It’s been 30 years since Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft. While I’ve had mixed feelings about Ballmer over the years, he has earned a lot of respect for helping Microsoft become what it is today. The car salesman lilke CEO of Microsoft had him speechless at the event when they brought out his family to the stage. I’ve had some mixed feelings about Bill Gates, as well, but have to admit that he does a much better job at the helm than Steve. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll be saying the same about the next successor to the throne at Microsoft. One thing to look forward to for MSFT investors: quarterly and fiscal year end earnings report on Thursday. Windows 7 has been doing extremely well, and I’m sure their earnings should be up.
Sentiment aside, the timing is very interesting. Ballmer has seen criticism of his leadership rise over the past year, despite the turnaround of the flagship Windows business, as Microsoft’s share price has remained stagnant and the company has struggled to keep pace against Google and Apple in the mobile phone business.
Some shareholders would no doubt like to interpret the tribute as a retirement montage, but in the context of the Microsoft rally it was more along the lines of a show of support. Assuming he’s not ultimately forced out, Ballmer said as recently as 2008 that he’s planning to stick around until his last kid goes to college, around 2018.