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Is Windows 8 Ballmer's Last Stand?

A Fortune article that has some pretty positive things to say about Microsoft's future makes a side note about Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer likely retiring after the launch of Windows 8. The thinking goes, Ballmer will take the opportunity to leave the company in the wake of a highly successful launch, with the OS'es success vindicating Ballmer's mission to provide Windows throuugh various form factors (PCs to mobile phones to tablets to embeds).

I believe it'll happen -- do you? The article names Stephen Sinofsky as a likely successor, but a likely successor isn't often the best one. If Ballmer indeed retires, who would you want to see at the helm?

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/17/2012 at 11:59 AM


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Reader Comments:

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 Steve Stites

My comment was too long and I posted it in two pieces. The two pieces are reversed. Read my third comment first, then my second. ------------------- Steve Stites

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 Steve Stites

Now comes Steve Ballmer who is besieged as President of Microsoft. For two years or more there has been widespread calls for Steve Ballmer to be fired for his lack of performance as President of Microsoft. Steve Ballmer has defended himself by setting a self proclaimed series of objectives as the measure of whether he is doing a good job. These objectives include Windows 8 on the desktop, Windows 8 on tablets, and the next Microsoft mobile phone software release. Windows 8 on the desktop is irrelevant to Microsoft's desktop sales. Desktop sales are driven by Microsoft's illegal contracts with the hardware manufactures. Microsoft will sell the same number of desktop computers whether they provide Windows 8, Windows 7, or MSDOS. Windows 8 on the tablet is at least three years late already. Microsoft is porting Windows to a new architecture, ARM. The first time that you port a piece of software to a new architecture it is very difficult. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that technical problems at Microsoft are solved by political conflict which means that it is coincidence when the best technical solution is chosen. If and when Microsoft ever releases Windows 8 for tablets it will be so buggy that it will be unusable. In the case of the Microsoft mobile phone software, Microsoft already launched and aborted the first release. Now Microsoft is paying Nokia and Verizon large amounts of money to wait for the next version of Windows mobile software. Time is dragging on as Microsoft engages in their usual practice of playing cut-throat politics with the technical specs. How is Microsoft ever going to make money on an obsolete, buggy piece of software that they have to pay their customers to accept? I can only come to the conclusion that Steve Ballmer's self set objectives are irrelevant to either Microsoft's future or Steve Ballmer's tenure. The Microsoft Board of Directors should fire Steve Ballmer immediately and bring in somebody from the outside to run Microsoft. ------------------- Steve Stites

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 Steve Stites

Robert McNamara was part of a team of outside consultants hired by Ford in the 1950's to rationalize Ford's chaotic management. The team successfully applied modern management techniques to Ford's management and McNamara rose to be president of Ford. In 1961 President Kennedy appointed McNamara to be Secretary of Defence where McNamara served from 1961 through 1968 under both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Robert McNamara was totally in charge of the American war effort in Viet Nam. He consistently overrode his high ranking military subordinates when they tried to get him to wage the Viet Nam war on sound military principles. Instead Robert McNamara prosecuted the Viet Nam war using "management by objective". The first phase of American involvement consisted of supplying and training the South Vietnamese army. Everything that the American military did was done by management by objective. The second phase of the war under Lyndon Johnson was a direct massive invasion of South Viet Nam by America. For seven years McNamara directed all of this using management by objective. The military responded by always meeting the objectives, always, even if they had to lie in their reports about what they had accomplished. When the American press corps ventured away from the shelter of the Saigon bars they often reported discrepancies between McNamara's objectives and what the military was actually doing. In particular they ridiculed "body counts". The captains and majors always reported meeting their body count objectives no matter what. Over the years the military met every single one of McNamara's frequently changing objectives, often honestly, and America lost the Viet Nam war. This leads one to believe that achieving McNamara's objectives was irrelevant to winning the Viet Nam war.

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