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Microsoft Businesses

Maybe Steve Ballmer Doesn't Deserve the Hate 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the easy-to-criticize-a-caricature dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Who could forget Steve Ballmer's defining moment, that infamous 'Developers! Developers! Developers!' rant that became a YouTube hit? Or the reports of frighteningly accurate chair-throwing? Who could miss the tech media and investors blaming him for everything from Microsoft's largely stagnant stock price over the past decade to its inability to get in front of trends such as mobile devices? But tech columnist (and Kernel editor-in-chief) Milo Yiannopoulos talked to a bunch of Ballmer's friends and colleagues, picked through Microsoft's history, and came away with the argument that the man deserves a second look as an effective leader. 'He stands accused of running one of the greatest companies in American history into the ground, even as its stock price remains remarkably resilient and the company continues to turn a healthy profit,' he writes. 'The mature verdict on Steve Ballmer is that he has made only one major strategic error: not combining his own brilliance for sales and detail with a visionary product leader who has the authority to create bold new revenue streams for the company.' Do you agree? Or does Ballmer deserve his reputation as a bad CEO?"
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Maybe Steve Ballmer Doesn't Deserve the Hate

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @05:55PM (#44265387)

    Or does Ballmer deserve his reputation as a bad CEO?

    He's a bald CEO, there's no denying it.

    Oh wait, you said bad CEO. My mistake.

  • by intermodal (534361) on Friday July 12, 2013 @05:56PM (#44265395) Homepage Journal

    I tend to judge leaders by those they choose to surround themselves with. Delegating is one of the most important tasks any leader or executive has, and choosing to whom you will be doing so is the most vital decision they can make.

    Therefore, I refuse to judge Ballmer as a leader, since I haven't really examined who he keeps company with. However, I still generally dislike Microsoft's products and strategies.

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:12PM (#44265525) Homepage Journal

      Look at his right-hand man, Kevin Turner. Human waste on legs.

      Look who he ran off, before anointing Turner: Kevin Johnston. Actually decent.

      Balmer also flushed good guys like Allchin and Maritz, or drove them away. While toadies live Valentine were perked.

      The best of the remaining lot hangs out a tier away from the stink. God bless Bill Laing. Actual good human being, and a pleasure to work with.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:26PM (#44265629)

        Look at his right-hand man, Kevin Turner. Human waste on legs.

        Look who he ran off, before anointing Turner: Kevin Johnston. Actually decent.

        Balmer also flushed good guys like Allchin and Maritz, or drove them away. While toadies live Valentine were perked.

        The best of the remaining lot hangs out a tier away from the stink. God bless Bill Laing. Actual good human being, and a pleasure to work with.

        For those of us who DON'T passionately follow the minutia of Microsoft's internal management and political issues and who generally tend to glaze over news about their VPs/middle managers as if they WEREN'T the most fascinating people with the most compelling stories to tell, what you did there was throw up a bunch of generic names that very, very few people could possibly recognize or care about. Would you please provide more detail as to who these people are, what they did, and why we should care, all while keeping in mind that the fact that we don't currently care about any of them means we're not at all compelled to waste our time justifying your personal corporate obsessions by Googling their names?

        • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:43PM (#44265751) Homepage Journal

          If you don't own a fair amount of MSFT stock or make million-dollar IT contract purchases? Why should you then care?

          If you do, then these names are at least passing familiarity.

          The whole article is a parlour game, even if you do own or buy significantly. Yes, Ballmer is shite. No, he's not going anywhere... Ever.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:44PM (#44266299)

            > If you don't own a fair amount of MSFT stock or make million-dollar IT contract purchases? Why should you then care?

