Another call for Steve Ballmer to go

Don Reisinger from eweek has gone through the rather predictable excercise of pointing out that Steve Ballmer’s performance as CEO of Microsoft is less than stellar. In Don’s article, he goes through 10 different reasons why Steve should go and most of them are pretty obvious.

I do like number 3 though..

As mentioned, Ballmer talked up Windows Phone 7 quite a bit at CES. He also reported that the company’s mobile app marketplace now has 5,000 apps. Considering Apple’s store has over 300,000 programs and the Android Market has around 200,000 apps, it probably wasn’t the best figure to mention.

Moreover, Ballmer did little to allay fears that the company’s previous sales announcement of 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 devices shipped in its first six weeks of availabilitywas an anomaly.

Apple sells millions of iPhones every quarter. Google is seeing hundreds of thousands of Android devices activated each day. And yet, Ballmer couldn’t find a single Windows Phone 7-related stat that would put Microsoft on anywhere near a level playing field. That’s not good.

That is a pretty sad stat for the Windows phone.

Here’s the deal. Steve Ballmer is a good guy. He had/has the confidence of one of the wisest and richest men in the world (Bill Gates) and as a CEO, for a while, he wasn’t that bad.

The problem is that too much has changed in the past decade on his watch and it is disturbing to see Microsoft struggle with how to make the change in leadership.

Steve is not a bad person and in fact, I posit that he is a very smart person but sometimes even the smartest people in the world miss a paradigm shift.

I am 38 years old and realize that I have no idea what music is “hip” anymore these days. When I guess, my younger cousins are the ones who gently correct me and tell me that the artists that I am talking about are “so last year” or “not hot”.

That doesn’t make me a bad person, it just tells me that I am getting older and my focus should probably be on something a little different OR I should depend on younger trendier people to help me figure the music thing out.

Likewise, Steve missed a paradigm shift – A major one. Windows Phone 7 came too late, IE still stinks as a browser, Windows Vista was awful, Iphone and Ipad should have been Microsoft’s and Google sealed the deal. All (or most) on his watch.

Now most of these mistakes alone would be enough to sink a regular CEO. With Microsoft it’s not that easy.

The company is doing well and has tens of billions of dollars in cash. The problem is they have ceded the top innovator spot and crucial mind-share to other companies.

Today Verizon and Apple announced they would be offering the Iphone to customers and the internet is abuzz with the analysis.

There is real excitement about this and even the naysayers are only resistant because of the upcoming launch of the Iphone 5 – another Apple product.

Microsoft need to get that buzz back because it’s gone.

Unfortunately they may need another CEO to do it…


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