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Steve “Mad” Ballmer to quit as Microsoft CEO

August 23, 2013
Steve Ballmer

Well… Halo runs on Xbox doesn’t it?

How sad. Microsoft could be competitive in less than a year. The Redmond-based software-and-hardware company announced today that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer would be stepping down within 12 months. Microsoft stock rose nine per cent on the news.

Steve Ballmer went to college with Microsoft founders Bill Gates, and Paul Allen, and started with Microsoft in 1980. He became CEO of Microsoft in 2000, after Bill Gates stepped down.

Ballmer is said to be smart as a whip, but he’s always come off publicly as more than a bit of a clownish huckster. Elevation to Microsoft’s CEO in 2000 only magnified his “bull in a china shop” optics. Steve Ballmer had the misfortune of becoming Microsoft CEO the same year Steve Jobs became Apple’s self-proclaimed “iCEO” In the i-era, Jobs completely out-general-ed, out-coached, and outmaneuvered Ballmer at every turn. Ballmer probably couldn’t have helped Apple more if he had worked for them. He blithely, and blindly laughed at, and ridiculed, each of the iProducts, as they pushed Apple back into profitability, and, in 2012, past Microsoft in market capitalization.

Ballmer seriously hated on opensource and Linux, infamously calling Linux, “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.” Balmer repeatedly threatened to sue opensource developers for patent infringement. Even without merit backing up it’s claims, the threats alone, given Microsoft’s legal resources, were designed to have a chilling effect on the opensource movement.

Steve Ballmer  tenure as CEO has been a near-total disaster for Microsoft. Under his tenure, Apple came back from the dead to become a thriving innovative tech darling, and opensourse, with Google’s help, has come out of nowhere to dominate cell phones. Microsoft has repeatedly been caught off-guard, and left playing catch-up against it’s rivals. It’s responses: Zune for the iPod, Vista for OS X, Windows 8 Phone for Android, and Surface for the iPad, have all failed.

Microsoft’s board has reportedly begun the process to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO. Ballmer himself is quoted in Microsoft’s announcement as saying:

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.”

Wrong again Steve — 13 year, and 7 months ago, would’ve been a perfect time. From all the Apple users, and Linux users you slagged, and tried to terrorize with your “fear-leading” tactics: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

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