            This is the upper leadership of Microsoft, whose products have an impact on your day to day life whether you use the products yourself or not.

            captcha: restrict

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by certain death (947081)
          I wish I had some mod points, I would give them ALL to you!
        • For those of us who DON'T passionately follow the minutia of Microsoft's internal management and political issues and who generally tend to glaze over news about their VPs/middle managers as if they WEREN'T the most fascinating people with the most compelling stories to tell, what you did there was throw up a bunch of generic names that very, very few people could possibly recognize or care about. Would you please provide more detail as to who these people are, what they did, and why we should care, all while keeping in mind that the fact that we don't currently care about any of them

          we're not at all compelled to waste our time justifying your personal corporate obsessions by Googling their names?

          I did Google Bill Laing, still no clue who they are.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gl4ss (559668)

      the only company he keeps for keeps is bill - or rather bill keeps him. that's why you haven't examined who he keeps company with, because he doesn't.

      "I love him! but don't mention my name on the article!" smells, you know. it smells of poo. if a guy needs a orientation session for every meeting, you can guess why he doesn't sleep much and has to work constantly despite not having a hand in the actual work... and if he really combs everything with a fine tooth then fuck him, fuck him for nsa, fuck him for d

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Threni (635302)

      > I tend to judge leaders by those they choose to surround themselves with

      Hmm. If the company tanks, no-one's going to remember those other people. Or the company, ultimately. In business, it's just profit that counts - keeping the company going, making products people want (or need). Currently, Microsoft don't seem to be doing very well, hence the falling PC sales, price cuts on Microsoft's overpriced tablets with poor battery life etc, shocking Windows 8 sales to which Microsoft reluctantly conceded

    • by hedwards (940851)

      The CEO sets the priorities and the big picture stuff for the corporations and leaves it up to the other executives to actually make it happen.

      When you have a company like MS that doesn't seem to have a particular vision, that reflects poorly on the CEO as it means that something is getting screwed up. Either he doesn't have one, isn't effectively communicating it or the marketing department isn't adequately communicating it to the world.

      But, considering that MS has largely failed to do much more than maint

      • by gtall (79522)

        GE has no single vision either, yet they do okay. MS's problem is that it defines itself by destroying competition, not competing with them. Hence its products are limp. MS doesn't care, they figure to screw their competition out of the marketplace and then their limp noodles will necessarily be bought. This strategy also makes it possible to attack a lot of markets simultaneously, because they never have to concentrate on a few and make good products for them.

        And it isn't Ballmer's fault, it is Bill's faul

    • by s.petry (762400)

      And what do you think of:

      An exec who trows chairs across a room and yells "I'm going to F^#*ing kill Google" when an employee puts in his notice?

      A good follow up is:

      What do you think of a summary that insinuates that is a "good" management tactic/effort?

      I respect your point, but can't agree that the only thing to judge a managers merit on is delegation. Delegation should be a majority of what a manager does, but crisis management and people skills are two other areas I tend to judge. Balmer has failed in

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @05:57PM (#44265399)

    Many of which are usually a record for the company, even if it's a company that hasn't used it's brilliant engineering talent to maximum effect. Oh wait, this is /. uh, Microsoft is Satan, all hail our savior lord FOSS.

    • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:00PM (#44265421)

      Slashdot, where Microsoft is Satan, Google is Evil, Apple is the Devil and open-source projects are pointless because thousands of programmers pulling in different directions.

      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:13PM (#44265529)

        and open-source projects are pointless because thousands of programmers pulling in different directions.

        Just like the universe is pointless because thousands of galaxy clusters pull in different directions...hey, wait a minute...

      • Slashdot, where Microsoft is Satan, Google is Evil, Apple is the Devil and open-source projects are pointless because thousands of programmers pulling in different directions.

        Damn when did Google become "Evil"? Never the less they are the lesser of the rest and still my search engine.

    • I'm sure those profits were a direct result of Ballmer himself appearing on TV ads and pitching Windows.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sforhbLiwLA [youtube.com]

      Or maybe not.

