Microsoft short-timer Steve Ballmer’s exit interview

“Steve Ballmer paced his corner office on a foggy January morning here, listening through loudspeakers to his directors’ voices on a call that would set in motion the end of his 13-year reign as Microsoft Corp.’s chief executive,” Monica Langley reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Microsoft lagged behind Apple Inc. and Google Inc. in important consumer markets, despite its formidable software revenue. Mr. Ballmer tried to spell out his plan to remake Microsoft, but a director cut him off, telling him he was moving too slowly. ‘Hey, dude, let’s get on with it,’ lead director John Thompson says he told him. ‘We’re in suspended animation.'”

“Mr. Ballmer says he replied that he could move faster,” Langley reports. “But the contentious call put him on a difficult journey toward his August decision to retire, sending Microsoft into further tumult as it began seeking a successor to a man who has been at its heart for 33 years. ‘Maybe I’m an emblem of an old era, and I have to move on,’ the 57-year-old Mr. Ballmer says, pausing as his eyes well up. ‘As much as I love everything about what I’m doing,’ he says, ‘the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Oh-so-appropriately, this is like a toddler’s book:

“The maudlin monkey loves ramming his boat into icebergs. He loves it so much that he gives his captain’s hat to a faster monkey.”

“The board’s beef was speed. The directors ‘didn’t push Steve to step down,’ says Mr. Thompson, a longtime technology executive who heads the board’s CEO-search committee, ‘but we were pushing him damn hard to go faster,’ Langley reports.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
“Mr. Ballmer joined in 1980 at the suggestion of his Harvard University pal, co-founder Bill Gates, and is its second-largest individual shareholder and a billionaire… while profit rolled in from Microsoft’s traditional markets, it missed epic changes, including Web-search advertising and the consumer shift to mobile devices and social media… ‘At the end of the day, we need to break a pattern,’ he says. ‘Face it: I’m a pattern.'”

“On a plane from Europe in late May, he told Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith that it ‘might be the time for me to go.’ The next day, Mr. Ballmer called Mr. Thompson, with the same message,” Langley reports. “Mr. Thompson called two other directors, Mr. Luczo and Charles Noski, former Bank of America Corp. vice chairman, and says he told them: ‘If Steve’s ready to go, let’s see if we can get on with this.'”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Take your time, guys. No rush.

Related articles:
Microsoft short-timer Ballmer loses over half his bonus over failure to compete with Apple – October 4, 2013
Squirmfest: Video of Ballmer’s tearful farewell to Microsoft – September 30, 2013
Steve Ballmer’s exit not planned or as smooth as portrayed by Microsoft – August 26, 2013
Microsoft stock surges on Ballmer retirement news – August 23, 2013
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months as BoD initiates succession process – August 23, 2013


  1. ‘At the end of the day, we need to break a pattern,’ he says. ‘Face it: I’m a pattern.’”

    Come on guys it’s time to stop kicking him. When someone finally admits that, there should be no pleasure in humiliating them further

    1. With Ballmer, yeah there is.

      When he finally steps down MDN needs to make a new poll asking people what their favorite Ballmer stupidity moment was. I think mine was when he laughed at the iPhone. Classic moment that really signaled the beginning of the end for him.

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