Exit Ballmer, stage right. Who cares?
On Friday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he will retire within the next 12 months, once his successor has been chosen. Microsoft's stock rose seven percent on the news.
Although Microsoft remains a hugely profitable company, much of the media reaction has focused on other measures of success or failure. The company's market capitalization has fallen significantly under Ballmer's leadership, from $600 billion before Ballmer took control to around $286 billion today. The steady decline of PC sales and the flop of Microsoft's tablet and phone efforts suggest greatly diminished long-term prospects.
- Huffington Post provides four charts illustrating aspects of Microsoft's decline
- Computerworld's Gregg Keizer says Windows 8.1 "stains Ballmer's legacy"
- Kara Swisher on AllThingsD says Ballmer was pushed out
The Fierce Take: The fall of tech industry giants makes a lot of waves--in the tech industry. As for what it means to CIOs and IT departments, the immediate answer is very little. Government department CIO Andy Blumenthal notes (perhaps optimistically) in a blog post that Ballmer replaced Bill Gates' innovation focus with a visionless operational perspective, and says that with more visionary leadership, Microsoft might someday return to its former glory.