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Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco
by vijayninel 24-08-13





Steve Ballmer forced out after $900M Surface Fiasco
Steve Ballmer was finally forced out of his CEO chair by Microsoft's board of directors, who were furious when Microsoft took a $900 million write-off to account for an oversupply of the firm's struggling Surface RT tablet according to Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy.

Microsoft had ordered a large number of Surface laplets in hopes that it will become a runaway success, but that never happened and the Surfaces are gathering dust in Microsoft's warehouses. On 13th August several US law firms joined forces to sue Microsoft, accusing the company of misleading shareholders about sales of the Surface RT tablet and calling its entry into the market an "unmitigated disaster."

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, named several Microsoft executives as co-defendants, including CEO Steve Ballmer, former CFO Peter Klein, current marketing leader Tami Reller, and Frank Brod, the firm's chief accounting officer.



The disastrous Surface laplet which led to Ballmer's downfall

In 2008, Ballmer said publicly that he planned to stay at Microsoft until his youngest son was off to college. That would have kept Ballmer in Redmond until around 2018. (with some luck until his youngest son finished his PHD) In his email to Microsoft workers, Ballmer seemed to hint that the retirement was not his idea, but that he was being forced out. "This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do. I take this step in the best interests of the company I love," he wrote.

There had been an growing chorus of people calling for Ballmer to go for sometime now and the calls were getting bigger over time. Ballmer not only missed big tech trends like search and mobile but has also taken Microsoft's cash cow - Windows in an entirely different direction which users are not enthusiastic about. The Surface fiasco seemed to be the proverbial last straw which broke the camels back.

In 2011 Hedge fund manager David Einhorn had said that Ballmer should step down, saying "His continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock". On the company review site Glassdoor.com in 2012, Microsoft employees rated Ballmer as the worst tech CEO. Also in 2012, the Forbes writer Adam Hartung said Ballmer was America's worst CEO and deserved to be fired, writing "Without a doubt, Mr. Ballmer is the worst CEO of a large publicly traded American company today...he singlehandedly steered Microsoft out of some of the fastest growing and most lucrative tech markets (mobile music, handsets and tablets)...The reach of his bad leadership has extended far beyond Microsoft when it comes to destroying shareholder value -- and jobs." This year, former Microsoft executive Joachim Kempin, who headed Microsoft's OEM group before leaving the company in 2002, said Ballmer was Microsoft's biggest problem, and needed to be fired.

After he was fired there was a collective sigh of relief and Microsoft shares rallied sharply. While Ballmer's departure is a welcome step, he is leaving Microsoft in disarray. While the person who has led this downfall - Steven Sinofsky is thankfully also out, the others dont seem to inspire much confidence either. I hope that the Micorosft board brings in someone from outside Microsoft to get the company and its products back on track.

Ballmer selling Windows in the good old days.

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  #2  
Old 24-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Many failures under him. Windows Mobile delayed due to him and ios/android grew due to it. They were too late to come to party. Windows Surface was a worldwide flop. Windows 8 getting -ve feedback everywhere. This was ought to happen.
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Old 24-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Now as he is going out, let us see who will fill the shoes. !
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Old 24-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Originally Posted by ManISinJpr View Post
Now as he is going out, let us see who will fill the shoes. !
I dont see many capable people in Micorsoft now. The problem is that not only was Ballmer incompetent, but he also put a lot of incompetent people in high places. IMO the board should also fire a few other people (Julie larson-Green for one) and bring in some new people from outside to steer the company back on track.
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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Originally Posted by Fenix View Post
Many failures under him. Windows Mobile delayed due to him and ios/android grew due to it. They were too late to come to party. Windows Surface was a worldwide flop. Windows 8 getting -ve feedback everywhere. This was ought to happen.
It's really easy to say that failures were only due to him.
Yes, he made mistakes.
But who dosen't?

But what he has established is what we see. He's the reason why we see today's Xbox - the only console to torch a fight against PlayStation. Wii is out of the question now.

He has brought the most profit of MS.
Yes, revamped WP arrived late. But now, it's capturing the market.
RT had a pottential, but it failed.

But Windows 8 is really successful IMO. That OS is futuristic. I don't care about reviews, but i've used it, and can gurantee you, you'll not go back to W7 after experiencing the smoothness and intuitiveness of W8.
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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


I work with a Computer MNC and been working with it for the past 9 years. We have a return rate of more than 30% in Windows 8 PC as people do not like it. Global return rate for Windows 8 is highest for any Microsoft product. Whatever i said is based on facts and data. First Xbox was a dud even X360 leaded PS3 as it got a whole year of itself but now PS3 leads. Rest things apart,do you know that MS Share got a 9% increase the moment investors learned that he is resigning. Such is the the joy in them and they are happy with the decision.
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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Originally Posted by realandR3cys View Post
But what he has established is what we see. He's the reason why we see today's Xbox - the only console to torch a fight against PlayStation. Wii is out of the question now.
In the opinion of many people Xbox happened in spite of Ballmer, not because of him.

