Reaction As Steve Ballmer Heads Into The Big Blue Yonder

The Microsoft CEO isn’t even out the door yet, but already people are weighing in on his legacy.

Reaction As Steve Ballmer Heads Into The Big Blue Yonder

As the dust settles over Friday’s shocking announcement that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is planning to step down–an estimated $769 million better off–more details are emerging. AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher is reporting that the exit is not necessarily happening the way that Ballmer and the company he’s worked at for most of his adult life expected.


Instead, the Microsoft board, including chairman Bill Gates, all decided that Ballmer should go sooner rather than later, because of the company’s poor business performance.

Here are some of the reactions and analyses from around the web:

ZDNet’s Mary Jane Foley had an interview with the beleaguered CEO on Friday night–the Microsoft specialist journalist’s first in 20 years, in which he talked about his regrets, the succession, and his proudest moments.

One blogger named Ben Thompson claimed that, had Ballmer run Apple, it would be making more money in the next five years than it will under Tim Cook. However, Ballmer would be so busy coming up with products to cater for every market and pushing these products aggressively that Apple would cease to be an innovator. “If Steve Ballmer were the CEO, Apple would make more money, but they would slowly but surely become irrelevant. Just like Microsoft.”

The New York Times‘s David Pogue wrote a post headlined “How Ballmer Missed The Tidal Shifts In Tech,” which argued that the importance of the touchscreen phone completely passed the CEO by. Per Pogue:

It doesn’t take a psychologist to understand why Microsoft missed these tidal shifts: It’s always been a PC company. It helped to create the PC revolution, its bread and butter was the PC — and so of course the company kept insisting that the PC was the future.

It would have taken an exceptional thinker, an out-of-the-box visionary, to admit that the company’s foundation was crumbling. Mr. Ballmer wasn’t that guy.

[Image: Flickr user MicrosoftPDC]

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.