10.19.10

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Ramifications for Steve Ballmer After Ray Ozzie Metaphorically Falls on His Sword

Posted in Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 5:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Knights on horsebacks

Summary: Everybody around Microsoft’s CEO is abandoning and there is disagreement over what this will do to the company

MR. Ozzie's exit is just the latest among many departures and his exit led to even more speculations about Ballmer’s next move. Ozzie was arguably Microsoft’s #2 man.

We could find/reach no consensus on whether Ozzie’s departure is good news or bad news to Ballmer. Business Week, for instance, says that “Ozzie Microsoft Exit Fuels Concern Over Ballmer Bench”:

The departure of Ray Ozzie as Microsoft Corp.’s chief software architect fueled concern that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer may not be doing enough to nurture would-be successors and executives who can set strategy.

Ozzie, 54, joined the company in 2005 and was later named as one of the two executives who would chart vision as co- Founder Bill Gates stepped away from day-to-day operations.

Microsoft boosters like Tim Anderson wrote about it and so did prominent Microsoft employees like Mini-Microsoft, who wrote: “I feel with Ray Ozzie’s departure that Steve Ballmer has finally asserted his complete control over the company. We’ve had some house cleaning this year, ranging from Mr. Ozzie to Mr. Bach & Mr. Allard to Technical Fellows to continued targeted layoffs. Perhaps this is due to the big, contemplative review Mr. Ballmer had with the Microsoft Board this year. Mr. Ballmer has hit the reset button. Do we have a Hail Mary pass, or is this Ballmer 2.0?

“I feel with Ray Ozzie’s departure that Steve Ballmer has finally asserted his complete control over the company.”
      –Mini-Microsoft
“We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, here’s hoping that the technical Presidents reporting to Mr. Ballmer can take up the custom of intellectual rigor. Because that is one custom we can’t let decline anymore.”

If this is true, then Microsoft will be even more aggressive. Throughout his time at Microsoft, Ozzie hardly ever said anything provocative or controversial at all. Some believed that he would inherit the helm and be somewhat of a peacemaker. Now we know this will never happen.

People have been speculating for a while that Ballmer will be kicked out because he is not popular and even some investors want him out. Will Ozzie’s departure contribute to pressure for Ballmer to stay or to leave? There’s no real agreement on that. Besides, a Microsoft with Ballmer is a bully (which can be bad) and it is also a company with an ever-alienating strategy (which may make it better for Free software because he ruins the company). It’s like having Darl McBride behind SCO’s wheel.

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