Joachim Kempin worked at Microsoft for about two decades, first joining the company in the 1980s, when it only had about 400 employees.
Now he has written a book about what those years were like: "Resolve And Fortitude: Microsoft's Secret Power Broker Breaks His Silence."
In addition to telling the story of Microsoft's growth into a global powerhouse, Kempin's book includes a strong opinion about what has gone wrong at Microsoft over the past 10 years.
The problem is at the top, Kempin argues.
CEO Steve Ballmer is the wrong guy for the job. Kempin believes that Microsoft should be led by a technologist, not a businessman.
"The issue with Steve Ballmer is that he is not the technical visionary inside the company," Kempin tells The Daily Ticker.
Kempin believes that Microsoft would be better off firing Steve Ballmer and hiring a tech executive from Google, Facebook, or Apple to run the company--an executive that better understands the needs and desires of the Facebook generation. "That is exactly what is missing when it comes to Microsoft no longer being so great," Kempin explains.
But Kempin doubts Microsoft's board will make this change--because the board is too wimpy and passive to do this.
Kempin says Microsoft needs to rethink its overall strategy and spend money on what it does best -- making software.
"I think the first thing to do would be not to copy Apple and maybe divest of all of the devices they're making," he notes. "Microsoft is a software company and software dna has gotten that company where it is today. Nearly anyone can make hardware these days, maybe not as slick as Apple, but at the end of the day a little polish here and there doesn't make a heck of a difference. What matters is how the device functions and for that you need applications."
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