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Microsoft Businesses

Ballmer To Retire 633

Posted by Soulskill
from the flying-chair-alert-level-green dept.
Today Microsoft announced that CEO Steve Ballmer will be retiring within the next 12 months. He said, "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. ... 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. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction." Ballmer, 57, has been Microsoft's CEO since taking over the role from Bill Gates in January, 2000. The company's board of directors has formed a committee to find a replacement for Ballmer, and he will continue his duties until a new CEO is found. Questions about Ballmer's fitness to remain CEO have been circulating for the past several years, particularly after the company struggled to get a foothold in the mobile market. It will be interesting to see how this affects Microsoft's stock price. Upon retirement, Ballmer will be able to cash out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Microsoft stock.
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Ballmer To Retire

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  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:31AM (#44653557) Homepage Journal

    He can't even retire properly, should have done so years ago.

    Chairs just won't fly around the same without him

    • by Stuarticus (1205322) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:32AM (#44653571)
      I hear that Dell are organising a 21 chair salute.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's the first non-lame chair joke I heard in a long time.

        • It's interesting seeing the Slashdot comments because they are actually less negative than those of the press.

          From a May 12, 2013 article in Forbes: Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, "Should Have Already Been Fired." Quote from the article: [forbes.com] "Without a doubt, Mr. Ballmer is the worst CEO of a large publicly traded American company today."

          More about Steve Ballmer from that article: "The reach of his bad leadership has extended far beyond Microsoft when it comes to destroying shareholder value -- and jobs."

          Scroll down in this article [modgadgets.com] to see Businessweek's January 16, 2013 cover that called Steve Ballmer "Monkey Boy". The cover says "No More", but that doesn't take away from the fact that the magazine called him Monkey Boy -- on its cover. That's the greatest disrespect for a CEO I've ever seen.
      • by polyp2000 (444682) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:59AM (#44655027) Homepage Journal
        I was thinking that in response to the Steve Jobs crowdfunding initiative to build a sculpture [indiegogo.com] - perhaps we could celebrate this by crowdfunding a giant statue of Ballmer flinging a chair!
        • by KernelMuncher (989766) on Friday August 23, 2013 @10:11AM (#44655209)
          Better yet a giant statue of Ballmer with chairs all around it that people can pick up and fling at it
    • Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GameboyRMH (1153867) <`gameboyrmh' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:06AM (#44654131) Journal

      This is bad news, having Ballmer in charge of MS is a good thing as he was slowly mismanaging the company into the ground. A successor could be more competent.

      • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ackthpt (218170) on Friday August 23, 2013 @10:00AM (#44655047) Homepage Journal

        This is bad news, having Ballmer in charge of MS is a good thing as he was slowly mismanaging the company into the ground. A successor could be more competent.

        Listening to financial and investment analysts this morning, not one has a kind word for Steve. He has missed every big thing while pushing Zune, Windows Vista and then Windows 8, the XBox (games are working well for Atari, right?) Metro (which may be very cool to 10% of users) the RT tablet fiasco, honestly, why does this man actually receive bonuses? He's had the company coasting along on markets it was strong in, without creating new markets. Hardly visionary.

        • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Funny)

          by tehlinux (896034) on Friday August 23, 2013 @11:42AM (#44656521)

          Dude, the zune was awesome and I'd say the same thing about my surfce rt.

        • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jbolden (176878) on Friday August 23, 2013 @11:54AM (#44656669) Homepage

          He transitioned Microsoft from being a desktop company to selling a range of server solutions which are quite profitable. He pushed Microsoft up market. He didn't do much in consumer he did a ton in enterprise and the growth in sales shows that.

        • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Alef (605149) on Friday August 23, 2013 @12:12PM (#44656907)
          With the risk of sounding a bit flamy, but haven't Microsoft always usually been second to market? I would say the problem in recent years has been that the other players have been a too strong (Google, Apple, Sony, Samsung) and the new markets a bit too tangential (phones, music players, tablets, game consoles) for Microsoft to be able to wield their desktop/office space monopoly effectively. So their normal strategy -- wait until someone does something good, copy it, strong-arm your way into that market segment and push them out -- doesn't work so well any more.
      • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ackthpt (218170) on Friday August 23, 2013 @10:15AM (#44655281) Homepage Journal

        This is bad news, having Ballmer in charge of MS is a good thing as he was slowly mismanaging the company into the ground. A successor could be more competent.

        Bad news for competitors ... if Microsoft pick a replacement with the vision and ruthlessness of an older, wiser Steve Jobs. Even half a Jobs would turn Microsoft around from the stagnating business it has become.

