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CEO Steve Ballmer's exit not as 'planned' or 'smooth' as suggested by Microsoft

post #1 of 134
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Though a statement by Microsoft suggested the forthcoming retirement of Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has been in consideration for some time, a new report says the reality is Ballmer did not intend to leave the company so soon.

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The announcement of Ballmer's retirement last week was "neither planned nor as smooth as portrayed," sources indicated to Kara Swisher of AllThingsD. Ballmer was said to be excited in recent weeks over a company-wide restructuring, but in meetings after the announcement of his retirement, he became "uncharacteristically chastened and quiet."

Said to be a critical factor in the decision is the likelihood that activist investor ValueAct could obtain a seat on Microsoft's board. ValueAct has called for a number of changes at the company, including the ouster of Ballmer.

In addition, Microsoft's outgoing CEO is said to have lost the kind of steadfast support he had historically received from former CEO Bill Gates. While Gates didn't "instigate" Ballmer's retirement, he wasn't as much of an advocate as he had been in the past, one source suggested.

Ballmer shocked the tech world last Friday when he announced he would end his 13-year reign over Microsoft. The CEO plans to retire within the next 12 months, once his successor has been chosen.

Microsoft has been routinely criticized for failing to adapt to changes in the tech sector while under the watch of Ballmer. In particular, Microsoft's previously strong stake in smartphones was taken by Apple's iPhone and devices running Google Android, while PC sales have been significantly affected by Apple's iPad.

In an effort to counter the successes seen by Apple in recent years, Ballmer announced a major realignment of Microsoft in July. The sweeping company-wide restructuring plan is focused on positioning Microsoft has a devices and services company, which Ballmer said at the time would enable it to "innovate with greater speed, efficiency and capability."

Whoever replaces Ballmer will inherit a company under the "One Microsoft" realignment that views the company's product lineup "holistically, not as a set of islands." Ballmer said that the new Microsoft structure will allow "a more coherent message and family of product offerings."

Microsoft's shakeup is the latest major restructuring to hit the tech industry. Google announced its own organization changes in March splitting up the company's mapping and commerce unit, while iOS chief Scott Forstall was ousted from Apple late last year, placing lead designer Jony Ive in charge of the company's mobile operating system.
post #2 of 134
Sinofsky?
post #3 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Ballmer has been routinely criticized for failing to adapt to changes in the tech sector while under the watch of Ballmer...

 

Ballmer watching Ballmer... now that is frightening.

 

Sorry to see him go, a colourful and for Apple, successful, era bites the dust.

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Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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post #4 of 134
News of his retirement is so disappointing... Ballmer's tenure has been very good for Apple. :-)
post #5 of 134

Well duh! Does anybody think he was NOT pushed out?

post #6 of 134
Ballmer is worth like 15 billion. So please don't shed any tears for this guy.
post #7 of 134

Ballmer as good as admitted he'd been pushed when he said in an interview: 'My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company's transformation to a devices and services company.' http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/23/microsoft-steve-ballmer-retire-sucessor-search

post #8 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Ballmer is worth like 15 billion. So please don't shed any tears for this guy.

Yeah, seriously!  I was just about to say the same thing.  "Awww, his feelings are hurt.  Poor guy."  Whatever.

post #9 of 134
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #10 of 134

Eventually, the captain of a sinking ship gets thrown overboard.  He will be fine in retirement unlike hundreds of thousands of windows users.
 

post #11 of 134

I'm more worried about the potential for ValueAct to have a seat on Microsoft's board. Investment firms (this is a joke, they don't invest in anything except themselves) have no business being on any company's board of directors. They don't know anything about the company other than how to manipulate the stock to make their investors money. I worry about this because of Apple, not Microsoft. The last thing I want to see is a bunch of criminals like Fidelity sitting on Apple's board or even Ichan. 

post #12 of 134

He will still received a paycheck from MS for the rest of his life.

post #13 of 134

Your article ends rather incorrectly. Ive is not in charge of iOS. Ive is in charge of design, hardware and software design. Federihgi is in charge of software engineering, OSX and iOS. So you could say they're both in charge of it.

 

http://www.apple.com/pr/bios/

post #14 of 134
Big mistake letting him stay a year. First rule .. when firing someone ask for their company car keys and have them escorted from the building .... 1biggrin.gif
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post #15 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Big mistake letting him stay a year. First rule .. when firing someone ask for their company car keys and have them escorted from the building .... 1biggrin.gif


They pulled out his phone and cut the network connections... and he can't leave his office while he's in the building.

 

"DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!!"

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post #16 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

 
Ballmer threw some chairs and the chairs came flying back!  You may 'love this company', but it seems the feeling isn't mutual...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I'm more worried about the potential for ValueAct to have a seat on Microsoft's board. Investment firms (this is a joke, they don't invest in anything except themselves) have no business being on any company's board of directors. They don't know anything about the company other than how to manipulate the stock to make their investors money. I worry about this because of Apple, not Microsoft. The last thing I want to see is a bunch of criminals like Fidelity sitting on Apple's board or even Ichan. 

