Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Microsoft "With or Without Ballmer"

Prior to launching the campaign "New Strategy" for Microsoft several letters were forwarded to the attention of Mr.Ballmer. This resulted in a letter from Investors Relations stating management was confident in the direction of the company.

In a interview with Microsoft SubNet this campaign was asked if "Do you advocate the restructuring of Microsoft's top offices such as getting rid of Steve Ballmer or Kevin Turner? Why or why not?"

The initial response was "Typically, I believe that activists prefer to work in conjunction with management to enhance shareholder value. However, there has been occasions when the activist campaign has sought the resignation of management". The campaign also stated "Based on the history of Microsoft and its inability through current management to create shareholder value, we certainly have concerns with current management and Mr. Ballmer".

Since launching the campaign numerous comments and reports have been reviewed concerning Mr. Ballmer and his departure.

We will begin by reviewing a comment on this blog:

"MS needs new management, not new ventures. And they'll probably start by consolidating rather than expanding".
February 23, 2009 7:16 PM

This campaign has on multiple occassions referenced reviewing the blog Mini Microsoft. This is the name of a blog maintained by an anonymous author who appears to be a Microsoft employee. However, other Microsoft employees have the opportunity to post comments anonymously without fear of retribution from the company.

Recently, we obtained an email from a former Microsoft employee. (The former employee has agreed to conduct an interview with Microsoft SubNet concerning the problems with Microsoft).

The former employee in their email referenced a recent post on Mini by Anonymous 5:48 located at

We suggest reading Anonymous 5:48 and then the response by Anonymous 6:34. Perhaps what is of greater interest to this campaign is the comment within the email we obtained from the former Microsoft employee:

"The more I read about leadership and as I observe leaders in organisations I’ve come to believe the Russian proverb that “A fish rots from the head..” as true and found that it applies equally to organisations. An organisation is the shadow of the top leader. An organisation and a team is only as successful as it’s leader. John Maxwell calls this “The Law of the Lid".

The blog Boycott Novell recently posted a article concerning the campaign located at

Within The Boycott Novell blog there is a link to sites concerning Ballmer being replaced.

Another interesting read is "Ten Reasons Ballmer Should be Replaced". You can also imagine David Letterman reading out the Top Ten. It can be accessed through a link at msftextrememakeover or can be accessed at,1558,2317347,00.asp

A April 2008 CNet article refers to potential internal employess to replace Ballmer. This article is located at

It appears that other companies have competent CEO's guiding the company, injecting vision and creating shareholder value. However, Microsoft has Mr. Ballmer. Refer to

This leaves us with three questions:

1) Does Mr. Ballmer act like a monkey to hype the employees to believe what probably only Mr. Ballmer believes "I love this company" he states in the youtube post.

2) Does Ballmer act like a monkey to create hype because the products and company vision won't?

3) Should Microsoft hire a real Monkey to replace Mr. Ballmer and be its mascot?

Atleast a real monkey is cute and probably doesn't scream near as often. More importantly, atleast a real monkey will listen to its trainer and is teachable. Don't think that the same can be said about Mr. Ballmer. With Mr. Ballmer throwing chairs, ranting and screaming, failing to listen to employees (ie. Mini Microsoft and msftextreme.,), failing to listen to seems evident that its time for "Monkey Boy to Go Home".

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Glutenfreeda said...

given the choice...withOUT.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft "With or Without Ballmer""

Without. In nine years he has been unable to establish even one new business that contributes significant profit to MS. The company has lost, missed, or is behind in every important new area (media, mobile, search, advertising, virtualization, cloud computing). And the businesses he inherited are all positioned less favorably, even though they're larger (for now at least). As we're witnessing, that all adds up to a company whose profit is every bit as dependent on PC sales today as it was in 2000, despite over $40 billion of direct investment and more than that in R&D attempting to diversify. Then there's the stock. Even if MS stopped dropping here, which isn't likely, it would have to quadruple in order to return to where it was when Mr. Ballmer took over.

It's too late for the stock. $20's will probably be the highest it even goes again. But it may not be too late to save the company, albeit in some smaller, less profitable, but more competitive form.

Anonymous said...

You wrote:

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It's the original RIM poster guy again. I agree, ideally without Ballmer. He's too old guard, people are still more inclined to yes-man him than they would be to yes-man others.

I can't tell you how I know he doesn't know as much about the tech world and tech markets as he needs to, to successfully lead MS, because it's based on a personal experience with him that he may remember. But it was then that I had my UH-OH moment regarding Microsoft's leadership.

Granted, one doesn't need to be a Dave Cutler to lead a Fortune 500 (and arguably, should not be), but one does need to have around them really sharp people who don't BS them and who don't yes-man them.

[ The following is a new take on why Ballmer is not the best leader for MS in the 21st century. ]

It appears to me that Ballmer is lacking on these fronts so severely that he cannot correct it without completely up-ending his relationships, many of which are with the BS'ers and yes-men, which is something I doubt he'd be willing to do. He's made it clear that his relationships are very important to him. I'm certainly not the only person who's perceived that, and many at higher levels than myself have capitalized on that.

The very value he places on his relationships, conventionally considered to be a positive on in the world in general, may be his downfall as a CEO. Not because it's wrong to do so, but because it creates weakness that others can exploit, and have exploited. It's part of who he is, that is not part of who Bill Gates is. Game over.

It's nice to think you can, but you CAN'T have it all. Too many are out for their own good, and will take advantage of you if they can. This applies to the company's leadership just as much as it applies to the newest STE hire who is warned by friends of the cut-throat politics of The Beast.

Anonymous said...

Overall, Holt cut his FY 2009 outlook to revenue of $59.6 billion and EPS of $1.65 a share, from $60.8 billion and $1.73. For FY 2010, he goes to $58.9 billion and $1.70 a share, from $61.6 billion and $1.89.

Given that the company posted $60.4 billion in revenue in FY 2008, Holt’s new forecast would imply two consecutive down years at the top line. His new EPS estimates are now well below the consensus, which calls for $1.75 this year, and $1.89 next year. Holt contends that the Street numbers “materially underestimate the impact of declining units and ASPs” on the company’s results."

Anonymous said...

Scoreboard: The highest and lowest rated leaders in tech

Steve Jobs, Apple: Approval: 90%, Company Rating: 3.8

Eric Schmidt, Google: Approval: 88%, Company Rating: 4.0

John Chambers, Cisco: Approval: 78%, Company Rating: 3.6

Mark Benioff, Approval: 73%, Company Rating: 3.7

Jim Balsillie, RIM: Approval: 70%, Company Rating: 3.8

Larry Ellison, Oracle: Approval: 63%, Company Rating: 3.2

Paul Otellini, Intel: Approval: 62%, Company Rating: 3.5

Michael Dell, Dell: Approval: 48%, Company Rating: 3.0

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft: Approval: 44%, Company Rating: 3.7

Sam Palmisano, IBM: Approval: 42%, Company Rating: 3.2

Mark Hurd, Hewlett-Packard: Approval: 41%, Company Rating: 2.8

Ed Colligan, Palm: Approval: 36%, Company Rating: 3.2

Jonathan Schwartz, Sun Microsystems: Approval: 25%, Company Rating: 3.1

Greg Brown, Motorola: Approval: 10%, Company Rating: 2.6