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The Good, Bad and Ugly of Steve Ballmer

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced plans to retire

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced plans to retire

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced plans to retire from the software giant within the next 12 months. The company said in a statement that Ballmer would leave once a replacement had been found.

Additionally, Microsoft last month announced a major restructuring, to focus on functions and engineering rather than product lines. It becomes important to note that the company had come in for sharp criticism from stockholders for failing to make a success of its mobility strategy, with Microsoft’s Surface tablet devices failing to capture significant market share.

In a letter to Microsoft employees, Ballmer said: “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”

With this announcement, the Microsoft board of directors has also appointed a special committee to find a replacement for Ballmer {they have 12 months for this}, which includes chairman and company founder Bill Gates as well.

What has gone wrong?

Microsoft suffered from the classic innovator’s challenge. It built extraordinary software that ran on the desktop. However, customers started to move towards the cloud realm and it could not do that fast enough. And as customers moved away from desktops and into the cloud and onto mobile devices, Microsoft rolled down slowly and very cautiously. But unfortunately, for the company, it was not aggressively enough for the customers. Ironically, the organisation hesitated to embrace the cloud, and it hesitated to build anything that didn’t work with Windows.

Major Hits

Pocket PC

Originally called ‘Pocket PC,’ was among the most popular technologies created for mobile devices, and eventually smartphones. By 2005, Windows Mobile was the most widely used mobile…

Later on, Windows 2000, XP promised a simpler product line for consumers and businesses. The software was so successful that some businesses refused to upgrade, and it was the world’s most widely used operating system until recently.

Xbox 360—November 2005

Microsoft’s follow-up to the original Xbox, the 360 has since become one of the most widely used videogame consoles with more than 78 million units sold. It helped lead several innovations in the videogame industry, including online services and interactions with other products, such as tablets.


Major Misses

Zune—November 2006

Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iPod launched with unique social features, such as the ability to share songs among friends. But the Zune was widely criticized for its bulky design and brown color. Microsoft discontinued the Zune in 2011.

Surface tablet—October 2012

The first tablet computer from the house of Microsoft came two years after Apple’s iPad. Microsoft Surface was praised for its sleek design and its innovative covers which doubled as keyboards. However, on the other hand, issues with Windows RT staggered its success, and Microsoft eventually announced a $900 million write-down due to unsold inventory.


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About Kalpana Singhal

Kalpana Singhal is Co-Founder & Editor in Chief at Techplus Media. She is an Innovative & challenger Entrepreneur who started her journey from corporate communication in early 2001 with I.T. Industry followed by Lead - Editorial at BeautyIndia.in in 2008 . You can follow her on twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

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