05.28.10

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Two Questions: Will Steve Ballmer Leave and Did He Make Bach/Allard Leave?

Posted in Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 6:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USS Stewart sinking

Summary: Unanswered questions about what happened behind the scenes and what’s deeper inside people’s minds

THE FAILURE of Windows continues to this date with caricatures and evidence that not much has changed. Windows Vista — as terrible as it was — brought a lot more income than Vista 7 and Microsoft’s value is sinking like a rock (it has just fallen below Apple's).

One blogger compares Microsoft’s failure to the post-IBM era and OStatic asks, “Will Microsoft Crumble In The New Era Of Tech Threats?”

These are good points, but it’s also worth asking whether Microsoft really needs “dramatic changes in direction” to remain viable.

Several days ago we wrote about the latest Microsoft exodus and here is the full text of Allard’s goodbye E-mail (a Microsoft president fled along with him).

This new article suggests that Ballmer may leave or be forced to leave the CEO position:

—Was Bach fired? Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) insists Bach was not forced out and instead is retiring; Bach also tells TechFlash in an interview that it’s a “pure coincidence” that he decided to move on at the same time as E&D CTO J Allard. But considering the division’s recent travails and that Ballmer himself will now take direct control over Microsoft’s mobile and gaming efforts, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to think Ballmer may have pushed Bach out or at least didn’t put up much of a fight when Bach told him he was going to leave. If so, that suggests—ominously—that Ballmer may not have had much confidence in some of E&D’s recent and upcoming product launches, including the Kin phone for teens and the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system.

[...]

—Who succeeds Ballmer as CEO? Ballmer is only 54 and has the support of chairman Bill Gates, but he has now been Microsoft’s CEO for 10 years and has had a decidedly mixed tenure. Bach had been mentioned as a successor to Ballmer in the past. Bach’s departure would seem to leave chief operating officer Kevin Turner or the widely respected Steven Sinofsky, who leads the company’s Windows division, as the most likely successors. Indeed, there were rumors earlier this year that Sinofsky would be given oversight of Windows Mobile in addition to Windows—something which could still potentially happen.

Canonical’s COO has this to say:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has a new job: overseeing the company’s entertainment and mobile businesses in the wake of high-profile executive departures. It’s not the first time Ballmer has taken the reins of struggling business units, having managed the Windows and Internet search businesses directly at different times, but arguably Microsoft doesn’t need new management.

Did Ballmer actually fire or pressure for departure?

Ballmer’s strategy is classic Microsoft: punish and intimidate with a bold reorganization of the company’s struggling hardware unit.

Rupert Murdoch’s press points out that “Since Mr. Ballmer took over from Bill Gates as CEO in January 2000, Microsoft’s market value has more than halved from $556 billion to Wednesday’s close of $219 billion. Rival Apple’s market value has surged from $15.6 billion to $221 billion over the same period.”

Microsoft seems to have been busy hijacking other companies*. It is already ruining Yahoo!’s name and therefore engagement, right after it got rid of the talent inside the company (mostly Free software contributors on the engineering side). The question is, how much damage will Microsoft cause before it becomes the next McDonnell Douglas?
____
* The previous post reminds that Microsoft is also trying to hijack “Open Source”.

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