%, thanks largely to the early success of Office 365.

Microsoft has managed a deft evolution in most of its core products (with the exception of Windows), and Nadella is now looking to tie them together under a strategy he calls "ambient intelligence." The goal: Make it easier for users at companies of all sizes to pull data from their Microsoft stores, as well as from sensors, social networks, server logs, and other third-party sources, to make more-informed decisions.

As for Ballmer, I hope he and his wife are enjoying their $20 billion in wealth and turning more of their attention to philanthropy now that he's retired. I had the privilege of interviewing Ballmer three or four times during my career, and I always found him to be personable and genuine, as well as overwhelmingly passionate. And he has a very sharp sense of humor, so I'm hoping he'd get a kick out of the following parody. Please weigh in with your own barbs.

Rob Preston currently serves as VP and editor in chief of InformationWeek, where he oversees the editorial content and direction of its various website, digital magazine, Webcast, live and virtual event, and other products. Rob has 25 years of experience in high-tech ... View Full Bio

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anon0216885350
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anon0216885350,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2014 | 1:53:37 PM
Re: More reason's why Steve Ballmer retired
Mr Ballmer's rejection of the Business and Corporate community in favor of the mobile market (low end users) was irresponsible. That's why the majority of Windows computers still run XP, or more so, 7. I remember his Exec VP, Tami Reller, absolutely lying about the adoption rate of Win 8 and stating that "the touch screen is the future". I thought, here I am typing an 8 page engineering report with formulas and graphics and in the near future I'll have to finger in the details/data. Not going to happen. Then to add injury to insult, "we listened" and out came Win 8.1. Nothing but lip service. Now we're faced with Win 8.2 (update, upgrade, service pack 1, or whatever they're calling it). Unless they release Win 9 and it makes sense, MS will become obsolete. People have work to do and are not going to play games with MS, nor the cloud, nor Office 365.
A. Wolf
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A. Wolf,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2014 | 1:43:51 PM
Pretty sure the ten reasons were these.
DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS.
anon0216885350
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anon0216885350,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2014 | 1:41:43 PM
Steve Ballmer's retirement
Mr Ballmer didn't retire, he was shown the door.
TeaPartyCitizen
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TeaPartyCitizen,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2014 | 12:51:54 PM
Leaving MS with only a 4% share of mobile is not a "solid foundation"
A foundation like that would look like a piramid turned upside down.
mcsnert
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mcsnert,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2014 | 12:29:09 PM
Re: More reason's why Steve Ballmer retired
It cost me $70 to install software to recover the data and applications Microsoft deleted without my knowledge or consent. How's that for a start? How about basically forcing users to use a Microsoft account to access their dekstops.  I have plenty of Microsoft accounts, but I have no desire to notify Microsoft everytime I log on or off of my own personal desktop on hardware I own.  It is none of their business. I prefer to use other services for what Microsoft offers, such as Google Drive, etc.  I don't own a Microsoft phone or tablet, and it is doubtful I ever will.  Microsoft's creeed is to try and force the user into a mold they may not want to fit into and they do it without the user's knowledge of the options or consequences. It is corporate averice at its worst and will only be challenged when Microsoft faces severe fiduciary costs for this horrible and offecnsive behavior.

I hope this answers your question.
mcsnert
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mcsnert,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2014 | 12:16:06 PM
Re: He was 50% An Idiot
Like the guy they hired to shepard Windows 8 through the corporate rand at Microsoft.  He was universally despised within and they fired when he was finished. he will probably go down as the person whoi killed Microsoft. he was deaf to every objection staff and users brought before him because he thought he was going to be the next Steve Jobs.  This idiot had not a clue as to what it was that gave Steve Jobs his unique genius.  yes, Steve Jobs was difficult and explosive, but those are not the defining characteristics of Steve Jobs personality. In the case of Microsoft, it was.  And the leadership within Microsoft, like Steve Ballmer, refused to recognize the dangers. They were well outside the loop and blind and deaf to the true consequences of their actions.  It is time Microsoft pay for this and the incredible amount of cost associated with integrating their new OS and the philiosophy behind it.

