Steve Ballmer’s Retirement – What We Know & Opinions
Last Friday, Microsoft announced the retirement of Steve Ballmer. He’ll continue to serve as CEO until a replacement is found with a timeline of 12 months. This happens just a month after a major reorganization initiated by Ballmer. It’s been pointed out that this departure sudden and against Ballmer’s wishes.
That’s not a surprise. Ballmer has been the CEO for over a decade, and he successfully pushed out any potential competitors for the position. The board needed to make it immediately obvious that Ballmer’s power is being cut, so that they can set the next thing in motion.
There are a few apologists, but many agree this was a long-time coming. As noted by AllThingsD, Ballmer made almost $800 million because of the jump in the stock price when the retirement was announced. Asymco notes the innovator’s curse.
Ballmer was a ballsy sales person that never quite understood innovation. I really can’t picture him making much use of the products Microsoft designed. It’s been mentioned before, that Microsoft’s fixation on the Windows brand cut its ability to innovate.
Basically, Ballmer needed to be paired with a technology person in an equal or near-equal partnership. Gates was the reason Microsoft succeeded, and when he left, there was no equivalent replacement.
That’s unlike Apple. With the death of Steve Jobs, Apple has Ivy. Microsoft never did find a Gates, or someone near Bill Gates’ capabilities.