My full throated defense of Steve Ballmer

Disclaimer: I have never worked for Microsoft, have never been compensated by them and am not now. I am going to put my neck out there on the chopping block and say that I actually believe that Steve Ballmer is doing the best job humanly possible as CEO of Microsoft. OK, most of you who read this blog may have spilled whatever you were drinking when you saw this headline. That’s pretty understandable. Let me start by disclosing that my previous blog posts have been generally negative about the job that Ballmer is doing and has done. No one in their right mind can accuse me of being a Ballmer fan or a Microsoft groupie. If you do, you simply haven’t read a lot of my posts. I do pride myself on being as objective as the circumstances call for. Whenever critics savage Ballmer, it’s typically about sins of the past. Could Microsoft (i.e. Steve Ballmer) have been more aggressive regarding the web, the ipod, the Iphone, the ipad, search engines, tablets etc. Yes. Yes. Yes. Is Microsoft perceived as slow and lagging behind Google, Apple and Amazon among others? Yes. Yes. Yes. Does the CEO of Microsoft have flamboyant style that is easy to mock and carricature online? Yes. Yes. Yes. But a curious thing happens once you get past all that. Once you understand the vision that Microsoft has of the future and the methodical steps the company is taking to actualize that vision, it’s not that easy to throw rocks anymore. The truth is, Microsoft have a very reasonable vision for Windows 8 – the creation of a platform that will span the Desktop, Server, Tablet, Phone, Xbox and Search Engine. That’s not funny, it makes sense. The emphasis on Azure as a cloud solution that will in many ways tie these devices together seems pretty smart to me. It’s where Amazon and Apple are going. The plan to empower developers with tools that will make it easy for them to build apps and the plan to make these apps seamless work across the platform seems like a very smart move to me. The BUILD conference that generated tons of buzz for the strategic direction that Microsoft is going was executed pretty well (give or take). I guess what I’m saying is, I read a lot of criticism of Steve and quite frankly, I don’t know what more he could do at this point with a ship the size of the Redmond Giant. Now, I have my thoughts about the Windows 8 platform (which I will share in an upcoming video review) and there is some room for improvement. I can concede that but a CEO should be judged by whether they are doing all they possibly can to move their company forward. I cannot think of much right now that Steve B isn’t doing that he could be doing. One more prediction and this is my personal view. I believe that Windows 8 and the creation of this elaborate wide ranging architecture is Steve Ballmer’s final act at Microsoft. I personally believe that after this is all launched and deployed, he will leave Microsoft. Can I prove it? no but it’s a very educated guess. In light of that, I have to believe that he is putting his all into making sure this release is successful. He has empowered Steve Sinofsky and team to do their best and I haven’t heard any rumors that Microsoft employees aren’t gettng the resources that they need (either on or off the record). This is his final play and I believe he’s giving it 110% He once said that Windows 8 is the riskiest product bet that Microsoft is developing and I have to say, I didnt understand it then but I do now. He was right. All the chips are on the table but no matter how this turns out, I have to salute the CEO who had the balls to put the chips there in the first place.]]>

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