In my estimation, the philosophy behind Win 8 is the ability to deliver it as a service to any device you own, as long as it is a Microsoft device.  The ability to deliver this service, known variably as Desktop as a service (DAAS) or Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) is controlled solely by Microsoft. Service providers can only provide these services in the user purchases their OS first, then pay for the service of delivering to them to their various devices.  Only Microsoft retains the ability to lease the software to consumers on a per device basis.  Unless you are familiar with this market, it is another over-reach by Microsoft.  

So not only has Microsoft pissed of the consumer and their serive provider partners, the enterprise IT folks are just as peaved. Managing Windows 8 in familiar ways is gone.  Let's say you want to deploy Win 8 desktops for corporate users.  Mind you, 99% of corporate users are not very tech savvy.  Their IT departments have spent untold hours making their user's desktop interface as simple to use as possible. Things like placing shortcuts to applications on desktops, and only those shortcuts, plus maybe IE or Chrome or Mozilla, etc. There is a scant toolbox for doing this in Win 8.  And the fact that prior to Win 8.1 there was no way to boot to a desktop exacerbates the issue. In effect Microsoft was forcing their corporate users to use the Metro interface.  Now I am an IT person and I am pretty tech savvy by definition.  If I struggle with this interface, you can be sure the nominal user will be totally lost.  What IT department has the time and the manpower to cmpletely retrain their employees on how to simply access files through an Explorer interface, or easily start Outlook or Word. The stupidity and bone-headedness of Microsoft cannot be underestimated here. And it is time they are severely taken down a few notches.  In my estmation the only way to do that is through their pocket book and that means class action lawsuits.
wdollar338
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wdollar338,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2014 | 12:01:19 PM
Bullet Head was a train wreck for shareholders
Steve Ballmer has a high IQ and a very low Social IQ! On balance he was a "train wreck" for the shareholders and Bill Gates never seemed to really care! Year after year Ballmer made horrible decisions and blew tens of billions of dollars and yet Bill Gates never seemed to care! But the good news is he is finally gone, and the new guy will get them back on track.
mcsnert
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mcsnert,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2014 | 11:55:57 AM
Re: He was 50% An Idiot
I was not referring to suing Steve Ballmer, I was referring to the loss of value Microsoft is going to see when class action lawsuits start to bear on the value of Microsoft.

I recently upgraded to Windows 8.1.  What I found out is that Microsoft thinks they now own your PC to the point they decide when your old data will be deleted from your system without the slightest warning to the user. In my estimation, Microsoft does not have the right to do this and losses of data from millions of users is a good value proposition for the cost of a class action lawsuit against Microsoft. They also make it extremely difficult to use a machine with Windows 8 installed on it to work without a Microsoft account. It is very well hidden from the consumer how to use a local account in essence forcing users to create a Microsoft account even if they do not wish to have one. I recently wanted to update my games on the new OS (Solitair, etc.). Games which were native to every Microsoft OS before Windows 8.  In order to download the 'free' versions of those apps for Windows 8 I had to change my profile to a Microsoft account.  No way around it.  This is an abuse of power when a company reaches onto hardware you own and dictates how you must authenticate to your own hardware and the software you purchased from Microsoft. Purchased is the key. I did not lease it or rent it. I purchased it. For this and a slew of other over-reaches by the ill-conceived policies of Microsoft, they are absolutely ripe for class action lawsuits which in my estimation will seriously affect the viability of the company.  At this point in time, I feel that is the only way to ride the market of the scourge which has become Microsoft. And that would seriously affect Steve Ballmer's bottom line, hence taking his money and running.  Maybe then the will be sized properly to realizre their proper place in the market.
Inverse137
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Inverse137,
User Rank: Strategist
4/27/2014 | 10:57:32 AM
Re: More reason's why Steve Ballmer retired
True, and IF the corporate veil were pierced and they went after an individual there would most likely be criminal charges and it would not matter in the slightest if that person were retired.

 

Myopic comments by myopic people.
Inverse137
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Inverse137,
User Rank: Strategist
4/27/2014 | 10:55:42 AM
Re: More reason's why Steve Ballmer retired
What, exactly, will "the world" be suing microsft over?

 

The beauty of the Internet is that it gives everyone a voice.  The curse is that everyone uses it.
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