One of the most popular posts that I have written is “The Ballmer Days are Over” — wherein I argue that it is time to kick Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, out of the company. I argue this as: a person that lives in Microsoft country, a person that owns Microsoft stock, and an Apple fan.
Up and until this week I still believed that Ballmer should be gone. This week though, well Ballmer is making his move.
Ballmer seemed to be a pompous ass, perfectly happy to rest of the success of the past — not really his success, mind you, but the success of the company he runs. Ballmer has famously dismissed Apple and everything they created, including the iPhone. He’s been proven wrong, many times over.
This week, here’s what Microsoft did:
- Announced a new tablet.
- Got into making integrated software and hardware devices (see said “new tablet”)
- Announced Windows Phone 8
Those seem like par for the course if you are an Apple fan, but they are amazing feats if you are a Microsoft fan. Windows Phone 7 hasn’t been out that long and now we have 8? For the record Windows itself is just about to reach version 8.
Then there’s the tablet, while it looks to largely copy the iPad, there’s clever features like a keyboard integrated into the cover. Now, they haven’t shipped this yet, but the simple fact that Microsoft is willing to piss off its hardware partners is impressive enough to believe that Microsoft is serious about doing this.
So to recap Steve Ballmer:
- From 2001 to 2007 he had Microsoft on cruise control, rarely beating the stock market.
- From 2007 to 2011 he was Captain of a sinking ship and he seemed to be the only one not aware the ship was sinking.
Today, today Ballmer is bailing water out of the ship. I don’t know if he can bail fast enough to right the ship, but I do know that I am willing to give him a chance to do that.
What Ballmer has done this week (though to be fair these are just announcements) is something that I didn’t think Ballmer was capable of: he’s changing Microsoft’s core.
This should be interesting.