  • by waddgodd (34934) on Friday July 12, 2013 @05:59PM (#44265409) Homepage Journal

    I think we found out Steve Ballmer's /. account name

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antipater (2053064) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:01PM (#44265427)

    . 'The mature verdict on Steve Ballmer is that he has made only one major strategic error: not combining his own brilliance for sales and detail with a visionary product leader who has the authority to create bold new revenue streams for the company.'

    I don't know a thing about Ballmer - I don't follow corporate politics. But if you dig through all the marketing-speak there, didn't that just say "Ballmer's one major error as a CEO was not doing that thing that CEOs should be doing"?

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:09PM (#44265497)
      I see Ballmer as the captain of a large, very slowly sinking, rudderless ship.
      Someone needs to patch up the holes, find a pump, and build a rudder. I just don't see Ballmer doing any of those things.
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by webdog314 (960286) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:14PM (#44265535)

      And given that Microsoft has an 80%+ marketshare, a "largely stagnant stock price" could have been pretty much achieved by doing absolutely nothing, which, when you look at the company over the last decade, isn't far from the truth.

      So it begs the question: what in the world are they paying him for?

      • Re:What? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:52PM (#44266349)

        And given that Microsoft has an 80%+ marketshare, a "largely stagnant stock price" could have been pretty much achieved by doing absolutely nothing, which, when you look at the company over the last decade, isn't far from the truth.

        This! Too big to fail doesn't only apply to corporate bail-outs. It also means that massive companies can ride through one period after the other of colossally stupid mistakes. If you split Microsoft up into various division then take a look at where the money is coming from, the company is surviving on it's monopoly and cash cows Windows and Office, and neither of those can be attributed to Steve Ballmer.

        We can attribute to him everything else at Microsoft. Unfortunately all those things seem to be making a loss. Search, mobile, entertainment, all of these things are what Ballmer has been pushing for in the past few years while letting the Windows and Office divisions rot and all of them can at this point be considered a failure.

        Now the real question is, given Ballmer's fetish for trying to one-up Apple and screwing Windows in the process will the company continue to survive on it's old cash cow, or will he let that slip through his hands? Honestly I don't know what the board of directors is thinking supporting the drunk at the wheel.

      • Re:What? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jbolden (176878) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:32PM (#44266949) Homepage

        Building an enterprise products division: SQL Server becoming very high end, Dynamics, Lync, SharePoint becoming a central component in many enterprise applications. That's Balmer's contribution and it is worth tens of billions per year.

        • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Billly Gates (198444) on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:14PM (#44267161) Journal

          Building an enterprise products division: SQL Server becoming very high end, Dynamics, Lync, SharePoint becoming a central component in many enterprise applications. That's Balmer's contribution and it is worth tens of billions per year.

          What about IE, Windows 8, Bing, Zune, Windows Mobile.

          The fact of the matter is MS once owned 85% of the mobile market too with Windows CE. MS owned 90% of the market with IE. Windows was liked more and XP loyalists are still hear loving that OS and refusing to upgrade as it was perfection. Those my friend happened under Gates and were handed too Balmer.

          First Blackberry and now Google and Apple are all eating MS PDA and smartphone market. Mozilla and now Google took IEs dominance away. Bing never materialized and Apple too got rid of WindowsCE as MS planned to own 90% of the embeded and mobile market by now and iOS, Linux, and Android have taken that away.

          Those are all under Balmers watch. He deserves to go.

          Even if MS did make improvements for Windows 7 and Sharepoint it doesn't matter as there is no compelling reason to upgrade. Ms is competing with the ghost of itself as Windows 2003, IE 8, Exchange 2003, are here to stay for a very long time. That hurts and costs money.

          Windows 7 is great but took almost years to get there from XP as we know longhorn failed (vista is not Longhorn), same with IE 10 being too little as IE 6 was the last thing close to cutting edge and none of the users count as they were catch-up to Firefox.

          He failed. Apple and Google are the new kings now.

          • by jbolden (176878)

            The fact of the matter is MS once owned 85% of the mobile market too with Windows CE

            When? If you mean phones Symbian and JavaVM had huge share. If you mean before that, Palm.