 

ValuAct on MS Board of Directors, as opposed to say, Al Gore on Apple Board of Directors?  Bunch of criminals not knowing anything about the company, you got that right!

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #17 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


They pulled out his phone and cut the network connections... and he can't leave his office while he's in the building.

"DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!!"

LOL

He could have some revengeful fun in the next year ... he should sell all his shares now, so he doesn't care, and secretly work with Apple to Xerox all Microsoft's secret, innovative ideas ... Oh wait a minute ...
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post #18 of 134

Wall Street just realized that Ballmer might be around for another year... MSFT is down 2%.
 

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post #19 of 134
What CEO announces a major reorg and then a month later says he/she's retiring? Of course he was pushed out. Question is will the new CEO be forced to carry out his reorg plan? Will they only look for people who are 100% on board with that change? My guess is it will be external as I can't imagine any one of the four EVP engineers working for the other.
post #20 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

What CEO announces a major reorg and then a month later says he/she's retiring? Of course he was pushed out. Question is will the new CEO be forced to carry out his reorg plan? Will they only look for people who are 100% on board with that change? My guess is it will be external as I can't imagine any one of the four EVP engineers working for the other.

I wonder if there is even a remote possibility that Gates steps in as iCEO, he always loved copying Steve. 1biggrin.gif
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post #21 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Ballmer shocked the tech world last Friday when he announced he would end his 13-year reign over Microsoft. 

On which planet?

post #22 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I'm more worried about the potential for ValueAct to have a seat on Microsoft's board. Investment firms (this is a joke, they don't invest in anything except themselves) have no business being on any company's board of directors. They don't know anything about the company other than how to manipulate the stock to make their investors money. I worry about this because of Apple, not Microsoft. The last thing I want to see is a bunch of criminals like Fidelity sitting on Apple's board or even Ichan. 

Lucky for you, this kind of sitting isn't some kind of universal game that must be played. Apple will only have these kinds of folks on their board if they choose to allow it. And it's unlikely they will.

Then again consider the comments that they have been wanting Ballmer out, perhaps they could see, from their spot in the outside, that he wasn't keeping up with the markets. Bring things out way way too late and in poor form even, not a smart move for a CEO to make. So maybe they have a clue and won't be so bad for Microsoft. Especially since they will be on the board, not CEO. Which means they have to convince enough of the board to vote with them to get anything done. IF they get the seat at all.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #23 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Big mistake letting him stay a year. First rule .. when firing someone ask for their company car keys and have them escorted from the building .... 1biggrin.gif

Up to a year. They don't want the fall out of having no CEO so while they find a replacement he'll still have the office.

But if they find one next week, buh bye

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #24 of 134

Dismissals were "smooth."

post #25 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Well duh! Does anybody think he was NOT pushed out?

"I know I can make it work, I just know I can. Give me one more chance- PLEEZ!"

 
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Where's the new Apple TV?
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post #26 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


I wonder if there is even a remote possibility that Gates steps in as iCEO, he always loved copying Steve. 1biggrin.gif

I was thinking the same thing. It would be his greatest thrill to think of himself as the new & improved second coming. 

 
Where's the new Apple TV?
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Where's the new Apple TV?
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post #27 of 134

Jony Ive is NOT "...in charge of the company's mobile operating system." He is in charge of user facing look and feel, for iOS and OS X. Federighi is in charge of software engineering for both iOS and OS X. Under the previous org Forstall was in charge of both for iOS, and (I think) Federighi was in charge of both for OS X. I know, the post is about Balmer, but an Apple blog should get key Apple info right, even when the mention is just filler. ;)

 

Gordon

post #28 of 134
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
secretly work with Apple to Xerox all Microsoft's secret, innovative ideas

 

Wow. That would be poetic. Ballmer, wronged by the company he loves, gets even by giving Apple Microsoft's old secrets and lies. Heck, were he to give Apple the truth about all the evil Microsoft has done, I'd be okay with Apple hiring him to do… something non-critical to hardware or software. Since he's a businessman, maybe he could come under Tim Cook's wing, shadowing him for a few years.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #29 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by icoco3 View Post

He will be fine in retirement unlike hundreds of thousands of windows users.

 

Huh, what does one's operating system have to do with one's retirement?
post #30 of 134
Don't set it down !!!
post #31 of 134

His dumbest move was to make so many Windows RTs, what was that again, 900mil write off? How do you then feel good about the restructuring of your company, how do you feel good about anything? You know how Tim Cook keeps a lean mean warehouse, Steve Ballmer is the complete opposite, and then the Windows RT ads, they just suck, what a huge budget for basically musical like ads where you could replace the product with something else and no one would notice. Hey iPads have a click sound when you close the magic cover, do you see Apple making a dancing click ad? Microsoft has an endless cash supply, yet with all that resource they can't make a dent in new markets.

post #32 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

On which planet?

