Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Comparing Ballmer to Bush: Why Fortune Got It Wrong

Fortune magazine is one of the most prestigious magazines in the world. I was lucky enough to intern there as a college senior -- an experience that made me really want to be a journalist.

So I was more than a bit surprised to read an article that compared Steve Ballmer's failures to those of George W. Bush. The column used the recent Microsoft annual employee meeting as a launch point. It regurgitated rumors, still unsubstantiated, that employees fled Ballmer's speech like fans in the last quarter of a Kansas City Chiefs home game.

The three-named author Philip Elmer-DeWitt said, "Steve Ballmer has done to Microsoft what George W. Bush did to the United States from 2000-2008 -- run things straight into the ground."

I'm not going to say what I think of George W. If I am too kind, the Bush haters will hate me. Too rough and supporters will rough me up.

Does Dewitt think all his readers agree with his Bush assessment or does he just not care? I, unlike De(half)witt, am unwilling to alienate as much as half my readers by getting overly political.

I also think he is wrong about Ballmer. Yesterday I had a fine seafood lunch with a storage networking exec. My guest made an off-hand remark about Microsoft's current malaise and Ballmer's failures.

I pointed out that Microsoft is held to a crazy high standard. Does Microsoft have Facebook? No, but Facebook only has Facebook -- and nothing else.

Does Microsoft have an iPhone, iPad or iPod? No, but does Apple have Windows Server, Lync, Visual Studio or the Xbox? Course not.

If Microsoft doesn't win each and every battle, or invent each and every cool new thing, it is a failure. Heck, even the New England Patriots lose a game every now and again.

Who's right, me or Dumbwitt? Cast your vote at

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/01/2011 at 1:18 PM


  • Microsoft Ups Its Windows 10 App Compatibility Assurances

    Microsoft gave assurances this week that organizations adopting Windows 10 likely won't face application compatibility issues.

  • SharePoint Online Users To Get 'Modern' UI Push in April

    Microsoft plans to alter some of the tenant-level blocking capabilities that may have been set up by organizations and deliver its so-called "modern" user interface (UI) to Lists and Libraries for SharePoint Online users, starting in April.

  • How To Use PowerShell Splatting

    Despite its weird name, splatting can be a really handy technique if you create a lot of PowerShell scripts.

  • New Microsoft Customer Agreement for Buying Azure Services To Start in March

    Microsoft will have a new approach for organizations buying Azure services called the "Microsoft Customer Agreement," which will be available for some customers starting as early as this March.

comments powered by Disqus
Most   Popular

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.