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Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has headed the company for ten years, since taking over from Bill Gates in 2000.   (Source: AP Photo)

Many outgoing Microsoft employees have criticized Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's performance.
Nearly half of the company's employees disapprove of his performance as CEO

Steve Ballmer, 54, forms a unique and controversial figure as chief executive of the world's largest software company.  His cracking, nasal voice brings to mind Chris Farley and his quirky sense of humor only strengthens the comparison.

But at the end of the day Mr. Ballmer means business, and he's been the undisputed leader since Bill Gates departed in January 2000.  Ballmer has led the company through some of its most glorious successes -- Windows XP, the Xbox, and Windows 7 -- but has also been on the helm for some of its less glorious campaigns -- Windows Vista, Windows Mobile, tablet efforts, and Kin.

study by shows that the company's above outlined struggles and Mr. Ballmer's strong personality may be outweighing his successes.  The survey of 1,000 departing Microsoft employees found that only a razor-thin 51 percent majority approved of Mr. Ballmer's job performance.

That's number seems more troublesome given that overall the employees were very satisfied with Microsoft -- rating it at 3.5 out of 5, just below the 3.8 out of 5 that Apple and Google both received in similar recent studies.

This year has been a stormy one for Microsoft.  Despite the wild sales success of Windows 7, the company's stock has dropped 20 percent and the company was forced to pull its new Kin phones off the market only weeks after it released them.  The latter failure cost Mr. Ballmer a bit of his yearly bonus.  Mr. Ballmer also drew fire for killing Microsoft's Courier dual-screen tablet concept, which had drawn much excitement.

Some observers say that Microsoft's performance with its new smartphone operating system, Windows Phone 7, and its upcoming tablets may determine Mr. Ballmer's ultimate fate and whether he is suitable to keep leading Microsoft.  A failure in these arenas would be a massive loss for Microsoft, and potentially catastrophic to Mr. Ballmer's career.

Rebecca Wettemann, analyst at Nucleus Research comments, "This is a pretty critical moment for Microsoft, particularly as we see a shift to people wanting access to the information they need from any device.  The winner in this space will be the one that puts a toy in the consumer's hands that is also a good business tool for a worker's hands."

She adds, "[Oracle CEO] Larry [Ellison] has Fusion and [Apple CEO Steve] Jobs has the iPad, but Microsoft has had things in development for a while without being able to get those things to market.  That's the kind of thing that sparks a leadership change."

If Mr. Ballmer has his way he would retire on his own volition at around 2018, according to his past statements.

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By Zingam on 10/8/2010 4:02:19 AM , Rating: 0
Am I the only one who thinks that Microsofts success is determined by Bill Gates' luck to be in the right place and at the right time and not by Microsoft's quality of products. The only product's I find satisfying are their development tools (the .net generation but then again they aren't their original idea). They are generally one of the best if not the best but I cannot say the same for the rest: Their OSes - DOS - sux, Win95 sux, WinXP - sux and yeah Windows 7 SUCKS! MS Office is an expensive bullshit. Their mobile platforms are fail.
I also feel that the only reason why Ballmer is a "successful" CEO is because Microsoft is the absolute monopolist in their areas. Everytime when they try something new - they fail. And no the XBOX is nothing really new to them. It's just a directx PC converted to a console.
Goddamn in that context even if I were elected as MS CEO, I would have been successful too. You've got to be a complete idiot to not be successful when you are at the top of a monopoly.
And also the only reason why Vista was unsuccessful was not because it was crap (crap were all other successful Windows version) but because the users didn't need it at the time. Yeah! We don't need to upgrade our OS every year. If MS has offered DirectX 10+ for Windows XP almost nobody would have upgraded to Windows 7.
MS have basically forced Windows Vista/7 down the throats of their customers by stopping the support for it.

I'm not a Linux guy but I think that the OS should be open and free like Linux.
Win7 is more like a service release to Vista than a new OS.

RE: microsoft
By ssj3gohan on 10/8/2010 10:00:14 AM , Rating: 2
I get the impression that you have a very narrow view of the software you're talking about. Windows as an OS at any generation, as well as MS Office, are very cheap actually. Basically, within the realm of proprietary software, they are about as good as it gets. They may not be 'the best' you ever had in terms of ease of use or even compatability (although they did have a huge market share, making them de facto compatible) but they have always been a damn good bet if you take more than just that aspect into account. OSes with comparable features invariably run on much tighter hardware restrictions and software with the same kind of hardware support (i'm looking at you, linux) have always been a pain to use. And the same goes for office - it's not everybody's cup of tea, but it's close for most. You're buying a versatile product and at very reasonable rates. You don't want to know what other OSes cost - damn, even embedded OSes weighing in at less than 10MB (or sometimes in the hundreds of kilobytes) will cost you more!

Power users now have a very able alternative in linux and mac os x though, and this has definitely put MS products in a different light. But you cannot persist in your argument without nuance.

RE: microsoft
By 91TTZ on 10/8/2010 10:33:16 AM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one who thinks that Microsofts success is determined by Bill Gates' luck to be in the right place and at the right time and not by Microsoft's quality of products.

I think it has more to do with his business sense. Bill Gates is well known for being a tech guy, but his real talent is in being a pure business man, the way that Rockefeller or Carnegie were. When you're like that, selling a top quality product isn't your priority; making the most profit and conquering competitors is the main goal. You could put him in charge of an oil company or a car manufacturer and he'd use the same tactics to increase his company's profit and become #1.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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