        Easy shoes to fill, because even Goofy could have done as well.

      • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 23, 2013 @10:16AM (#44655299)

        Why do you want Microsoft to fail? They are no longer a monopoly. Competition is good.

      • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

        by phantomfive (622387) on Friday August 23, 2013 @10:38AM (#44655637) Journal
        The funny thing is, the market agrees with you. Thus, based on the jump in Micro$oft stock price, and looking at the amount of stock Ballmer owns, he made nearly a billion dollars by quitting.
    • by NeoTron (6020) <kevin.scarygliders@net> on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:09AM (#44654187) Homepage
      The next guy will throw developers at chairs.
    • by OakDragon (885217) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:50AM (#44654901) Journal
      He needs 12 months because his retirement is behind schedule. And of course, just days after his retirement, he will have to download all the new retirement patches and Retirement Service Pack 2.0.
    • by Nyder (754090) on Friday August 23, 2013 @10:22AM (#44655403) Journal

      He can't even retire properly, should have done so years ago.

      Chairs just won't fly around the same without him

      Hope they tell him not to let the chair hit him on the way out.

    • by Blue Stone (582566) on Friday August 23, 2013 @02:03PM (#44658143) Homepage Journal

      From throwing chairs to rocking them.

  • by neurovish (315867) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:32AM (#44653565)

    ...in response, Microsoft's stock jumps up 10%

    • by halfEvilTech (1171369) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:32AM (#44653573)

      Actually opened $2.78 up or about 8.7% so yea basically

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:07AM (#44654155)

      That and NASDAQ was down yesterday due to a computer glitch. Chances are investors are doing double time to get back.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:22AM (#44654419)
      But it looks like chair manufacturers' stocks have dropped 20%
  • by nlinecomputers (602059) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:32AM (#44653569)

    I'm so happy I could throw a chair!

  • by GrBear (63712) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:34AM (#44653605)

    This may be the best thing that's happened to Microsoft in a long time. Perhaps they will get their clarity back again. I can't help but wonder if there's a deeper story here though, like his abysmal performance causing a backlash to force him out 'gracefully'.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:35AM (#44653623)

    "Microsoft says CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within 12 months. No successor named. Stock surges."

    Captcha: finally

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:37AM (#44653665)

    There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.

    I love how he can state something as truth at the beginning of a sentence and then make a fool of himself by the end of it.

  • by quarterbuck (1268694) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:38AM (#44653675)
    The investors are so happy Ballmer is leaving that the stock is up 10%. Last time this happened was when Carly was fired from HP and the stock rose.
    It is funny that the value of MSFT with Ballmer in it is $20 Billion less than MSFT without Ballmer in it!
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:06AM (#44654125) Homepage

      It is funny that the value of MSFT with Ballmer in it is $20 Billion less than MSFT without Ballmer in it!

      Today, on the initial news, based on speculative market players making trades ... by next week the price of Microsoft will be fluctuating on some other random basis.

      I've always found the stock market to be amusing -- because it makes huge swings on things which haven't happened yet, and by the time those things happen they've moved on to being excited/angry about something else entirely.

      It's almost as if the stock market is more valuable at predicting the emotions of investors, than any actual financial factors. And in many cases, the actual financials don't seem important -- like when companies are worth more than they're going to earn for the next 20 years.

  • What Microsoft needs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:39AM (#44653693) Homepage

    Is to just hire Sinofsky back and give him carte blanche to fire anyone and everyone who supported Ballmer as a job perk. With the chance to fire the woman who forced Metro on him as a job perk, they could probably get him more reasonable on the compensation package.

  • by 1s44c (552956) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:47AM (#44653809)

    I only hope he is replaced with someone as ineffective as he was. The last thing the world needs is an evil monopolist running Microsoft who actually knows what he is doing.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:00AM (#44654041)

      I think the better outcome would be if he were replaced by someone who turns Microsoft into a non-evil success company. I prefer a successful good to a failing evil.

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        I think the better outcome would be if he were replaced by someone who turns Microsoft into a non-evil success company. I prefer a successful good to a failing evil.

