Steve Ballmer has been an unusual choice for a CEO, especially a company as large as Microsoft. While Steve Jobs was known for his ‘zen-like’ presentations, the Ballmer approach has always been much more ‘in your face’. His famous screaming and dancing presentation earned him the nickname of ‘Monkey Boy’. He has always been the butt of the joke.
Ballmer has been facing severe pressure in the last couple of years as Microsoft are falling behind competitors in the fast growing market for smartphones and tablet computers.
Ballmer is the companies 30th employee and he met Bill Gates while both were studying at Harvard University in the 1970s. He joined Microsoft in 1980 and took control of the business in 2000 when Bill Gates stepped back to become chairman and work on his charitable foundation.
Sadly for the company his incredible enthusiasm and energy often landed him in the press, for all the wrong reasons. He even damaged his vocal cords shouting ‘Windows! Windows!’ at a sales meeting in Japan. He ended up in hospital. His energy has not been translated into sales either, as the company struggle to compete against Google and Apple.
News of his retirement sent the Microsoft shares soaring, by around 8 percent at one point this morning. Clearly the markets are welcoming the thought of a new leader for the software giant. Bill Gates will help to choose a new leader for Microsoft
People may laugh at Ballmer, but we feel he has the last laugh – after all his personal net worth is said to be $15 billion. He said “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organisation and we have an amazing senior leadership team. 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.”
He has been in charge of the Windows 8 operating system launch and the new line of tablets. Neither has met with the success the company had wanted. Last month they posted quarterly results well below their expectations.
Kitguru says: Who will get the new CEO job at Microsoft? Debate is already raging.