“In the early days, Bill was our biggest advocate, and Ballmer was our biggest enemy,” said one Xbox founder, who asked not to be identified. “He thought a subsidized piece of hardware was bad for business.”

What Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did for Xbox — and what his retirement means for its future | GamesBeat
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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Originally Posted by Fenix View Post
I work with a Computer MNC and been working with it for the past 9 years. We have a return rate of more than 30% in Windows 8 PC as people do not like it. Global return rate for Windows 8 is highest for any Microsoft product. Whatever i said is based on facts and data. First Xbox was a dud even X360 leaded PS3 as it got a whole year of itself but now PS3 leads. Rest things apart,do you know that MS Share got a 9% increase the moment investors learned that he is resigning. Such is the the joy in them and they are happy with the decision.
Well, i'm not going to argue on the numbers, as i don't deal with them.
But i have seen a lot of people, and yes a LOT, mainly my relatives, friends, online chaps, who bought W8 when MS gave the timed offer for 699/- including me.
So, yeah.

And regarding X360 vs PS3, or which is better, IMO that gamer decides. Sales dosen't prove the better one. CoD sells a lot more than BF, does that mean CoD is better? No, just different tastes.
My point was, Xbox was the reason Sony is having a hard time, and there's competition

---------- Post added at 12:38 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:34 AM ----------

Originally Posted by vijayninel View Post
In the opinion of many people Xbox happened in spite of Ballmer, not because of him.

“In the early days, Bill was our biggest advocate, and Ballmer was our biggest enemy,” said one Xbox founder, who asked not to be identified. “He thought a subsidized piece of hardware was bad for business.”

What Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did for Xbox — and what his retirement means for its future | GamesBeat
Nice article
But the article also supports Ballmer, as he provided the backbone and also supporting it when the original Xbox was a failure.
So, he was the necessary evil, if you want to call it.
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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Originally Posted by realandR3cys View Post
Well, i'm not going to argue on the numbers, as i don't deal with them.
But i have seen a lot of people, and yes a LOT, mainly my relatives, friends, online chaps, who bought W8 when MS gave the timed offer for 699/- including me.
So, yeah.
Then you are in a very tiny minority because even after the massive discount that Microsoft gave at a time when many people are looking to retire Windows XP, Windows 8 has barely better marketshare than Vista. Most people who I know have either skipped Windows 8 or have heavily modified their Windows 8 so that it resembles traditional Windows. Almost everyone has installed some start button hack and boot directly to the desktop unlike what Microsoft wants to do (kill the desktop).

Originally Posted by realandR3cys View Post
But the article also supports Ballmer, as he provided the backbone and also supporting it when the original Xbox was a failure.
So, he was the necessary evil, if you want to call it.
He did back it up when he knew Bill Gates was backing it and wouldnt let him kill it. Besides that he has backed numerous dead projects like the kim phones and Surface which have been disasters for Microsoft.

Another thing that people say about him is that he drove away people who might have been useful to the company but a threat to his position.
The latest person to attack Ballmer is Joachim Kempin, who worked at Microsoft between 1983 and 2002. Reuters reports that Kempin has written a tell-all book, 'Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft's "secret power broker" breaks his silence'.
Kempin rose in the ranks at Microsoft to become the head of Windows software sales to OEM PC makers. However, he left after the contracts he helped to form with those PC makers were used in part by the US government in its antitrust investigation of the company.

Kempin says that Ballmer has found a way to drive anyone in the company away who Ballmer saw as a threat to his leadership. He stated, "When you work that directly with Ballmer and Ballmer believes 'maybe this guy could someday take over from me', my God, you will have less air to breathe, that's what it comes down to."

He feels that Ballmer should step down from CEO and become its chief operating officer, adding, "I respect that guy (Ballmer), but there are some limitations in what he can and can't do and maybe he hasn't realized them himself."
So who should be Microsoft's new CEO? Kempin doesn't have a specific name but does feel he or she should be relatively young, "maybe 35-40 years old" that better understands the mobile phone and Facebook generation. Microsoft has yet to comment on Kempin's books and his statements. For his part, Kempin claims that he has sent copies of his book to both Ballmer and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.
Former Microsoft executive latest to slam Steve Ballmer in tell-all book - Neowin
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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Google seems to be having some fun at Ballmers cost ... I did a Google search for the term "Ballmer" in news and found this 2004 quote from Ballmer is highlighted near the top. This is something they never do for others.

