[FoRK] Ballmer turns to geeks to save his own butt

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Feb 9 08:46:35 PST 2011

How does a company get to this point? Really?

February 8, 2011, 10:48 AM —

Under pressure from increasingly impatient board members and investors -- and probably still smarting because he left bonus money on 
the table last year -- Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is prepared to let geeks run the product show, Bloomberg reports.

Ballmer "plans to extend a management shake-up aimed at adding senior product executives with an engineering background," 
Bloomberg's Dina Bass writes, citing as her sources "two people with knowledge of the decision."
It appears to be slowly dawning on Ballmer that a tech company might be well-served by having people with, you know, tech expertise 
making decisions about, what do you call them, tech products! And that's why he's bringing down the big bucks.

Not that there isn't a place at Microsoft for a sales guy with a penchant for clownish, over-the-top public behavior. Or 
incandescent fits of rage. The question is whether that place is the corner office, and Ballmer assuredly knows that unless he can 
make Microsoft competitive with Google and Apple in the mobile computing and web services markets -- not to mention increase 
shareholder value by reigniting the company's moribund stock -- he could end up being one of the wealthiest, temporarily unemployed 
guys in the world. And who would wish that fate on anyone?

Don't think it can't happen, either. A September regulatory filing revealed that Microsoft's board of directors is openly 
questioning his leadership because the company effectively dropped out of the mobile phone market when its Kin handheld device 
bombed. How bad was the Kin? Even this target market thought it was too primitive.


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