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Steve Ballmer's Wiseguy Name and Other Reader Reactions

Before we get to Ballmer's mafia handle, let's look at a few reader e-mails on other topics.

Colin quite rightly called your editor out for having been too lazy to look up the old magazine cover with Apple's logo and the word "Pray" on it that we referenced last week. Turns out it was Wired, not Upside, that ran the cover -- and it turns out that the cover's quite famous, as you'll see from Colin's note:

"I have to say, you were almost asking for this...I put 'apple pray' (without the quotation marks) into Google, and return No. 5 was:

"Which led me to [#33] and"

Well done, Colin, and thanks.

On Vista activation, suddenly an important topic in Redmond, apparently, Mark says that he's had just about enough -- and he thinks that others might have, too:

"Having been a mostly loyal Windows shop since Windows 3.11, before that DOS going back to version 3.2, I am happy that each version of Windows subsequently released gets better and more stable (with the exception of Millennium Edition; that was a complete disaster!).

"Starting with Windows XP the activation issues have been forcing me to look into the viability of Linux as opposed to Windows. The latest changes in Vista, both OS features/enhancements and increased WGA requirements are actively accelerating my movement away from Microsoft and to the alternatives, which are becoming more viable with each passing day.

"I believe that as soon as Linux can be installed and used as 'easily' as Windows, that will mark the first serious landmark in the downfall of MS Windows. Techies deal with 'stuff' every day; for us, install problems are not insurmountable. Windows has fewer and fewer install issues as time progresses, but Linux is catching up. That day is coming, and I believe sooner rather than later. Driver issues, lack of compatibility with existing software, annoying pop-ups asking to confirm everything one does -- these are all factors that will quietly cause the trickle of defectors to become a roaring tsunami."

We wonder, Mark, whether Redmond hears the waves starting to pound on the shore.

OK, enough of the serious stuff. We told you this week that Microsoft's Wiseguys are about to face a RICO charge (well, lawsuit) and wondered what you thought Steve Ballmer's mafia name might be -- if the mafia actually existed the way it does in "The Sopranos."

We got some great suggestions, the first from Tom: "La Cosa Visto, and his name is 'Balls.' Or shall we just call him 'Big Cahones'?"

Jon, who's in serious danger of becoming a serial e-mailer, chimed in with: "How about 'The emBallmer'?"

Pretty good, both of them. William went with something that makes Ballmer sound a bit more like a '50s rock star than a mafioso, but it certainly fits: "How about 'Screamin' Stevie Ballmer,' for his onstage antics?"

And Chris went with a more violent theme: "Steve 'The Crusher' Ballmer or Steve 'IronFist' or 'The Fist' Ballmer."

Good entries all. But our winner this week comes from Joel, who plays Ballmer's job title off nicely with a Bobby Knight-esque rampage for which the Microsoft chief has become dubiously famous: "Doesn't it have to be 'The Chair-Man'?"

You know, Joel, it really does.

Thanks to everybody for your e-mails on all sorts of topics. Keep them coming to [email protected], and don't forget to get in arguments and call each other names (hey, I know how this Internet stuff works) in the comments section of each entry on the blog site at I might even join in from time to time.

Spring is here...have a great weekend!

Posted by Lee Pender on 05/11/2007 at 1:20 PM


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