Ex-Microsoft Executive: Steve Ballmer Holds his Reign by Pushing Others Out
January 22, 2013 10:49 AM
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(Source: Business Insider)
Ballmer pushes any rising star within Microsoft out before they have the chance to potentially replace him
An ex-Microsoft executive, who will release a new book about his experiences with the company, said that current CEO Steve Ballmer is anything but fit for the role.
Joachim Kempin, a former Microsoft employee from 1983-2002, recently wrote a book called "Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft's 'Secret Power Broker' Breaks his Silence" that will be published today.
The book details Ballmer's role as CEO, and how he has kept that position for so long. According to Kempin, Ballmer
pushes any rising star within Microsoft out
before they have the chance to potentially replace him.
Kempin first witnessed this when it happened to Richard Belluzzo, a former Hewlett-Packard executive that launched the Xbox console. He eventually made his way up to chief operating officer, but after only 14 months as COO, Belluzzo left.
"He (Belluzzo) had no room to breathe on the top," said Kempin. "When you work that directly with Ballmer and Ballmer believes 'maybe this guy could someday take over from me', my God, you will have less air to breathe, that's what it comes down to."
Kempin said this also happened with other major Microsoft executives, including Kevin Johnson, a former Windows head that left to run Juniper Networks Inc.; Stephen Elop, a former Office chief that went to Nokia; Ray Ozzie, a software extraordinaire that left to start his own project, and Steven Sinofsky, former Windows chief that left right after
Windows 8 launched
Sinofsky, former president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division, announced that he was
leaving the company
last November after 23 years with the company.
While Sinofsky was seen as a brilliant figure at Microsoft, his downfall was that he didn't get along with others within the company. He was notorious for picking fights with other executives, including Ballmer.
So why exactly does Ballmer feel threatened? According to Kempin, it's because Ballmer isn't fit for the CEO role, and that Microsoft could use a new fresh face at the helm.
"Is he a great CEO? I don't think so," said Kempin. "Microsoft's board is a lame duck board, has been forever. They hire people to help them administer the company, but not to lead the company. That's the problem. They need somebody maybe 35-40 years old, a younger person who understands the Facebook Inc generation and this mobile community. They don't need this guy on stage with this fierce, aggressive look, announcing the next version of Windows and thinking he can score with that."
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All Big Egos at the Top
1/22/2013 11:59:02 AM
All of those people mentioned, from what I understand, have big egos.
It may be a case of Ballmer pushing them out or it may be a case of having gotten to a point at Microsoft where there was nowhere else to go but to another company.
In the case of Sinofsky, there were many people both inside and outside of Microsoft, that complained he was extremely difficult. I've heard he would send out incredibly long emails and follow them up with even longer emails. Just look at his blog posts; thousands of words when only a few hundred were really needed.
RE: All Big Egos at the Top
1/22/2013 3:17:15 PM
Having a huge ego is part of the executive management recipe. Look at Obama, as an example. About as arrogant and inflated ego as a human can be. But clearly successful (for better or for worse) at attaining his goals. You don't get to be Chief of anything if you're meek or timid or unsure of yourself. Just the way the world works.
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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