Microsoft CEO Ballmer talks infected feet, profuse sweating, and Windows Vista

Ballmer: That didn’t go over so well.
Flunky: The reaction seemed about 50-50.
Ballmer: At best.

“That was elevator chitchat overheard by a Business 2.0 reporter and relayed on a blog by the magazine’s Owen Thomas. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had just emerged from a meeting with analysts in Manhattan last Thursday,” Kevin Kelleher reports for TheStreet.com.

“Yes, that meeting — the one at which he uttered those magical, market-cap-killing words about the company’s new Vista operating system: ‘Perhaps people are somewhat too bullish,'” Kelleher reports.

Kelleher reports, “There has been a lot of back-and-forth in the days since Microsoft’s CEO said Vista sales could come in below analyst forecasts… A careful reading of the transcript of the analyst briefing provides more insight. For one thing, Microsoft recently started recognizing more revenue up front rather than spread out over time, which creates what Ballmer called a ‘blue bell’ in year-over-year comparisons.”

“When Ballmer talked about Vista sales forecasts, he was ignoring that one-time bump in revenue,” Kelleher reports. “But it’s not clear that the analyst forecasts that he believed were overly optimistic were also factoring out his blue bell. When Merrill Lynch analyst Kash Rangan confronted him with that possibility, Ballmer’s tone grew uncertain, stuttering, as if he realized he may have blundered big time.”

Steve Ballmer: What I basically tried to say in the very highest level was that you shouldn’t think of a huge surge in fiscal year ’08 versus fiscal year ’07, huge relative — I mean, in some senses whatever you think the growth is of PCs in developed markets, in developed markets — because I talked about emerging markets — we should do somewhat better than that. We shouldn’t do that much better, we should do that much better, whatever it means. This is before the accounting one-time blah, blah, blah.

Rangan: That was very good.

Kelleher reports, “I found Ballmer’s diffident tone more discouraging than any single comment of his. Gone is the Ballmer who skipped mightily across the stage, who pumped his fists and shouted ‘Come on!’ … who exhorted the crowd to ‘Give it up for me!’ Instead, he starts off the analyst briefing with jokes about infected feet, infected stocks and profuse sweating.”

More in the full article here.
Like Microsoft’s office chair supplier, we hope against hope that his reign as head buffoon lasts forever, but, seriously, how much time do you think Ballmer has left at Microsoft?

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31 Comments

  1. Like Microsoft’s office chair supplier, we hope against hope that his reign as head buffoon lasts forever, but, seriously, how much time do you think Ballmer has left at Microsoft?

    One year after Gates leaves. No more, no less.

    I think major stockholders have put it to Gates and Ballmer rather forcefully, “We need new leadership, thank you for your time”.

  2. “Instead, he starts off the analyst briefing with jokes about infected feet, infected stocks and profuse sweating.”

    At least he’s consistent about the profuse sweating (although I think we would all be happy if he gave that up).

  3. This was on the original quote site in the commnets. Sad hey? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    “I have owned MSFT stock for the last 7 years and lost a boat load of money on it but I am proud to be a stock holder of a highly ethical top professionally managed firm.” Posted by: Sri Thirumala | February 15, 2007 at 06:35 PM

  4. When is Ballmer going to do something about his TONGUE problem? That flesh flag has been waving WAY too often for me. It shows up at the oddest moments too… perhaps he’s taking tongue viagra and can’t help himself.

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