            MS owned 90% of the market with IE. Windows was liked more and XP loyalists are still hear loving that OS and refusing to upgrade as it was perfection. Those my friend happened under Gates and were handed too Balmer.

            Absolutely. Balmer was handed a desktop monopoly. And for that matter an office suite monopoly. High marketshar

    • Kinda drifting of topic, but "Nerval's Lobster" is/related to Slashdot BizInt guys, so anytime you see that handle, and it's increasing, it's another effect of the Dice takeover.

  • On his watch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by istartedi (132515) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:06PM (#44265483) Journal

    It all happened on his watch. The buck has to stop somewhere--at the top. That's how it works. If some VP was causing problems, it was his responsibility to get rid of that VP. If it was a particularly bad market for tech, that's not his fault; but it wasn't a particularly bad market. Other companies innovated and grew. They didn't. The whole strategy became, "let's make lame Apple clones that will piss off people who prefer the traditional Windows way, and won't convert people who prefer the Apple way".

    I just don't see how the man at the top can escape responsibility for all that.

    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Sounds a lot like Mozilla's attempts to clone everything that Google does, except in a half-assed way. Kind of funny, really, because I hadn't actually thought to connect Steve Ballmer and Asa Dotzler like that before. When you think about it, though, they seem pretty similar. Neither Microsoft nor Mozilla seem terribly interested in actually doing anything until Apple/Google do it first.

  • There are always two sides to every argument, but this one is particularly damning:
    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2012/07/microsoft-downfall-emails-steve-ballmer

    (Kurt Eichenwald traces the “astonishingly foolish management decisions” at the company that “could serve as a business-school case study on the pitfalls of success.”)

  • Basically, a good leader/manager tries to find the best possible people for his organization to get things done. It is not necessarily his own job to do things himself, but rather to find the right people, promote, coach and help them to deliver the best possible results.

    So, if it's true that Ballmer didn't have a good product guy next to him, then it would be his fault as he is the President & CEO of the company, i.e. he is the ultimate decision-maker for hiring such a person.

    Either he didn't see the n

  • Every man makes mistakes, that's for sure. But we're talking CEO-level here, which means "best of the best". Any small mistake that would otherwise pass unnoticed or with minimal impact at lower levels would turn into a disaster if you're a CEO.

    Ballmer can be a good manager, even a good VP. But CEO is a different league.

    It's the difference between driving a car or a plane: if you flip the car lights switch instead of honking, it's no biggie, but if you drive a plane with 300 people and pull out the landing

  • Bad CEO? No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:10PM (#44265499) Homepage

    does Ballmer deserve his reputation as a bad CEO?

    Bad CEO? Throwing chairs, browbeating your employees, prioritizing squeezing your customer over making a quality product, bribing government officials all over the world to expand your regulatory monopolies while preaching laissez-faire extremism to excuse cheating on your taxes -- those things don't necessarily make you a bad CEO. By the quarterly profit measure, they make you a good one. Those things don't make you a bad CEO; they make you a bad person.

  • Biased, much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:10PM (#44265501) Journal
    I expect some MS fanboi will mod me down for this, but:

    We should begin in Silicon Valley, which resents Microsoftâ(TM)s chief executive at least in part because he has helped grow what the Internet industry has so rarely managed in all its decades of boom and bust: a stable, profitable company, built on a solid grasp of numbers and proven sales techniques, with wildly successful products that people actually pay for. Contrast that with social networking companies such as Twitter and Facebookâ"and of course Google, with its rapey contextual advertisingâ"all of which throw their users âoefreeâ toys but violate them with privacy-invading ad sales and user-data scandals. Microsoft can seem positively virtuous by comparison.

    This is pure Microsoft talking points.

    Given the most recent revelations about Microsoft, the author should be reconsidering that claim to Microsoft's virtue.

  • Monty Phython (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Starteck81 (917280) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:11PM (#44265513)
    We found a CEO, may we burn him?!?

