Ballmer tightens death grip on Microsoft with major revamp

“Microsoft Corp’s sweeping re-organization on Thursday creates a company that, more than ever, bears the stamp of Chief Executive Steve Ballmer,” Alexei Oreskovic reports for Reuters. “The face of Microsoft since he took the reins from co-founder Bill Gates in 2000, Ballmer stressed the importance of improving internal collaboration and eliminating redundancies when he released the company’s new organizational blueprint.”

“For all the changes promised, the move reinforces Ballmer’s grip on the company’s direction and further muddies the succession picture,” Oreskovic reports. “‘There’s still no heir apparent or any succession strategy that has become apparent,’ said David Smith, an analyst with industry research firm Gartner. ‘It sounds like he wants to run it in a more centralized style.'”

“That Ballmer, 57, who presided over a decade of share price stagnation and was deemed slow to respond to mobile computing, remains more entrenched may worry investors and spur concern that the reorganization will truly effect change,” Oreskovic reports. “‘In theory, it’s a great idea. The key question will be can Ballmer deliver this in new model and can it be successful,’ said Channing Smith, co-manager of the Capital Advisors Growth Fund, which does not own Microsoft shares. ‘With his track record, it will be question mark for investors going forward.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: By our count, this is Ballmer’s fifth “reorganization” since 2008. So, you know, this big “news” out of Microsoft is really more like an annual joke.

As we said earlier today, “We await Microsoft’s 2014 rearrangement of the deck chairs with bated breath.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Rainy Day” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Steve Ballmer’s Jobsian ‘vision’ is for Microsoft to work like Apple – July 12, 2013
Microsoft is the new Apple – July 12, 2013
Steve Ballmer’s reorganization email: ‘One Strategy, One Microsoft’ or something – July 11, 2013
Captain Ballmer working hard on rearranging S.S. Microsoft’s deck chairs yet again – June 3, 2013
Microsoft said to again reorganize marketing operations; may include hundreds of job cuts – February 1, 2012
Ballmer rearranges the deck chairs again; seeks to get engineers into executive ranks – February 8, 2011
Microsoft rearranges the deck chairs again; reorgs cellphone, games division – May 25, 2010
Microsoft rearranges the deck chairs – February 15, 2008


  1. It’s painful to watch once proud Companies get shoved aside because the CEOs are to egotistical to step aside.

    In recent memory I’m thinking Yahoo, AOL, MSFT, RIMM, NOK, MOT, Palm, Dell, HP, Real Networks, GM, AA, Kaiser Aluminum, Sony, Sharp, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Enron, Worldcom, Global Crossing, Sun Micro, Compaq, DEC, Nortel, Corel. Wow, the list is longer than I at first thought.

    1. But Ballmer is just doing what Bill wants.
      Stay the course and the world will come back to Microsoft.

      Remember that Bill quipped at the last All things D that Steve attended, that Steve did not get it. That Microsoft had won and Apple should just go away.

  2. Typical Microsoft. They can’t even do an original re-organisation. They’re basically trying to do the One Sony initiative, which has finally turned that company around and started to see them putting out integrated and half-decent products again. But unlike Sony, Microsoft want to do the same with software that is supposed to already be integrated, which makes the entire exercise just about cost-cutting.


  3. The key line in the article is:
    “There’s still no heir apparent or any succession strategy that has become apparent.”

    Management 101 says, a good leader stacks his executive team with brilliant people who could perform his job almost as well, or better than the current leader. However, a piss poor leader gets rid of people on his executive team who might be a threat by demonstrating competence. Ballmer falls into the second category.

    If Ballmer ran Apple five year ago, Cook, Ive, Schiller, Johnson, and Cue would have been fired or forced out.

    Ballmer, keep up the good work. You are doing Microsoft proud.

  4. Steve Ballmer is saying—in effect—to the rest of of his organization “COME ON! Do you feel the magic?

    His leadership skills, as you can see from the above-linked video, are spellbinding.

    I’m the only individual at a 300-person medical equipment manufacturer to bring his Mac. Their IT department fought this tooth and nail (I wanted to attach it to their network just to get printer access).

    Why no Mac on their network? Because IT is terrified of viruses. Even though they have industrial-strength Kaspersky anti-virus protection and a Barracuda firewall that prevents people from visiting huge swaths of the Internet, they get viruses every week due to workers visiting the wrong websites and downloading free software (trojans) such as “movie format converter” (which I tried to do on my company-supplied PC).

    You know… I’ve NEVER accidentally downloaded a virus on my OS X Mac. Why is it so damned easy on a PC with industrial-strength protection??

    So I use my Mac and my company-supplied PC side by side to produce technical documents (with illustrations) into their document-control system. I used to love Ballmer because they screwed the pooch so bad on Windows and that makes the Mac look so damned elegant.

    Unfortunately, Microsoft has also managed to screw up the apps comprising Microsoft Office—due largely to their idiotic ribbons and tiles, and how they shoved those “innovations” up the ass of the applications.

    So, even though I have a Mac at work, I still have to use Windows and Excel on both my Mac and my company-supplied PC. And both those apps have become insanely cumbersome to use in the last few years—particularly on the PC side.

    So… an open letter:

    Dear Mr. Ballmer,

    Please learn to recognize your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Exploit your company’s strengths.

    This simple fact is that you have to hire and retain your key talent in companies if you want to lead the industry. Microsoft—as well as much of the rest of the industry—has hemorrhaged most of the best talent to Apple. So “innovation” is not one of Microsoft’s strengths right now.

    Yet you have Microsoft Office. Notwithstanding that there are free office productivity suites available, Office is the de facto standard that real businesses occupied by big boys who wear long trousers have to use in the real world. It isn’t going away soon. So exploit this simple reality. Microsoft Office presents an opportunity for you and you are screwing the pooch right now on Office.

    Your first order of business should be to abandon any notion that touchscreen-based tablets are entirely different animals from desktop PCs with no touchscreen. So no do-all operating system nor any user interface is EVER going to work well for both; it would at best be a jack of all trades and a master of none. At worst, it would be a God-forsaken cluster fuck, which is what you’ve pretty much now got with Office on a PC.

    And I have to use Office on a PC. And with my Mac running older versions of Office (as well as the newer 2011), the contrast between the two is shocking.

    Your company should be listening to your focus groups and abiding by the researchers busy watching volunteers (trying to) use your products. It’s clear that trying to emulate Steve Jobs’ penchant for “going with your gut and eschewing focus groups and market research” isn’t something Microsoft is good at.

    Pretending your company has the brightest people in the business and that you can ignore your customers and go with your gut instincts and operate like Steve Jobs once did is like trying to teach a pig to sing: You only waste your time and annoy the pig.

    Stick to your core competencies and exploit your strengths. Go fix Office.

    Greg L

    1. PS

      Oops. In my “open letter to Ballmer,” meant “[you should] should be to accept the notion that touchscreen-based tablets are entirely different animals from desktop PCs with no touchscreen.”

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