Stop Criticizing Steve Ballmer, Says Analyst

Finally someone alternative views on Steve Ballmer. Microsoft’s CEO has taken some tough decisions in the past few years, all of which led to him becoming one of the most criticized executives around.

The slow uptake of Windows 8 along with (comparatively) lukewarm sales of the Surface tablets are cited as one of the two main factors — but things like retirement of a lot of cherished products and services (think Windows XP, Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger) did not help either.

Necessary evil, but there you have it.

Anyway, several market watchers and analysts seem believe that the direction Microsoft is taking under Ballmer’s management is not satisfactory. A lot of them have even taken their views to the media.

But there are some that do not completely blame him for Microsoft’s strategy.

Colin Gillis, a technology analyst over at BGC Partners, talking to BBC, held a view that Steve Ballmer has also done a lot of good things as the head of the technology titan. The CEO does not deserve to be so heavily criticized according to the analyst:

“Kinect at the time was the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in history, XBox was also fast selling. And that was a very competitive marketplace.

He’s built up a multi-billion-dollar enterprise business, but the flipside is the computing landscape has shifted and Microsoft has not shifted well with it – this is the rise of smartphones and tablets.”

Gillis does however maintain that Ballmer probably made his share of leadership mistakes, the most critical of them being allowing Sinofsky to leave:

“A lot of it is down to the leadership. It’s fair to critique him in that area. But if you’re going to penalise him in the areas where he’s late to market you also need to give him credit for areas where he was successful.”

But the gist of the matter, according to the analyst, is that those who criticize the CEO should also take into account all the good things he has done, all the good decisions he has undertaken since becoming the chief executive officer of Microsoft.

What is your take on the all this? Are people right to lay all the blame squarely on Steve Ballmer? Or are they correct in saying that his time is up, and a change of direction at the top is due?

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