    All kidding aside he is not a great or even good leader. If he was half as effective as Bill Gates MS would have have only lost half of the product wars that it has. He has perpetually missed the boat on emerging trends, and then tried to chase the boat down in a runabout with a 5HP outboard motor.
  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:11PM (#44265519) Homepage Journal

    I never understood why he was ridiculed for "developers developers" anyway. I don't remember the rest of the speech, but I doubt it was wrong. Platforms live and die based on how many apps they have.

    It's kind of like that Howard Dean "yeargggg!" thing, something that sounds ridiculous out of context and is promoted by spiteful enemies for that reason.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      I never understood why he was ridiculed for "developers developers" anyway. I don't remember the rest of the speech

      And you answered your own question -- you don't remember the rest of the speech.

      The message may have been a good one, but the way it was presented invited ridicule and was so memorable that the only thing people remember is the way the message was presented and not the message itself.

      One can infer from this that Ballmer either does not invite criticism or does not listen to criticism. A

      • by dbIII (701233)

        But then, perhaps rehersals are not part of Microsoft's culture. Remember the Surface RT presentation in which the device crashed?

        That brings to mind a 10MW emergency generator (jet engine) that was tested every month for thirty years without incident and maintained by people with aircraft engineer level paranoia, yet it would not start up the one time it was really needed. I don't think we can assume that there were no rehersals just because of a failed demo, even in the company that forgot time (Zune not

      • > Remember the Surface RT presentation in which the device crashed?

        No, but I remember Bill Gates showing off something DHTML or Active Desktop-related in some live conference & having it crash in front of 5 million viewers. I think it was the IE4 launch event in 1997.

    • by ed1park (100777)

      Did you watch the video? It looks ridiculous whether it's in or out of context. A fat sweaty bald man trying to pathetically stir up the audience with an uninspired chant as you hear his voice weakly give out. The sweat stains alone.... gag. Complete dork. He's like the anti Steve Jobs. They were both assholes, but at least Steve had charisma and vision, neither of which Ballmer is in possession of.

      Why is a sales/marketing guy in charge of a technology company?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qycUOENFI [youtube.com]

  • I don't really know much about Ballmer, or how he runs Microsoft. ... and I couldn't give a shit less; I don't work for MS or buy any of their products, so his policies, abilities, success/failure... doesn't really affect me.

    I do, however, very much enjoy the jokes and memes that have resulted from Ballmer's tenure as CEO, especially the chair throwing incident. That shit was hilarious, if only because it actually happened.

  • Specifically, that is. Microsoft's business strategy has been to crush upstarts with overwhelming force (even at a loss), then move on. My company had started working on Palm apps just as that tactic took effect. In the oughties, technology expanded so far that there were simply too many holes in the dike to plug. And, with mobile devices and broadband eating into the role of the desktop, MS doesn't have the money tree of Windows and Office giving them unlimited cash to throw around squashing mosquitoes.

  • > "Do you agree? Or does Ballmer deserve his reputation as a bad CEO?"

    I have no opinion (about Ballmer). My level of caring is zero (about Ballmer).

    I refuse to pay the "Micr$oft tax". I DO CARE about that.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac. c o m> on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:22PM (#44265595) Journal

    Speaking as one who has a large part of my net worth invested in Apple shares, I am grateful to Mr. Ballmer for the job he's done over the last 13 years. I'm even more grateful to Jim Alchin, for botching the Window Longhorn project in a manner that was damned close to optimal for Apple's interests.

