Steve Ballmer Reflects on Time at Microsoft; Says Windows Vista was Biggest Regret
August 24, 2013 4:11 PM
comment(s) - last by
He discusses his biggest accomplishment, regrets and what's next
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced this week that he
plans to retire
sometime over the next year. This is pretty big, considering he's been with the company for 33 years and saw it through many stages of technological growth. So how would he sum up three decades of working with one of the largest tech players in the industry?
Mary Jo Foley was able to talk with Ballmer after the announcement of his retirement, and asked him to reflect on his time with Microsoft as well as what he thinks the future of the company holds.
Over the course of his career, Ballmer said his biggest accomplishment at Microsoft has been contributing to the rise of personal computing, from PCs to smartphones/tablets and everything in between.
"I'm proud of being I would say a significant part even of the birth of intelligent personal computing, the notion that people use computing technologies, whether that's phones, PCs," sid Ballmer. "I mean, we kind of birthed that over the course of the '80s and the '90s, and that's had such an unbelievable impact on people's lives. I would say a billion plus people and now more with phones, even if they're not all our phones, I'm very proud of what we've accomplished there.
"If I had to sort of couple it, I'm very proud that we were able to make this incredible impact on the planet and at the same time do a good job for our shareholders."
However, Ballmer's biggest regret over the course of his career was the operating system that many users despised: Windows Vista.
"Oh, you know, I've actually had a chance to make a lot of mistakes, and probably because, you know, people all want to focus in on period A, period B, but I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista," said Ballmer. "I would say that's probably the thing I regret most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn't prove out to be as valuable."
Ballmer said he has been thinking about retiring for awhile now, but started taking the idea more seriously over the last few months. The official decision was made only two days ago, he said.
Over the next year -- leading up to Ballmer's retirement -- Microsoft's board will talk about the company's needs and determine who the next CEO should be. Ballmer didn't give any clues as to who the successor may be, but said that the search could take less than a year.
As for Ballmer's future, he doesn't have any set plans right now.
"I haven't spent a lot of time -- I don't have time to spend actually even thinking about what comes next. I'm not going to have time to do that until the board gets a successor in place," said Ballmer. "My whole life has been about my family and about Microsoft. And I do relish the idea that I'll have another chapter, a chapter two, if you will, of my life where I'll get to sort of experience other sides of life, learn more about myself, all of that, but it's not like I leave with a specific plan in mind."
Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980 as the company's 30th employee and the first business manager hired by Microsoft Chairman and Co-Founder Bill Gates. Even though Ballmer has been a public figure for Microsoft for many years, some believe the company is in need of an executive shake-up -- including a new leader. Mobile technology, such as smartphones and tablets, are taking over as the PC market continues to decline. But Microsoft has had a difficult time stirring up enthusiasm for Windows Phone against competitors like Apple and Samsung, and the Windows maker was late to the tablet game -- releasing its Surface tablet in October 2012 after the iPad had already been out for over two years. To make matters worse, Microsoft's Surface was initially released with the Windows RT operating system (the full Windows 8 Pro-powered Surface wasn't released until February 2013) and it was a major flop. Many say RT isn't a full Windows 8 experience, lacking the ability to run legacy apps.
Microsoft also slipped up recently with its Xbox One announcement. The new console, which is expected to be released this fall, initially had a
used games ban
and a new "always-on" digital rights management (DRM) system, which posed a problem for many people who are either in rural areas with slow Internet connections, travelling or tend to experience Internet issues with providers. Microsoft later
retracted these features
after major complaints, but the fiasco still didn't sit well with gamers.
The situation was made worse when its top competitor -- Sony's upcoming
-- was announced without any used game bans or a DRM system, and is also faster and less expensive (by $100) than the Xbox One.
Perhaps a new CEO and executive shake-up will help Microsoft along. Nevertheless, Ballmer has been an important figure at Microsoft for years and helped make it what it is today.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Not Windows 8
8/26/2013 10:57:02 AM
Vista worse than 8?
I used Vista since ti was called "Longhorn" and never had an issue with it. However I am very conscious of keeping my systems up to date and capability so I never noted any lag or resource heaviness in my usage. In short I kept the OS installed & updated on my systems from Beta onwards.
I used Win 8 (got the $30 downgrade from Win 7 ultimate). Immediately noticed that it was much faster starting up and shutting down on my high end hardware (overclocked sandy bridge 'E', 64gb memory, higher-end video card, all running off of multiple SSDs + ramdisks). But then I would expect it to since it had stripped out everything that looked good in Windows in favor of making my desktop look like a collection of web apps.
Nice performance or not Win 8 was uninstalled within 3 weeks and Win 7 put back on. Sorry, but Win 8 is just too butt-ugly for my taste. I don't care how fast it is under the covers, I still have to look at it to use it and I don't like what I see. I also am not all that interested in using third-party enhancements to change it - those cost more money than I paid for Win 8 in the first place!!
“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Retire Within a Year
August 23, 2013, 10:00 AM
Microsoft Drops Xbox One Always-On Requirement, Used Game Restrictions
June 19, 2013, 5:00 PM
Microsoft Xbox One: More Expensive, More DRM, and Slower Than PS4
June 11, 2013, 11:07 AM
Microsoft: Third Party Publishers Can Ban Used Xbox One Games, Charge Fees
June 7, 2013, 11:27 AM
iLate: CEO Tim Cook Says Apple Watch Will Ship in April
January 28, 2015, 3:03 PM
Amazon's Fire Sale on Fire Phone Steps up in UK w/ 1-Day Sale @ $150 Unlocked
January 28, 2015, 11:53 AM
Apple Sees Record Profit of $18 Billion, Sells 74.5 Million iPhones in Q1 FY2015
January 27, 2015, 6:01 PM
Apple Might Miss High-End of Analyst Estimates, Microsoft Earnings Hint
January 27, 2015, 3:14 PM
Microsoft Smartphone Sales Up 28 Percent as Lumia Budget Models Gain Ground
January 27, 2015, 8:30 AM
Quick Note: Special 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4 Raises $128,000 for Charity
January 26, 2015, 4:14 PM
Most Popular Articles
Under the Hood: How DirectX 11.3 and 12 Will Supercharge Windows 10 Gaming
January 23, 2015, 12:34 PM
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Packs 640 hp Punch with 200 mph Reach
January 23, 2015, 3:25 PM
Google Fixes Homophobic "Bug" in its Translator
January 27, 2015, 2:31 PM
Microsoft Shows Off Latest Windows 10 Build, Preps it for Next Week Release
January 21, 2015, 2:57 PM
Microsoft to Close Nokia Store, May Lose Over a Hundred Thousand Apps
January 26, 2015, 11:15 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information