On this one because everyone thought that he'd have to be forcibly removed in a straitjacket after being pepper sprayed and tased.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #33 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I'm more worried about the potential for ValueAct to have a seat on Microsoft's board. Investment firms (this is a joke, they don't invest in anything except themselves) have no business being on any company's board of directors. They don't know anything about the company other than how to manipulate the stock to make their investors money. I worry about this because of Apple, not Microsoft. The last thing I want to see is a bunch of criminals like Fidelity sitting on Apple's board or even Ichan.

I feel the same way. Even a small investor can rally shareholders that have the same mindset. The institutional shareholders and mutual funds don't care about the company values and not even multi-billion dollar profits sometimes as they always want growth.

Some news outlets are taking the route of reporting that Microsoft's market cap dropped from $600b to $295b under Ballmer's tenure but it's not true. Microsoft peaked at the end of 1999, their share price doubled in 1 year and collapsed right back down as the market corrected itself, same thing that happened with Apple. It stayed pretty much flat for the following 13 years except for a massive short-term drop at the beginning of 2009. As far as the share price is concerned, Ballmer did no damage at all.

Shareholders get into this mindset that the peak value of a stock is where it should stay but the market will always go above and below where it eventually settles because that's the only way people can figure out what people are willing to pay for it. A spike that lasts 12 months is no indication of a company's long-term value, especially when the following 13 years proves otherwise.

There seems to be two main failures under Ballmer - Vista and Windows RT. Having to write off $900m on Windows RT is a big loss on what should be one of the key focuses of the company going forward. But as far as the financials, it has had little impact for the most part. It's more of a missed opportunity for growth.

The strategy they have going forward sounds good but it needs to be executed properly. You can see a cringeworthy video with Bill Gates here that I think highlights a big problem they have:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7476720.stm

Despite it being a parody video, that's what Microsoft people are like. They want to be accepted by everyone and target consumers and enterprise alike but they are business people at the core and don't fit in with creative culture. Consumers don't care about Office, these kind of apps are a necessity in the same way that work is necessary to earn money - they aren't passionate about spreadsheets the way they are about things like music or film. The closest they came to consumer appreciation was with the XBox but then they went down a TV, TV, TV route and alienated a lot of that audience.

Microsoft just needs to think about the user experience regardless of who the user is. When you can barely demo a tablet on stage because it doesn't work properly and instead distract people by clicking the stand, that's a big warning sign that the user experience isn't right. When Apple demoed the iPad, Steve just sat on a sofa and used it. Microsoft's recent adverts basically say 'we make sh*t products but at least you can save $150'. If a product is good enough, people will pay for it.

They really need to start placing more importance on design too - designers, designer, designers first and developers, developers, developers second. The XBox One looks like junk. Same with things like this:

post #34 of 134

They're going to have a heckuva time removing the fingernail scratches from his desk when they finally drag him out the door.

post #35 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave MacLachlan View Post

They're going to have a heckuva time removing the fingernail scratches from his desk when they finally drag him out the door.

 

No problem... it's one of those big ass Surface desks complete with Gorilla Glass (there's a joke in there somewhere).

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post #36 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave MacLachlan View Post

They're going to have a heckuva time removing the fingernail scratches from his desk when they finally drag him out the door.

They'll just drag a box with $16 Billion (or what ever his shares are worth) in front of him and he'll crawl out willingly. Cleaning up the saliva won't be pretty ...
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post #37 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The XBox One looks like junk.

Which I find surprising because the design for the XBox 360 was chosen when the most common answer for the design was 'it looks like something Apple might build'.
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #38 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Big mistake letting him stay a year. First rule .. when firing someone ask for their company car keys and have them escorted from the building .... 1biggrin.gif


No Kidding, digialclips! THAT'S how unexpected the firing was. Since no successor was groomed - the Board is left with Ballmer at the helm for a little bit.

 

I would not be surprised if Ballmer steps down at the end of December and an interim CEO is named. Why not? This is a direct consequence of no succession plan, period.

 

There are 12 EVP's and Brian Turner, COO. Perhaps he will be the interim CEO. Thoughts?

post #39 of 134
Baller CEO for the past 13 years:

"Fibonacci: As easy as 1, 1, 2, 3..."
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"Fibonacci: As easy as 1, 1, 2, 3..."
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post #40 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by H2P View Post


No Kidding, digialclips! THAT'S how unexpected the firing was. Since no successor was groomed - the Board is left with Ballmer at the helm for a little bit.

I would not be surprised if Ballmer steps down at the end of December and an interim CEO is named. Why not? This is a direct consequence of no succession plan, period.

There are 12 EVP's and Brian Turner, COO. Perhaps he will be the interim CEO. Thoughts?


I already said it ... partially in jest ... why not copy Steve yet again ... Gates steps in as interim and labels himself ... iCEO
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