In a new TWiT Live Special, Tom Merritt, Mary Jo Foley and I discuss today's blockbuster announcement that Steve Ballmer is leaving Microsoft within 12 months.
Running time: 59:08
Download HD Video | SD Video Large | SD Video Small | Audio
Paul! Was it to you that I suggested posting a little note here about your live streaming appearances for those of us that don't Twitter?
Dude! I missed the live special! Ugh!
OK, let me watch it...
But for real, please remember that not everyone is on Twitter but that your readers/fans would like to know when you're going to be doing a live show. Specially on something asas big asas this for Microsoft fans.
Dude, this thing was so sudden and quick, an article on the supersite wouldn't really work well. Twitter is a great place for this kind of thing. Just join Twitter! It's really fun, anyway. It's the best way to have a public conversation with Paul and all the other technology news reporting celebrities.
No CEO retires with a definitive schedule unless they already have a successor and a hand over plan. It's also highly unusual for a CEO to start a re-org and announce leaving a month later.
I believe what's happened here is that some talent scouting of an external talent has lead to this opportunity arising and the successor will already be known and signed up.
I doubt it's Elop. To make this surprise announcement means its a hurried opportunity that they had to take.
It will either be Sinofsky (after learning a lesson of either his or the companies making - his new position was just announced so opportunity rife) or someone from a highly dynamic tech company who has made a big impression.
My bet is on a Sinofsky and MS needed to act now to secure the deal.
Sinofsky? highly doubtful, while he did some good in some areas he wasn't the best "team player" apparently.
You really can't have Steve Jobs wannabies running Microsoft, it's just too big company. And I mean big in terms of different businesses. I think Microsoft is probaply aiming for someone who hasn't got huge ego, is more manager than visionar and can handle all those businesses with needed information.
Tony Bates might be best option since he is more CEO type, business background and all. Plus he hasn't been too long part of Microsoft so he has fresh view and can handle all business divisions as neutral person.
Just read one description of Microsoft under Ballmer - "Microsoft is like that super smart kid who is doing drugs and not living up to its potential. "
If you had asked me in summer of 2012, who the next CEO of Microsoft was going to be? Steven Sinofsky was the guy I would have said without reservation. However, Sinofsky's tone deaf response to the reaction of Windows 8 single handedly killed any & all chances of him being CEO. I can say without any reservation that Sinofsky chances of being CEO of Microsoft are a negative 100%.
Sinofsky is a very unpopular guy inside Microsoft. I don't think he'll be welcome back with open arms. If anything, I bet they'd lose talent because of that move. Sinofsky reportedly made collaboration with other parts of the company difficult. The new Microsoft needs greater collaboration between the various divisions.
I honestly hope that they hire someone who is a technologist at heart. This is a company that needs a vision who understands the userbase of Windows. At the sametime, the future is in devices & services as Paul & Mary Jo pointed out what the board expects. The next CEO has to be jack of all trades & Sinofsky is use to shoving things down people's throats. That may have worked to some degree with Steve Jobs & Apple but it never worked for Microsoft.
I'm not going to venture a guess. Because honestly, I don't know. I have some ideas like everyone but it doesn't matter. I'm not on the board. I just hope the committee makes a great choice for the future.
I wonder if this unexpected announcement is front-running the September analysts meeting ... as in, MSFT will report bad financial news there. If you recall, MSFT did the same in late June with the reorg news before reporting the huge Surface write-off in July.
It could be dismal Back-to-School sales or the dreaded "lack of visibility" for future quarters (i.e. orders have dried up) or something else. My guess is that OEMs, who are moving to Android devices, have cut future orders.
Shocked and a little sad. As a developer Ballmer had passion for developers and technology and for his company.
Just like Margin Call, the Exec Board Helicopter in at 3am in the Mornings, and operate as a hidden corporate network coordinating the global space. We don't get to see it, but the exec boards have the talent and power, and wise to influence the direction of our mega companies. So I can believe it is they have been looking and keeping an eye our for successors.
But yeah, Microsoft is too big and complex to get us mere mortals to get a grip upon. I guess I would hope that they concentrated on Software and Services, and ensure that their software, (including games console sw) is lisenced to OEMs. Getting into hardware feels to much risk of p*ssing off the OEMs to my mind.
I guess I would wonder how Google are getting so diverse. Perhaps Microsoft need to slim down, and ensure their organisation is more agile and responsive like Google 'appear' to be operating. Perhaps that is what the exec board would expect from a new CEO. Perhaps Bill Gates is a problem, if he insists to continue the pursuit of Devices from his CEO.
It's certainly true Ballmer had passion for developers!
I think the main problem for his successor is Microsoft's low tablet marketshare. This problem is then exacerbated because the more people have iPads or Android the less important MIcrosoft Office and their server products could become as a proportion of people try to function without Office.
It'll really be interesting to see who takes over, but the highest-profile people have already been pushed out of the company.
If Paul starts being unavailable for his podcasts, I think we have our answer.
Oh please let it not be Sinofsky. He helped cause the whole current mess MS is in. Win 8.0 could have been 8.1 instead but for Sinofsky's stubbornness and unwillingness to compromise.
My prediction for Ballmer's successor:
The guy who went from Microsoft to Nokia.
"Five CEOs Who Should Have Already Been Fired (Cisco, GE, WalMart, Sears, Microsoft)". Forbes.
Not sure Sears but all those companies are huge and profitable. Bigger the company and more negative feedback there is. Microsoft measures very high in employee satisfaction.