    -jcr

  • by soft_guy (534437) * on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:25PM (#44265625)
    I think that Ballmer is a decent operations guy, but obviously not a tech visionary, nor does he have good taste and an iron fist the way Steve Jobs did. I think that Microsoft was in a very strong position when he took over and that it just isn't that hard to keep Microsoft on its current glide path given a halfway decent operations guy in charge. John Sculley, who is widely viewed to have run Apple into the ground, could almost certainly done just as good of a job running Microsoft as Steve Ballmer. I realize this is speculation, but I think its true.
  • I *hear* that MS has a culture of fear, where lower levels are basically expected to kowtow to the management line. A company without dissent and an environment where employees can air and discuss their opinions is VERY bad since decision making then lays in the hands of the select few, and when mistakes are being made, people are prevented from even pointing out those mistakes.

    So far we've seen the disasters of Surface pro, Windows 8 metro, XBone, and I'm sure there are others I'm missing. That a company

  • ...but he seems to have a blind spot or two. The mistakes Microsoft has made this century appear to have two threads in common -- the overriding conviction that We Are Microsoft, You Will Buy Whatever We Release, and its corollary, We Know What You Need And What You Don't Need. (ME, Vista, any number of Windows tablet efforts, Win8, any version of Windows Phone.) They've gone too long being to all intents and purposes the only game in town, and it's affected their basic strategies. They're a corporate-

  • by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:31PM (#44265647)

    'He stands accused of running one of the greatest companies in American history into the ground, even as its stock price remains remarkably resilient and the company continues to turn a healthy profit,' he writes.

    Maintaining a steady stock price isn't what makes the Wall Street Casino happy.

    Microsoft is down from its high in 2000 [yahoo.com] while competitors like Apple [yahoo.com] and Google [yahoo.com] are now worth significantly more than they were. Considering Microsoft's once-dominant position, it shouldn't be flat.

    Microsoft has done better than HP [yahoo.com] and Yahoo [yahoo.com], but considering even stodgy old IBM has seen its stock price rise [yahoo.com] you have to wonder if Ballmer knows how to set a new course, adjusting to changes in tech, or just keep the ship afloat, buoyed by Windows and Office.

    Microsoft had Windows for Pen Computing, Windows XP Tablet Edition, and later Courier, but lost the tablet market to Apple and Google. They had Windows CE and Windows Mobile well before iOS and Android, but never really made inroads in the smartphone market. Leveraging their default IE homepage, they couldn't get MSN / Live.com / Bing to overtake Google. Even in successful things, like HoTMaiL or IE, they simply stopped innovating until competitors appeared, and in the process those competitors took away chunks of Microsoft's market share. That they continue to exist off the profits from Windows and Office isn't the same as thriving, and that's why Ballmer gets the criticism he deserves.

    • > but never really made inroads in the smartphone market.

      Actually, circa 2005-2007, they basically *owned* the smartphone market. At least, in the US. I'm talking about the period when PalmOS stumbled badly (PalmOS 5 had the same problems with interactive networked apps as MacOS 9... it couldn't walk & chew gum at the same time, and PalmOS 6's Eclipse-based development chain sucked SO BADLY compared to Codewarrior, nobody *cared* whether it was free), Blackberry was mostly a closed platform with shit

  • by BLToday (1777712) on Friday July 12, 2013 @06:35PM (#44265673)

    So many times in the last 15 years, you could tell that Microsoft was really really close to getting it right. Just a few more revisions and they would have done it.

    * Smartphones: really an outgrowth of PDAs. WinCE (version 3 and later) bested Palm OS. Palm was crushed and what did Microsoft do? Sit there for 5 years with minimal investment in WinCE. WinMo 2003 was barely an upgrade to the previous version. I had the Jornado, HP iPaq, and the HP hw6515 (I think) smartphone. It even had GPS well before the iPhone.

    * Tablets: Bill Gates was right, we all will have a tablet in the future. It's just not running Windows. I bought the HP TX tablet/convertible. And you can tell that even with Vista, it was potentially a great device. Handwriting recognition, touch support, pressure sensitivity and decent weight. But terrible bloat in the initial Vista release made the tablet boot up in about 2 minutes on a good day and put out heat like a nuclear reactor.

    * GPS/media players: Remember all those Magellan and Garmin GPS units, and portable media players from China? They were likely running WinCE.

