8.5 billion reasons to fire Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

“If you’re a Microsoft shareholder, you shouldn’t be wondering whether CEO Steve Ballmer overpaid for Skype,” Evan Newmark writes for The Wall Street Journal. “That’s a waste of time. Of course, he overpaid.”

“Here’s a much better question: why is this man still CEO?” Newmark wonders. “That’s just how bad this deal is.”

“It’s one thing for a CEO to convince himself that a deal is ‘strategic’ – even if he’s buying a money-loser with no proprietary technology and no viable business model. But it’s another for him to bid against himself and end up forking over $8.5 billion in cold cash to buy said money-loser – three times what it fetched a year and a half ago,” Newmark writes. “That’s unforgivable.”

Ballmer projectileNewmark writes, “Why the Microsoft board is happily going along with this folly is a mystery to me. Then again, this is the same board that blessed Ballmer’s profligate $48 billion bid for Yahoo. Such is the fate of a company with too much money, too few good ideas and a share price that can’t break $30.”

“With Skype, Ballmer isn’t just guilty of poor timing or overpaying. It’s worse. He’s guilty of putting Microsoft into a position where it is compelled to buy companies like Yahoo and Skype that nobody else really wants,” Newmark writes. “Microsoft’s board would be doing its long-suffering shareholders a favor by making this dumb deal Ballmer’s last.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s hoping that Microsoft’s board and shareholders remain in their collective stupor and continue to leave Ballmer “in charge” for as long as it takes.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Ballmer: Microsoft won’t drop Skype support for Mac, iOS – May 10, 2011
Microsoft’s Ballmer reportedly tricked into overbidding for Skype by $4.5 billion – May 10, 2011
Skype releases patch for zero-day vulnerability in Skype 5 for Mac – May 10, 2011
Microsoft + Skype = $8.5 billion thrown into a bonfire – May 10, 2011
Microsoft buys Skype for $8.5 billion; company’s largest-ever acquisition – May 10, 2011


  1. Long live Ballmer!!! I remember when I first saw that quote I was a believer but needed proof! A year later, this stooge has proven himself to be clueless more times than I can count! Hopefully, he’ll be in charge for a few more years to see Apple fully gut them & the rest of these copy-cat companies!

    1. I’ve said this before – by 2020, Microsoft will be like IBM is today. Still around, still big, but not what they used to be. IBM is still important in corporate back office stuff. So will Microsoft. MS will not be in much user facing software. However, I believe they will remain as “The Office software company”.

  2. Let’s hope that down the road Apple is able to maintain the edge, the vision, and the quality of leadership rather than devolving into what Microsoft has become.

    On the other hand, I don’t believe that at its zenith that Microsoft ever was comparable to what Apple has become. Money can’t buy everything.

  3. Only Mac Heads think this is a terrible deal… anyone else in the industry thinks its a great investment/idea for Microsoft.

    Ps MDN how is that retooled App coming along? “Be Back Soon on Feb 2nd…” It’s now May 11! That’s 3 months to retool???? Epic fail!

    1. Marco, your illiteracy must be astounding.

      Within 15 seconds, I found articles panning MS- From the BBC to the Wall Street Journal- All questioning MS’s sanity over this deal.

      Only MS heads think this is a good deal… anyone else in the financial world thinks it’s a terrible investment/idea for Microsoft.

    2. Marco, you are absolutely right. These stupid Macheads justs don’t get it. Given that SKYPE is likely worth $3.5 – $4 billion, there are only 4.5 BILLION reasons to fire Balmer. But, who’s counting. Hopefully not M$ shareholders.

          1. Canadian here. Never seen “loser” spelled “looser”.

            Unless there’s some sort of sarcasm I’m not catching. I’m still half asleep.

    3. “Ps MDN how is that retooled App coming along? “Be Back Soon on Feb 2nd…” It’s now May 11! That’s 3 months to retool???? Epic fail!”

      So frakkin’ true. And unforgivable. And microsoftian. Who is running their app, anyhow?

      1. Yeah, even the white iPhone 4 beat the new MDN vaporapp. MDN was too busy pointing the finger, leaving only one hand to work on the mobile app… until they developed an itch on their behind — at which time all work on the app stopped.

    4. You sound like the little net nerd i am scared my kid could become. Epic Fail? Have you ever had an original thought?

      Next he will call me a Hater. lol.

  4. If I were mobile operator, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, I would stop carrying Windows 7 phone. Why would I help another mobile service provider (Microsoft w/ Skype) to beat myself? By by, Windows phone. And by by, Nokia.

  5. After verifying Nimbuzz handled international dialing to my satisfaction, I trashed Skype this morning.

    Okay, I only spend $100.00 @ month dialing Great Britain, but that’s $1200 of my money being put where my mouth is

    1. Ballmer goes to the doctor: ” Doc, I gotta get rid of this gut, when I take a leak I can’t even see my penis. What do I do?”

      Doc: ” Have you tried to diet?”

      Ballmer:” Why, what color is it now?”

  6. Guess MSFT will now buy Sprint so it can insist a carrier sell its Win phone.

    Or maybe the strategy is to have users only buy data plans and use Skype.

    Or maybe Ballmer has just gone insane.

  7. I really wish these financial reporters would stop criticizing Ballmer.
    All this disparagement could get him fired.

    Ballmer can get the job done. He just needs a little more time.
    A. little. more. time.

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