Sinofsky? NFW. That guy is the poster child for the core problems at Microsoft, most particularly the 'adopt our radical change or adopt the competition' mentality.
The two egregious incidents are the development of Windows 8 and Xbox One's poorly received feature set and its requirements for delivering that.
First, Windows 8 was simply premature. Microsoft knew very well from overwhelming feedback that the Windows 8 UI was going to be a major problem in the existing mainstream market. The issue was not their attempt to make one OS that could do it all. The fault was in not making the OS complete in the amount of configuration option needed to not alienate a large portion of the customer base.
This could have been avoided if they shipped Windows RT as scheduled but held back on Windows 8 until those configuration features were in place and tested. If they'd gotten their act together at a sufficiently early date, this version of Windows 8 could have been ready in time for the Surface Pro launch. Yes, this would have meant covering the back to school and holiday seasons with Windows 7 but this would have been better than the half-baked Windows 8. Again, if they'd accepted that they had a problem that had to be addressed early enough, they could have scheduled a Service Pack for Win7 that included updated drivers andneeded less out of the box patching for new systems sales.
Sinofsky wasn't a factor in the Xbox One debacle but his attitude appeared to be emulated by the leadership of that team. Once again, Microsoft was completely oblivious to feedback in public forums and other places when articles based on leaked information motivated discussion of features that turned out to be genuine aspects of the Xbox One's intended usage scenario. A casual reading made it obvious that while some could appreciate the new functionality MS was trying to bring to the console world, the rejection by a very large portion of the market was intense and vociferous to say the least.
And once again, this could all have been avoided if choice was offered to the consumers. I had no problem with the X1 needing to phone home for a few minutes daily to win third party support for the feature set. The idea of being able to share libraries with my relatives and friends was quite enticing. And used games are such a rare purchase for me, despite owning many hundreds of games acquired at very low prices, that it would hardly change my life if they ceased to be available.
Fine for me but a great number of people did not care for this change at all. That Microsoft was caught by surprise at the intensity of the protest indicates something is really wrong in Redmond. Expecting wide acceptance of such broad changes to the traditional console model was astonishing. Were they completely oblivious to how people outside the industry regarded such things?
There is an old parable about how you boil a frog. If you throw a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediate jump out. If you put a frog in room temperature and raise the temperature slowly, the frog will remain comfortable while things change, until it is too late to realize it is being boiled.
Selling new ideas is a lot like boiling a frog. If you start by immediately putting frog in an uncomfortable situation, the frog isn't going to hang around to see if the idea has merit.
I'm simply a long-term user of Windows and other Microsoft products. It doesn't surprise me that Steve Ballmer is stepping down. I think it has been time for a few months now. Probably since Steve Jobs passed away. I'm very proud of Steve Ballmer and all that he has done for the company and computing around the world. What a great legacy to be part of. Hats off to the man. I'm not sure who else has what it takes to be a CEO of Microsoft, but I do know that it needs to be someone who seems less old school and appeals more to the younger generation.
I was never much into Apple, but I was often captivated by a Steve Jobs presentation, even just to appreciate his own enthusiasm about a product, if not mine.
Steve Ballmer knows so much about Microsoft. I expect he can't be replaced from that perspective.
So, I feel the best qualities a new CEO can have at this stage is a younger, fresh, intelligent persona, with above all an enjoyment and appreciation of the spotlight. Someone who loves the camera and doesn't mind making too many mistakes because they make up for it all with charm, wit and optimism.
I admire and respect Steve Ballmer. I hope he continues to prosper along with Microsoft. I'm looking forward to continuing to be a `PC' for the next 20 years and I'm very excited in where things go from here.
Paul, are you going to apply for and get the job? I think you would be an ideal candidate and think many readers of WinSupersite would agree. Just think of all the information you could supply your readers if you were the CEO. :)
What Microsoft doesn't need in the CEO department is a cult of personality such as nearly sunk Apple. Had Jobs not moved Apple away from Macs and into the MP3-player and cell-phone markets, Apple would already have become an historical footnote--and its isolationist, elitist, personality-cult foundations would have been responsible. Microsoft serves a much larger (by 20x) Windows market than Apple serves with OS X, and as such Microsoft cannot afford to emulate or copy Apple in any form. Microsoft needs to be all about products--namely, software products--while leaving the cults to lesser companies who must use such devices to survive. It isn't the personality of the Microsoft CEO that will ensure Microsoft's continuing success, it's the *products* Microsoft will offer that will tell the tale. It has ever been such with Microsoft.
***On to other things...you know, I love the images posted here that depict Mary Jo and Paul and occasionally some other people, too (like Tom), when doing their shows. They are so incredibly expressive! For instance, take the side-by-side shots of Mary Jo and Paul posted above, and imagine "thought clouds" connecting to each person (like in a comic) to denote what both people were actually thinking privately at the time these pictures were taken:
Paul: "If that unruly wench thinks she's going to get one up on me here on my own show, by God I'll show her a thing or two!"
Mary Jo: "Yea, go ahead and laugh, you klutz! Cut me off again like that and I've got a red-hot poker right here that I'm going to ram into your nether parts and with the greatest of all possible pleasures!"
Tom: "OK, you two, keep me out of it! SHeee-e-e-e-esh!"
I mean, can't you just envision it???
**Of course, just kidding folks!...;) But it is funny, I think, to imagine the thoughts that lie behind the expressions! Guys--seriously--I really do think you cut off Mary Jo just a tad too much.
Would Jon (father of the iPod) Rubinstein be out of the question ?
SuperSite for Windows
Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×