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Ballmer Bashing Time

For many in the media, Microsoft bashing is a regular sport. And the favorite event here is Ballmer bashing. Armed with just a J-degree, a well-worn keyboard and copy of WordStar, these scribes think of all kinds of reasons why Mr. Ballmer is such a failure.

The latest entrant, Forbes, which places Ballmer's wealth at nearly $17 billion, now also ranks him as the executive most in need of firing:

"Not only has he singlehandedly steered Microsoft out of some of the fastest growing and most lucrative tech markets (mobile music, handsets and tablets) but in the process he has sacrificed the growth and profits of not only his company but 'ecosystem' companies such as Dell, Hewlett Packard and even Nokia. The reach of his bad leadership has extended far beyond Microsoft when it comes to destroying shareholder value -- and jobs."

Now, keep in mind that Microsoft has never lost money, has record after record quarters, owns the gaming console market, server database market, PC and laptop OS market, PC server market, productivity software market and is now making a nice cloud play.

So it didn't invent the iPad. Boo hoo!

Guess who else is on the list? Mike Duke, head of Walmart, and John Chamber, head of Cisco. I guess decimating nearly any and all competition isn't enough for the ink-stained hacks at Forbes.

I think a little Forbes bashing is in order. Walmart and Cisco? Give me a break!

Who makes your list and how do you rank Mr. Ballmer? Honest and forthright opinions always welcome at

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/16/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Fri, May 18, 2012 Tom S

I think marketing (and follow through) is truely Microsoft's biggest problem. We can debate everything else, but when it comes down to it their marketing pretty much stinks and that's what people see - it's holding them back. They're not considered cool or hip by the mainstream. Consider iOS, it's a nice stable platform, but so is WP. So why are iPhones (and not WPs) everywhere? See any glowing Windows logos on laptops lately? Ever? Anyone? What would happen to Apple if OSX or iOS were licensed to run on non-Apple hw? What about Windows stores? Where are they? Okay there are about 16 now but none here in NYC. How about WP adverts? Do they show off the fluidity, UI and features of the phone? No. Now look at a droid commercial - shows the phone in a cool way. I think their marketing leaves a lot of room for improvement. Regarding tech issues, pick any product and honestly ask yourself what's wrong with it. Kin and Zune - Were they really bad prods? If so why? Azure and Silverlight - Probably the best things to come out of MSFT but people knock them, why? Windows Live - Okay,,, here I'll say the UIs are pretty ugly, but functionaly WinLive serviers are pretty good (naming also stinks too). Win7 on a tablet - It's okay and it works. It's certainly not as 'touchable' as iOS, but Win8 will address this - time will tell if people like it or not. However here's a potential prob in the making and that is Win8 on the DESKTOP. MSFT prob should make a few changes such as allowing the user to select the default desktop and locking that deskop in place as well as bringing back the Start btn before the market fragments into aftermarket 'start btn' solutions all over the place (it will happen). WOA - here I have no problem with MSFT locking down the platform as they see fit - Apple does it and why? Two words: User Experience. Some say 'give the user the choice', to which I reply 'they did with every version of Windows to date, and look what users have done'. What if Microsoft created the ZUNE tablet, and called it Zune on Arm? Would it then be ok to lock it down? Must everything MSFT does be completely 'open' in terms of interoperability and 3rd party integration? Just my thoughts.

Wed, May 16, 2012 ibsteve2u Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Maybe I should have just said "Look how the iPad and Android markets are booming, and ask it .'cuz they'll do the basics of what you want straight out of the box, and somebody-other-than-their-vendor can whip together an app for anything else you think of without your having to slam together a multimillion dollar, offshored, constantly delayed, and ultimately unsatisfactory project?".

Wed, May 16, 2012 ibsteve2u Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The horse and buggy used to have the #1 share in transportation. Do they now? Microsoft obtained the #1 share everywhere because they initially made life easy for the developer and, in so doing, made the consumer - home, or business - happy because the consumer could quickly obtain solutions to the problems they faced. Does Microsoft still do that, or have they transformed development into a profit center - and so made the developer "just another customer" rather than a strategic advantage? All of which is a long-winded way to say "What now provides evidence that Microsoft's long-term prospects are any better than the horse and buggy?" The horse and buggy went away in large part because you were so intimately tied to the care and feeding of that horse...with Microsoft's attempts to restrict Windows development to "One Microsoft Way", they're building in that same irksome factor of mandatory conformity to the desires - the whims, even - of the beast.

Wed, May 16, 2012 John A. Ward Eugene, OR

Well you list of accomplishments is a little long; #1. The Server market has a faster growing competitor (Linux) #2. The internet server market is already owned by Linux. #3. MS DOES own the desktop market, although there are valid competiors #4. The gaming market seems to have a number of companies that seem to be doing well. #5. Unfortunately for MS, the growth in the computer market seems to be MOBIL (phones, pads, etc.) and MS isn't a real player (yet) in any of the markets, they are playing catch-up to a pretty big segment! Possibly NOT the most forward thinking individual, but he seems able to keep doing what he was left with.

Wed, May 16, 2012

Couldn't agree more with both Forbes and Tom above - Ballmer and Sinofsky need to be purged and Scott Guthrie put into a position in which he has the power to at least attempt reversing the damage done to Microsoft by the other ass-clowns abandonment of SIlverlight, hosing of Windows Phone and the slow-motion train wreck that is Windows 8/ARM/WOA/RT (all of that DOA, for sure). I don't know that even Guthrie can reverse the massive damage done to Microsoft's credibility within the developer and enterprise communities, but his ascendancy would at least restore a minimalistic sense of hope, at a time in which I've none whatsoever. Have heard a lot of people say Windows 8 will be another Vista or worse, but they've got it wrong - Windows 8 is far more akin to the resurrection of 'BOB'. Purge the ass-clowns and do it soon!!!!!!

Wed, May 16, 2012 Dan Iowa

Heh! Can we please at least let it be released for maybe a week or so before we labeel Windows 8/ARM/WOA/RT a failure?

Wed, May 16, 2012 Dan Iowa

I forget how we are supposed to judge the virtues of Microsoft. Is it based on profits? Or are we to key in on a specific product that Microsoft has marketed? To my mind the worst leader was Bill Gates. He never could get people to buy Microsoft Bob. Microsoft has been an utter failure ever since... right?

Wed, May 16, 2012 Tom Hockman Columbus, Ohio

Yes, Ballmer needs to be pushed out in favor of someone, anyone, with enough vision to keep the many subcomponents of Microsoft working together. There have been way too may failed products and initiatives that were lost due to lack of leadership. Windows Live. Zune. Azure. Kin, Silverlight. Windows 8/ARM/WOA/RT (a disaster still in progress). The record profits are notable, but Ballmer didn't invent or oversee development of those cash cows. He is responsible for the new initiatives failing under his watch. One wonders how much MORE profit Microsoft could be making with better leadership.

Wed, May 16, 2012

Mish on the 'net detailed how Joh Chambers has been looting shareholder value from Cisco for more than a decade by having the company buy his own stock back (rather than selling it on the market for less). Being fired is the least that should happen to him.

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