Originally Posted by anonymouse
Of course, his apparent obsession with Apple is a major distraction. Apple isn't the immediate threat to Microsoft. Google is. His lack of ability to focus on real issues is a serious detriment to Microsoft.
Totally agree. Ballmer doesn't seem to have any idea where MS is headed and no clue how to get there. One day he proclaims that Yahoo is essential to MS's long term survival, the next day he says it isn't. One day MS goes Walmart with the laptop hunter ads (buy me I'm cheap!) then later Ballmer comes out and says he wants to bring MS upmarket by somehow pushing up MS's netbook OS prices.
Monopolies are treacherous things. They make you think that you're the world's greatest manager whose company is making great products and whose marketing department has its finger on the consumer's pulse. In reality, the only reason Microsoft made billions of dollars was because IBM gifted them with an OS monopoly which they then, through partly illegal means, parlayed into the Office Suite monopoly.
When you look at things a little more closely, Microsoft isn't really any good in writing software, developing products, or pitching them at the costumer. All it's non-monopoly products are either dead, dying, or perpetual billion-dollar money losers. Including Xbox. Any objective evaluator will conclude that OS-X is better than Windows. Heck, even their own Windows chief Jim Allchin said so in an embarrassing internal e-mail that was exposed during discovery. Then on top of the lousy product, it's promotions are invariably lame, like a geek who's trying too hard to be cool.
All of Microsoft's brass are people who think they've been hitting homeruns when in fact they were put on third base by IBM. That includes Bill Gates. If Microsoft truly wants to succeed, they need to replace Ballmer with a guy who has a proven track record of successfully developing and selling product in a non-monopoly setting. Somebody like, ummmm, Steve Jobs. But of course that will never happen because as far as MS is concerned, the fault lies with someone else somewhere.