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Ballmer’s resignation could be key to Microsoft’s survival, says former exec

Tuesday, 22nd January 2013 09:16 GMT By Dave Cook

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been painted as a formidable force at the top of the company’s executive ladder, who would oust up-and-coming employees he feared would challenge his position of power. That’s the claim of former Microsoft exec Joachim Kempin, who has called for Ballmer’s resignation in order to see Microsoft’s revival, and has discussed Ballmer’s supposedly aggressive survival tactics in a new book.

Reuters reports that Kempin’s book, ‘Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft’s “secret power broker” breaks his silence’, states that Ballmer is out of touch with the current market, and that someone in the 35-40 age bracket is needed to get Microsoft in line with the Facebooks and other social trends in today’s world.

Speaking with the site, Kempin stated, “Is he a great CEO? I don’t think so. 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.”

Kempin, who left Microsoft in 2002, added that since 2000 Ballmer had ousted any exec who had a chance of dethroning him as CEO. Kempin first witnessed Ballmer’s aggressive streak in relation to Richard Belluzzo, the very same exec credited with the launch of Microsoft’s original Xbox.

After rising to chief operating officer, he quit Microsoft after 14 months. Kempin said of his departure, “He (Belluzzo) had no room to breathe on the top. 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.”

Elsewhere, Kempin added that Microsoft missed repeat opportunities to launch a tablet devive, and stated, “Steve is a very good business guy, but make him a chief operating officer, not a CEO, and your business is going to go gangbusters. I respect that guy (Ballmer), but there are some limitations in what he can and can’t do and maybe he hasn’t realized them himself.”

What’s your take on the seemingly messy ordeal? Should Ballmer stay, or go? Let us know below.

Thanks Gi.Biz.

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17 Comments

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  1. The Auracle

    I’m sorry Joachim Kempin had to experience that kind of treatment but I would’ve thought that is very symptomatic of the executive culture. Ballmer’s not a nice guy and comes off as a control freak (take Jobs and Gates, for example) but unfortunately, I can’t say [from the outside looking in] he’s done anything to damage the company’s rep. If anything, he’s the guy that has been part of Microsoft’s transition phase and the entire Windows 8 ecosystem is proof of that. I can’t say he’s that out of touch as a leader because to his credit, he has recognised at least some things that Microsoft needed to implement.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. viralshag

    Personally I like W8, and like any mobile I think it has a lot of connectivity with things like Facebook and Twitter through the apps. I don’t really use them myself. I think the Xbox has done great and I don’t really see it behind in social applications either.

    I just don’t think there is a market desperate to upgrade to the new Windows OS every time they launch a new one.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Christopher Jack

    Anyone here actually waste time with those star menu apps? I personally hate it. You notice how clunky it really is when you’re using multiple screens all the time.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Erthazus

    windows 7 is fantastic.
    windows 8 I don’t know. Never used it and I’m fine with my W7 to be honest.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Mike W

    I always thought MS was doing great. They sure do paint a picture of that when they announce the numbers on how well their good products is selling. I wonder how that “Surface” is selling? ;)

    #5 1 year ago
  6. viralshag

    I have multiple screens at home (two monitors and a TV I need manually switch to as my gfx card doesn’t support three screens) and I have no problems using W8 or the apps.

    My main problem with it at the moment are some of the apps are downright useless, like the Skype app.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. BraveArse

    Ballmer’s always struck me as the archetypal corporate psychopath. I seem to remember a story just when he took over from Gates which painted him in that light.

    Thing is, most of them are the same ( I’m willing to bet this bloke is as well: narcissistic, willing to put the boot in, etc. etc. ) when you get anywhere near the top of a large corporation, or even small wannabe ones in my experience. I still can’t get my head round why we let people like that get to the top in all walks of life.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. manamana

    Nail/head. Thanks BraveArse, you made my day.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Diingo

    A company becomes lazy after soaking in their monopoly for 20+ years which stifles their innovation. The lack of competition over the years has made them weaken from the inside – suddenly when their marketshare is threatened they try to reinvent themselves as being the new “hip & cool” corporation… do they not realize people perceive them as a company without a sense of culture?

    #9 1 year ago
  10. ps3fanboy

    Ballmer was lucky and was there at the right time. After all Ballmer just drank he’s way though collage and wasn’t that interested in getting an education. He was Bill Gates drinking buddy, all he was good at was using his mouth and brute force. So he was a perfect fit for young Bill Gates at the time, if he wanted to persuade someone or didn’t want to deal with stuff he just send Ballmer. So both hang together, Bill Gates at the time was a very intelligent young man, that was couple of years ahead of his classmates. So when he thought of the idea of a software (that become windows) to sell for IBM, he quit school and did bring with him Ballmer to start up Microsoft.

    And here we are today, Ballmer the drunk collage bozo and loser is an billionaire, running one of the worlds biggest companies. It’s pretty crazy to think about.

    If Bill Gate have kicked out Ballmer or didn’t bring him along. He would most likely ended up as a drunk car sales that is retired today…

    #10 1 year ago
  11. BraveArse

    @8 you are very welcome. ;)

    #11 1 year ago
  12. roadkill

    @7 You’re right but, there’s no “we”! I’m not buying Wincrap 8! I’m not supporting this guy.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. livewired500

    @10 Hard to take your post seriously when you misspell college, twice.

    Win8 isn’t that bad. It’s Win7 with a fancy start menu. Not as bad as Win ME between 98 and XP or Vista between XP and 7.

    Balmer definitely shouldn’t be doing reveal events. I thought the one for Surface was pretty terrible. They need some younger spokesperson up there trying to make the Microsoft products “cool.”

    I’m not a fan of Apple products, but Jobs had that whole “cool geek” vibe to him, so it worked for him. Even Tim Cook couldn’t pull off the iPad mini reveal like Jobs, though I think he is a better CEO for Apple going forward.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Da Man

    Steve Jobs (despite being an utter arsehole) wouldn’t even greenlight the release of anything close to the iPad Mini.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. mistermogul

    I’ve been saying for ages Ballmer needs to go. Under his control MS has only copied and not innovated. Plus where they have copied they have generally failed. The stock value is a perfect reflection of this fact.

    Plus anyone who introduces himself like this at a company presentation should be fired immediately…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc

    #15 1 year ago
  16. Deacon

    @15 – I don’t have a way of expressing how utterly disgusted I look right now after watching that.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. DSB

    @2 It’s all a bit up in the air, but a lot of people are suggesting that Windows 8 is trailing Windows Vista, which is pretty abysmal.

    One firm puts Windows 8 at 1.8% of the entire Windows market, which means that Windows 7 was more than three times more succesful on launch.

    Even more are saying that Microsoft are cutting a heel to save a toe by releasing an operating system that doesn’t actually go beyond Windows 7 in terms of what it does with hardware.

    At least if you ask analysts, that’s going to contribute to declining hardware sales, and it stands to reason that the fewer PCs are sold, the smaller Microsofts own market gets.

    #17 1 year ago