“For Microsoft to really get back in the game seriously, you need a big change in management,” said Joachim Kempin, who worked at Microsoft between 1983 and 2002, overseeing the sales of Windows software to computer makers for part of that time. “As much as I respect Steve Ballmer, he may be part of that in the end.”
This is a very damning report about Ballmer and Microsoft’s board. There’s a few things about it that make me take the report with a large grain of salt:
- Kempin left in 2002, which means Ballmer was only CEO for two years while Kempin was there. I’m doubtful that was enough time to form the opinions he currently holds, which means his insight into Ballmer is less insider and more outsider with insider reports.
- I know nothing of Kempin and so this could be like listening to advice from Warren Buffet, or Donald Trump.
Even given those caveats, if true, this is a damning statement:
“They missed all the opportunities they were talking about when I was still in the company. Tablets, phones…we had a tablet going, we had tablet software when Windows XP came out, it was never followed up properly,” said Kempin.
I assume he doesn’t mean a convertible PC, but I think there’s a simple reason why Microsoft wouldn’t want to release a tablet back in early 2000-2002 — they wouldn’t want to cannibalize PC sales. Whereas Apple doesn’t care if it is their own products cannibalizing sales, Microsoft does. (See this post for reasons why.)
Still, I agree, Ballmer is going to run the ship into the ground.