        Can I have a chocolate unicorn with a saddle bad full of 20 Zetabyte SSDs? I mean we are wishing for miracles here.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:50AM (#44653865) Homepage

    Based on his overall personality, I strongly suspect that if Steve Ballmer hadn't just happened to be college buddies with BillG and Paul Allen, chances are pretty good he'd be selling used cars somewhere and enjoying the nearest football team. Instead, we're going to take him seriously for the rest of his natural life and possible beyond.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:51AM (#44653887) Homepage Journal
    If they dig Steve Jobs up and put him in charge now, he'd do a better job than Ballmer ever did!
    • by slashmydots (2189826) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:57AM (#44653979)
      He was a borderline mental patient who did everything he could to try and ruin Apple but his staff and board and engineers reined him back into reality so they could release sort of good products. I wouldn't put Steve Jobs in charge of walking my dog because somehow he'd find a way to overheat it and embed a non-removeable battery in it.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:51AM (#44653891) Homepage Journal

    There was a perfect time for the transition:

    • Before Windows 8 was approved
    • Before Windows RT was approved
    • Before Windows Phone and Nokia was approved
    • Before Office 365 online was approved

    Avoiding those disastrous products would have made Microsoft billions, and those decisions were made by you, Ballmer.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:01AM (#44654049) Homepage Journal
    I mean, his successor is the one that will get one, whoever he is just for not being Ballmer.
  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:01AM (#44654053)

    I think this "retirement" (which probably wasn't as voluntary as Ballmer and MS are pretending) spells doom for Metro, at least on the desktop. Virtually no one outside of MS actually likes it. The only reason why they haven't backed down on Metro on the desktop before now is that it is Ballmer's baby and he doesn't want to admit he screwed up. The next CEO will likely not have any such attachment, and will probably be much more willing to ditch Metro in response to market demands – or at least allow it to be an option that can be turned off completely, for a Win7-style experience.

    Microsoft's foray into portable devices has been an abject failure. The smartest thing to do would be to focus on the business licenses that actually bring in the big bucks. That means stability, familiarity, and backwards compatibility – not flashy touch BS meant to appeal to non-technical home users.

    • Microsoft's foray into portable devices has been an abject failure.

      True, but this is a problem with Microsoft in general, not just Ballmer. WinCE was released in Nov 1996, over 10 years before the iPhone. With a 10 year lead, WinCE was nothing ever than an also-ran, not even being able to beat PalmOS.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:05AM (#44654107)
    The damage Mr. Ballmer has done to Microsoft in the past eight years is strategic and structural. His successor will have an enormous uphill battle to turn the company around.
  • by JestersGrind (2549938) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:09AM (#44654195)

    How long until the Balmer movie is released?

  • by NormHome (99305) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:09AM (#44654211)

    Looks like the Captain of the Titanic is fleeing the sinking ship, after he turned the ship right into that iceberg.

  • Hazaa! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@@@comcast...net> on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:19AM (#44654365)

    This will be the best thing to happen to Microsoft in many years. Ballmer alienated customers, the public, the press, their employees, the enterprise and those who made their career out of Microsoft's products. 8.1's start button instead of start menu was the nail in the coffin for many, many people from a sheer contempt standpoint. Getting rid of technet and a hundred other things that showed their customers were viewed with contempt as the the enemy can all be cited as examples of why he had to go.

  • by Marrow (195242) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:59AM (#44655035)

    I mean, they would like to mirror Apples success. There is a certain part of me that wonders if Bill gates might be planning to come back in a the style of Steve Jobs. It would be very very tacky, but taste is not the MS strong suit.

  • by apcullen (2504324) on Friday August 23, 2013 @10:08AM (#44655151)
    Lots of Balmer-bashing here. (not surprising)

    I forget exactly where Microsoft was when Balmer took over. Did they even have windows phone out? Was it still in the XP days or had Vista come out? Given the state of things, what should he have done differently?

    A better question: where should Microsoft go now? They have a shrinking desktop market. Nobody seems to be buying either their phones or their tablets. They bought Skype, making them more or less the dominant player in VOIP services. The Xbox One pre-launch has been a mess. But Xbox is hugely popular, and people happily fork over $50 a year to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold. Where would you take Microsoft from here?
  • Correction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday August 23, 2013 @10:17AM (#44655313)

    Questions about Ballmer's fitness to remain CEO have been circulating for the past several years, particularly after the company struggled to keep a foothold in the mobile market.

    LMFTFY. MS had Windows Mobile and Windows Tablets before the iPhone and iPad. They were uninspired and sometimes buggy translations of the Windows paradigm. MS had only lately realized that these devices need a different experience than Windows. However Ballmer still considers an iPad as a crippled PC. Well that crippled PC outsells PCs in some quarters making Apple the #1 PC seller. A key difference is that Apple is making tons of profit on it unlike the OEMs which make tiny margins on their PCs.

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