Microsoft CEO Still Criticized Despite Smart Performance

Not much has been said about Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer, though he has made substantial changes at the company and is positive about their future. Ballmer has been with Microsoft since 1980 and was Bill Gates 30th employee.

According to Ballmer, “People might have missed this fact but I got a new job three-and-a-half years ago,” referring to Bill Gate’s retirement from Microsoft. After Gate’s retirement, Ballmer replaced almost all of the main division heads and drove the company away from its PC-centered thinking. In the time since he has been in charge, the company has created a Windows version for smartphones, bought Skype last year and developed the Xbox.

Most of what he has done has come with much criticism. Even Steve Jobs said Microsoft had “become mostly irrelevant…I don’t think anything will change at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it.” Much of the negative views of Ballmer come from the failure of Vista 2007. Ballmer even says it was, “Not our finest hour. It didn’t give us a lot of agility in our ability to remap, reapply, refocus resources” …

Ballmer learned from his errors though and made some significant changes. He has nearly tripled revenue and more than tripled profit, yet still most of his critics are still absorbed with Microsoft’s immobile stock price. Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ashlee Vance quoted hedge fund manager David Einhorn at an investor’s conference last year, who said, “His continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft’s stock.”

Ballmer is still optimistic about the future. “Perception is discontinuous,” he told Vance. “You are what you are, whatever it is. And then there’s an aha! moment when people say you’re something else.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Damien Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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