As I looked at the new entries this morning on ZDNet, I saw the piece by Mary-Jo Foley concerning a prediction that Newsweek magazine had made for 2010. It was that Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft for the last 10 years, would be getting a pink slip from the powers hat be at Microsoft.
Though I can’t see why Newsweek would pose that question, I can certainly see why many of the dwindling faithful would. Those who are called fanboys, the people who aren’t quite rabid, and the users of necessity all might wish for another leader. Someone who is less of a penny-pincher and bottom-liner, and more a technology fanatic and cheerleader for innovation.
Now, we all know the Ballmer cheerleading routines, but they are all focussed on the bottom line – pushing adoption so that the coffers fill with money of every type, from shekels to rubles, and from yuan to pesos, along with oh, so many dollars. No doubt most have seen the monkeyboy dance, but it is like the organ grinder’s monkey, waiting for those pockets to pick.
Mary-Jo makes good points, speaking about the less than friendly realm that is Microsoft, and how nay outsider that would take the throne would be less than well-liked, she also talks about the people of the company now, alleging that no one would be a great choice.
This is both true and sad. That Ballmer becomes the continuing choice for lack of a suitable replacement is tragic, Microsoft needs a visionary right now, and, for all his efforts, that simply is not Ballmer. Ballmer is too mesmerized by the thoughts of all those many types of currency flowing into the Microsoft coffers to be mesmerized, or even slightly enthralled, with any new technology, and the idea that Microsoft might bring it to the average user. Ballmer would bring out DOS 3.3 next year, and say it was revolutionary, if he somehow was convinced that it would work as a business plan. ( Imagine – lighter weight computing with a lighter weight OS! )
That’s what makes Steve Jobs such a great leader for Apple, he has never been in it for the money. Money was secondary. That man wants to put his brand on history, by changing the way people live, work, and play. Bill Gates has that too, but he moves on a different path now.
As I look at this, I think that what is needed is something like the perfect politician – the one that takes the job knowing all there is to know about making deals, and has his eyes fully open, and also knows he is going to die (or at least not be re-elected). That way the 4 to 6 years he serves will be all in an effort to change things for all the right reasons.
If Microsoft got to a point where a CEO could know he was there for 4 to 6 years, and had exactly that much time to make a change for good, with no second chances, and no extensions, Microsoft might make it until the end of the century.
Is Ballmer as out of touch as Dr. Evil was in the Austin Powers movies? Survey says Yes! Thinking Internet Exploder 8 was a good idea is only one small bit of proof.