BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl, in an open letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, says that Microsoft’s unsolicited offer for Yahoo! is “a profoundly bad idea” and that Ballmer has no focus:
So who has focus? That other Steve. You know, the turtle-necked guy in California who keeps annoying you by selling iPods and computers that typically don’t run on Windows. You could learn a lot from him. Focus saved his company from oblivion. Apple (AAPL) does what it’s good at, and it expands into new areas carefully. (Examples: iPod, iTunes music store, Apple retail store, iPhone.) Consider this: With sales data showing that Mac computers are growing more popular than ever among consumers, you might think it’s a perfect time for Apple to ride that momentum and go after corporate computing. But it won’t. Why? Apple knows it wouldn’t work because you have the corporate market all tied up with your pals Dell (DELL) and HP.
And why is the Mac growing more popular among consumers? Well, let’s be honest. Windows Vista isn’t exactly winning you many friends despite all the extra time you took to “perfect” it. (How many deadlines did you miss again?) At the same time, Apple’s cleaning your clock in the smartphone business—the iPhone is now the second most popular smartphone in the U.S., behind the BlackBerry (RIMM). I haven’t heard anyone talk enthusiastically about Windows Mobile, since…well, since there’s been a Windows Mobile.
You know what would be a bold move, Steve? Admitting that Microsoft doesn’t belong in the music player business, or the search business, or the advertising business, or the automotive entertainment business. The Zune? It’s a joke. Kill it before you embarrass yourself further. And are the combined forces of Yahoo and Microsoft really going to make a dent in the Google search advertising juggernaut? That’s like asking two fifth-graders to play Kobe Bryant in a game of two-on-one. The results will speak for themselves.
Much more in the full article – highly recommended – here.
Ballmer is a clown. He is nothing more than an example of what you get when you appoint a CEO based upon a fortuitous dorm assignment instead of upon actual ability and talent. May Ballmer remain Microsoft CEO for as long as it takes.