Steve Ballmer, 57, who has been the appointed CEO of Microsoft since 2000, has put in his proverbial 12-month notice today to retire from Microsoft. This news comes to us at almost no surprise as Microsoft has been shifting the positions of many of its executives for the better part of the year.
Steve cut the number of business units within Microsoft to four and said Windows chief Julie Larson-Green, 51, would oversee all hardware, including the Surface tablet and Xbox console and related games (You may remember the former of this position was Don Mattrick, who left Microsoft shortly after E3 to become the CEO of Zynga). Windows Phone software head Terry Myerson gained responsibility for the Windows and Xbox operating systems. Skype president Tony Bates, 46, was put in charge of a new group for business development and acquisitions.
Even with all of this change, the announcement of Ballmer’s retirement seems to be investing hope into the wallets of Microsoft’s shareholders as their stock has seemingly rose 7% since word got out. (See: This Article from Bloomberg.com) Steve’s own net value has reportedly risen to a billion dollars after the announcement. Makes you wonder why people would be so grateful of Steve to be leaving Microsoft at such a pivotal point for the company.
Why is Steve Ballmer’s retirement a good thing? Can you recall anything Microsoft has really done correctly for the last decade? Windows Vista was a point in history most system administrators look over. Windows 7 is wildly accepted as the best Guest OS since Windows XP. That tells me that it took two tries to get it right, and it seems Windows 8 is getting the back burner treatment as well.
Nearly every amazing technology we’ve seen in the past few years has been pioneered, and mastered by companies OTHER than Microsoft. Despite all the resources Microsoft has at its disposal, it has taken a back seat to search technologies (What do you mean “Bing “ it?, Oh you mean Google It.), arrived fashionably late to the modern smartphone and tablet market, and even now has taken a major shift in the way it sees the future of console gaming. Even on the bleeding edge of visualization technology, Microsoft was late the game with Hyper-V, and has been playing catch-up with VMware’s Vsphere ever since.
Who will be the next CEO of arguably one of the most influential companies of our generation? Right now it’s all too soon to gauge an accurate guess. We have a whole year until that day comes; But, one thing is certain, is that there will be mass UN-certainty within Microsoft until they manage to get someone at the helm who can take on the multitude of issues Microsoft is facing, including failing tablet products, fierce cloud-services competition, and possibly their last chance to make a solid and lasting impression the in next-generation console battle.