Why Ballmer needs to go

I’ve heard lots of things lately talking about why Steve Ballmer needs to either step down as CEO of Microsoft or be ousted by the Board of Directors.  None sum it up better than the following article:

Gregs Bite: there are calls for Ballmers head on a pike | MacTech.

I’ll offer a bit of my own experience as to why.

In the past, I’ve attended conferences where Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or other CEOs were giving the keynote address.  The buzz was always about what they were going to talk about.  What new products would they announce?  What new strategy would they outline?  What new vision would they share?

This past January, I attended CES in Vegas where Mr. Ballmer was delivering one of they keynote addresses.

On a bus heading back to my hotel one afternoon, I overheard a couple of people talking about their interest in attending Ballmer’s keynote address.  It went something like this…

Person #1: “I’m really fired up to see Ballmer speak, I wonder if the line is going to be long to get in?”

Person #2: “Me too!  I can’t wait to see him do the gorilla thing on stage!  I wonder if he’ll do the yelling and screaming thing also?”

Person #1: “Yeah!  Gotta love a guy that gets up on stage and acts like that!”

That’s what they were excited to see.

No mention of Microsoft.  No mention of products.  No interest in strategy.  No curiosity about vision.  Just if he’d get up on stage and act like an ape. (For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about search YouTube for some of Ballmer’s more famous antics.  You’ll see what they were talking about.)

This is sad.

When a corporate CEO is reduced (by his own actions no less) to little more than a circus sideshow act, it’s time for a change.

A post script to this.

A couple of days later I found myself sitting behind two completely different people discussing the conference and Ballmer’s keynote talk.

Person #1: “So what did you think about Ballmer’s keynote?”

Person #2: “It stunk.  I was hoping he’d at least do the gorilla thing once or twice. I left after the first few minutes.”


Might be time for a change in Redmond.

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