    * Email: Hotmail was there early on and they sat there while Google took over. I remember the 4MB account limit.

    • You can add Internet Explorer to that, and thank goodness. If Microsoft had been more active in improving their browser, instead of sitting back and ignoring it once they won, they could own the internet right now. I'm still not sure what happened to them on that one.
  • Microsoft has great technology (as a developer, I think dotNet is the best), but their behaviour has been odius, e.g. always trying to hold back the web and scare users from the cloud in a failed attempt to safe-guard their client side bastion. And stuff like the Xbox One fiasco just re-inforces that.

    And I rather doubt that Balmer is responsible for how good dotNet is.

  • MS has been on the way down for a long, long time.

    If you think Balmer's job is to take it to new heights, I personally think you're stupid. He's not the man for that kind of job, and everyone knows it.

    His job is to keep the ship afloat as long as possible, to make the inevitable decline as slow and smooth as possible. And yes, he has been doing quite well on that task. Time and time again we on /., nerds in general and sometimes even the tech press have predicted MS imminent demise, but Balmer has managed t

  • The mature verdict on Steve Ballmer is that he has made only one major strategic error: not combining his own brilliance for sales and detail with a visionary product leader who has the authority to create bold new revenue streams for the company.

    It was my impression Ballmer's contribution was the bulk licensing trap that leveraged their monopoly. If that is the case, and with rules preventing manipulating the market using your monopoly, Ballmer's only strategy has been eliminated.

  • Is the author looking to drive traffic to their video? I followed the link but only 31K people have viewed it (as of 4:20pm, PST, July 12, 2013). That can't be right - did the author put that in their just to drive traffic to their version of the video?
  • He's the guy in charge; the problems at Microsoft are well known and documented, hell I'm pretty sure there's even BOOKS on the topic.

    I don't know what the hell is going on at Microsoft but I sure hope it's all sorted before Windows 7 gets EOLed.

    2021 - year of the linux desktop?

  • My relative who works for Microsoft and she and her husband use the company gym. They say they routinely run into Steve Ballmer working out. No fuss, no special privileges or anything. Quite polite apparently. So under all those layers of caricatures and perceptions there could be a nice guy hidden somewhere.

    But if he a great salesman but has not made any great products, but still continues to make great sales, what does it make him? A con man? The Great Snake Oil salesman?

    They also say nice things abou

  • The only reason they've got any customers left is because of their monopolies. Their only customers are companies that don't know how to migrate away.
    - Their latest OS: Just a remake of the same-old, many people don't see the need to move from what they have (XP/7). They only sold a bunch of licenses because you can't buy 7/XP but you can use the license to downgrade.
    - Their latest Office: It moved to the *cloud* and thus everybody just stays on what they have currently. If they want to make the expense to

  • If he didn't try it, but relied on underlings telling him that it was good, then shame on him.

    If he tried it, realized how bad it was, but let it go out anyway because usability was less important than some other agenda--forcing developers into writing apps that would work on Windows Phone 8, maybe--then shame on him.

    If he tried it and he thought it was good, then shame on him.

  • among many, but one right up front with a bullet:

    Windows 8

    Nuff said - stick a fork in it.

  • Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! the remix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRm0NDo1CiY [youtube.com]
  • All he's managed to do is nothing. He's kept the company pointed in the same direction doing the same thing for far too long. Eventually it will fall down around him.
  • The problem is that all the VPs are in a good damn penis fight over who will be the next Balmer instead of doing their god damn jobs.

  • Being CEO of the dominant provider of technology performance is measured along many lines.

    • Did you make more money? At this Steve Ballmer has done well. This is the biggest thing.
    • Did you remove competitors from the field? At this Steve Ballmer has done well.
    • Did you get ahead of changes in the marketplace? At this he has done less well.

    The rod to measure his success by isn't any of these things though.

    An exceptional position implies exceptional expectations of an exceptional person. For over a deca

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg

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