BusinessWeek’s Hesseldahl rips Microsoft’s Ballmer in open letter

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.

77 Comments

  1. aaaand . . . .
    The way Yahoo’s services have been, in my personal expereince, let’s just say they are not exactly top notch. M$ + yahoo sounds like the marriage of two struggling organizations.

  2. I definitely agree on cancelling the Zune. It is seriously painful to watch.

    Not even funny any more. Or at least rebrand it. The zune brand DOA.

    Steve J gave them the damn name to use a couple years ago. XPlayer or something that leverages the XBox brand. this is a disgrace.

    They do need something like the Yahoo brand though. “Live” is dead. “MSN” is dead. Actually they should just do what IBM did and fade to the enerprise background and keep making their money in an irrelevant way.

  3. “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? ….”

    Because Jobs is building a sound foundation before he makes that jump. The more iPods, iPhones and Macs that get into consumer’s hands, the more chance jumping to corporate will work. It is a matter of timing and you can bet your sweet bippy that SJ is keeping his keen eye out for the right moment.

  4. How about a show of hands.

    Who here thinks Billy was Balmer’s bum boy in college?

    Put up your hands.

    I thought so.

    I didn’t think it was just me who thought that way. How else would an incompetent salesman get to be the CEO of one of the world’s largest corporations?

  5. Well here’s some open Feedback for Arik Hesseldahl:

    You’re jealous. Green with envy. You’re probably saddled with Cupertino’s expensive, proprietary toys which are second rate copies of Microsoft’s innovations.

    Now you’re terrified of the awesome power of the world’s greatest technology company combining forces with Yahoo. This would clearly be a synergistic paradigm shift which will empower respective employees, champion innovative developments and alter competitive dynamics which in turn will change the landscape of the internet forever. For you MAC dorks that means Apple and Google are crapping in their pants. If you used a REAL computer in the REAL WORLD you’d know what I’m talking about.

    Your potential. Our passion.™

  6. The Wisdom of Sweat Stain Steve:

    “We don’t have a monopoly. We have market share. There’s a difference.”

    “We will make our products work out of the box.”

    “I have never, honestly, thrown a chair in my life.”

    – Steven Anthony Ballmer

  7. 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

    That is so true. Imagine if they really focused their brainpower and cashola on doing great things with Windows… It would be frightening. Right now everyone thinks MS is a joke, and many of the 90% who are chained to them wish they weren’t.

    MS better get some vision, and fast, or they will be toast. I’ll also add that it’s hard to imagine Ballmer still being there in three years.

  8. ” . . . it’s hard to imagine Ballmer still being there in three years.”

    Eventually, someone’s going to catch him digging up corpses for new body parts. Then he’ll end up where he should be – licking the heads off chickens at the circus freak show and a human salt lick for the wild animals.

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