Steve Ballmer to WSJ, “I’m an emblem of an old era.”

Steve Ballmer to WSJ, “I’m an emblem of an old era.”
He may have been CEO at Microsoft for “only” 13 years, but he has been in the middle of things at the company for over 30 years. Interestingly, Mr. Ballmer admits that the recent shake up in management, created in part by him, is the primary reason why he must leave the company.

"As much as I love everything about what I'm doing, the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change," according to the CEO who will be stepping down in the future. “Maybe I'm an emblem of an old era, and I have to move on,"

Despite Microsoft’s great success since he became CEO in 2000, it is no secret that the company missed the opportune moments to capitalize in areas like smartphones, tablets and wearable technology. For Mr. Ballmer, his moment of clarity occurred while on a trip to London this past May, even with all the change he was pushing through, he realized that Microsoft would be able to change faster without him. “At the end of the day, we need to break a pattern. Face it: I’m a pattern.”

Following that epiphany, Mr. Ballmer starting drafting various retirement letters, eventually producing 40 or so variants of a good-bye message that ranged in tone (apathetic to Xbox?). He then secretly told Microsoft’s General Counsel, Brad Smith, that it might be time to depart. Mr. Ballmer then contacted board member John Thompson who then communicated with other board members.

The board of directors had no problem with Steve Ballmer per se, only with which the speed he was affecting the change for the company’s new strategy. To that point, Mr. Ballmer noted that he was going as fast as he knew how, but in the end, all angles eventually find themselves resistant to change, "No matter how fast I want to change, there will be some hesitation from all constituents—employees, directors, investors, partners, vendors, customers, you name it—to believe I'm serious about it, maybe even myself.”

In June, he posed his retirement to the board which accepted the proposal. That was followed by a meeting with Bill Gates and John Thompson in August to iron out details, the meeting lasted less than an hour. It is said that Mr. Gates supported Mr. Ballmer’s departure only as long as it ensured Microsoft “remains successful.”

When he broke the news of his pending departure from Microsoft to his family, they all cried. As for next steps in Mr. Ballmer’s life, he is fielding offers from universities to possibly coaching his youngest son’s high-school basketball team.

source: The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)



1. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Nobody cares go retire and live the rest of your life in rich privacy.

12. Dexxter

Posts: 10; Member since: Nov 04, 2013

Nah, I would find it more interesting if he is in the news for having a cocaine overdose and strangling his neighbors......

13. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

Microsoft was successful under his belt... Enough said❕

18. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

If successful meaning worse off than you started than I agree. Incredibly successful. I just feel sorry for that basketball if he ends up coaching. His strategy is going to be run in circles and ignore that "putting the ball through the hoop fad" until the finals.

2. keari

Posts: 20; Member since: Jul 02, 2013

I love how he smiles when he screws up

3. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010


7. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I still laugh at that YouTube clip like it was the first time...

11. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

LOL that made my day.

4. papss unregistered

I'll miss him but it is time to go and let someone younger with a new vision to step in.

8. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Props to Ballmer to know when it was time to step down. MS has been his life for a very long time. Before him, Bill had to make a similar decision. Letting go of the reins of a company that has been so much of your life is the hardest thing to do. Best wishes to Ballmer in whatever he decides to do going forward.

9. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Agreed. I'm not a fan of where he's taken MS these past few years but it takes a lot to step down, especially when you're in the middle of essentially retooling most of what your company is doing. While I doubt he'll be looked back upon like Bill Gates is (will be), Ballmer will be fine.

5. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Cmon guys. He held an intrugal part at the company for 3 decades and was captain of the ship for almost half that time. Regardless of what happens I feel he definitely could have made better choices but I always beleive that part of be a great leader is knowing when to pass the torch and that he is doing.

17. blingblingboy

Posts: 8; Member since: Aug 07, 2012

Well, the ship is sinking slowly and he is walking the plank to pay for his mistake. Technology is evolving with the trend and need and quite frankly he is old school with last decade thinking.

6. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

He's an emblem of a crazy man.

10. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Well, the guy may be a total suit who lacks any kind of technological vision (he laughed off both the iPhone AND Android) whose temper and petty personality have infiltrated the very fabric of the company, but I have to admit, I admire his ability to look at himself and say "I am not the best person for this job anymore." Good luck, Steve. I will miss seeing your pictures and immediately feeling the urge to punch you in the face. One word of advice: don't go into sports coaching. You'll have a heart attack and die in your first season.

14. spectrums

Posts: 127; Member since: Nov 14, 2013

failled os "windows phone" make this guy frustated, and make him out from mikrosoft.

15. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Microsoft is nice, although they should drop Bing and stop mocking iPad (makes M$ look desperate).

16. blingblingboy

Posts: 8; Member since: Aug 07, 2012

Steve ballmer is an idiot, he act like a little bitch in his interviews. He was involved of the surface table development but the worst mistake was the pricing they release to the market which cost almost a Billion write off. Stop sucking the board's member nuts and go play bingo with your retirement fund.

19. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I like Ballmer in dealing with windows 8 he made 2 mistake 1= since he knew windows 8 was going to be a big gamble he should have forced the Windows OS team to have a backup desktop only version of windows 8 that would look like and work like windows 7 available for sale six months after windows 8 launched. 2= MS should have launched the "Surface Pro". first.& MS made too many "Surface RT tablets Other than those Mistakes Ballmer did OK because Folks Microsoft main Business is "Enterprise services software ECT. Under Ballmer Microsoft has made PROFITS and is still doing Well in what it does BEST Big Business Enterprise Related Products ECT He leaves the MS CEO JOB with MS making profits in what it does best. I call that a WIN WIN for Mr. Ballmer

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