At that time Ballmer in a conference for online advertisers, Ballmer had said that Microsoft's biggest mistake was failing to develop its own search engine, which caused it to fall behind rivals Google and Yahoo. "That's probably the thing I feel worst about over the last few years," said Ballmer. Ballmer vowed to put more money into research and development of search technology at Microsoft.


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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Actually Vijay,with he success of XP - MS relaxed for a long while on the comfort zone. Thats the sole reason IE share has dipped compared to CHROME/Firefox. Windows Mobile 6 was good but they never worked that hard on it or took it seriously and see where mobile market has gone today. Then tablet market was lost to Google/Apple. And About Windows 8,whatever you said is right. Customers either want to return it,skip it,are downgrading to Windows 7 or want it to look like XP/Vista/Windows7. They never did the right thing at the right time. We all know about the Vista fiasco.
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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Originally Posted by vijayninel View Post
Then you are in a very tiny minority because even after the massive discount that Microsoft gave at a time when many people are looking to retire Windows XP, Windows 8 has barely better marketshare than Vista. Most people who I know have either skipped Windows 8 or have heavily modified their Windows 8 so that it resembles traditional Windows. Almost everyone has installed some start button hack and boot directly to the desktop unlike what Microsoft wants to do (kill the desktop).



He did back it up when he knew Bill Gates was backing it and wouldnt let him kill it. Besides that he has backed numerous dead projects like the kim phones and Surface which have been disasters for Microsoft.

Another thing that people say about him is that he drove away people who might have been useful to the company but a threat to his position.
Former Microsoft executive latest to slam Steve Ballmer in tell-all book - Neowin
Well, maybe you're right
We are in a tiny minority. I have been active in two FB tech groups, having 8k and 1.6k members respectively (been active for over 2.5yrs), and can gurantee that out of that 9.6k members, 3k atleast uses legit W8, as it can be higher cause not all are active.
And they haven't modified any part of the OS. They incl. me love the Metro UI.
And those people only are excited about W8.1

Now these days people who use XP, either have a slow pc or can't cope up with tech advancement. And maybe complains are coming from them, not because of the start up windows button, but it's hard to use. I don't see why it's "hard" to use.

Anyways, TL;DR,

Windows 8 has a great future ahead (incl. W8.1). I can bet on that. It's not like system hog Vista. It's fast, smooth and looks great - and these are the things that will help it to succeed.

And regarding Ballmer, agreeing upon Xbox was not cause of Gates, but somehow his faith grew in Xbox. Otherwise he could have used the excuse of original Xbox's failure and killed it, even before MS thought of X360
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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


^^ i was checking the tutorial to install W8 and on last screen saw that i need to sign-in with my email ID and at that point closed the tab and started browsing others
secondly many people have reported that they are getting low performance on W8 even my friend using GTX570 suffered and reverted back to W7
thirdly i am using reconnection script for my internet as EVDO is not supported in Jdownloader and even i wrote a tutorial some time back (a user comented that he is having trouble to use reconnection in W8)
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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


Originally Posted by kartikoli View Post
^^ i was checking the tutorial to install W8 and on last screen saw that i need to sign-in with my email ID and at that point closed the tab and started browsing others
secondly many people have reported that they are getting low performance on W8 even my friend using GTX570 suffered and reverted back to W7
thirdly i am using reconnection script for my internet as EVDO is not supported in Jdownloader and even i wrote a tutorial some time back (a user comented that he is having trouble to use reconnection in W8)
The sign in is not at all mandatory bro. It just helps you to use the App store and sync settings with other W8 PCs, to take the best advantage.
You can also sign in w/o a MS id.

Regarding performance, W8 proved substantial increase in FPS in games. I don't know if there's anything wrong with your friend's GPU drivers.
I also have a friend who had a GTX570, which he recently sold off, and he was using W8.
Would suggest a clean install + installing stable NV drivers. Nvidia have been releasing some half cooked drivers lately.

And regarding apps, well, you have to give sometime before every app out there supports W8. I also use W8 on my laptop (W7 on desktop), and GFWL didn't even worked no matter how much i tried. So
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Old 25-08-13
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Re: Steve Ballmer Forced Out After $900M Surface Fiasco


I have seen few reviews regarding fps drop and had a handon experience on fresh install w8 on a friends pc so I cant compromise my 580 performance

I wanted to try w8 but not on performance loss

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