RECENTLY the US news magazine Newsweek predicted that next year shy and retiring Microsoft CEO Steve "there's a kind of hush" Ballmer will be handed his P45 and pink slip.
Newsweek's basis for its prediction is its view that Ballmer has not delivered. Since Bill Gates departed from the Vole to save Africans from all sorts of medical conditions, Microsoft has stumbled and lost much of its former teflon-coated image.
A blog claims that the Volish board will finally push out Steve Ballmer from the CEO position next year, just as soon as one of them is brave enough to tell him.
In the run up to Christmas, Ballmer's fingerprints have been seen on the Vole's biggest mis-steps in the last ten years.
Windows Vista was Microsoft's biggest failure in the company's history, and the firm's stock is now worth only half what it once was. Ballmer has also managed to stand still while some of the greatest tech booms sailed over his head. Internet search, mp3 players, online music - you name it, Steve missed it.
Perhaps the biggest problem was that Ballmer completely missed the mobile and netbook operating systems bandwagon and saw the Vole's Windows Mobile fall like a stone, right out of the mobile market.
Ballmer did not see that Apple and Google were moving in on the Vole's mobile territory. Microsoft had always sold its mobile operating system to businesses on the basis that it synced well with its server software. Now even businesses are starting to think that there is more to life than that.
Yet to be fair to Steve he had jumped into the hotseat just as the economy tanked and Gates did have a hand in many of the directions that Microsoft has taken over the last ten years.
Steve might well have to pull some rabbits out of his hat quite soon to survive 2010.
But Newsweek hasn't liked Steve much for a while. In October it said that Steve was not the man that Gates was. When he became CEO, everyone was frightened of the Vole but lately it's been seen as "being nice".
"Microsoft was still the meanest, mightiest tech company in the world, a juggernaut that bullied friends and foes alike and which possessed an operating-system franchise that was practically a license to print money. Techies likened Microsoft to the Borg on Star Trek, the evil collective that insatiably assimilates everything around it, with the slogan, 'Resistance is futile.'", Newsweek said.
"Now, instead of being scary, Microsoft has become a bit of a joke," it said. This is ironic as Steve's own reputation is one of chair tossing enthusiasm. But we guess there is more to being a CEO of a major software company than shouting at people.
It will be a pity if Microsoft loses him. He's always made for good copy for us. ?
I am surprized they haven't yet. The f$%ing hasn't moved for a decade and still way down its high. What a loser! And they had the technology from its balls. Look what happened to GOOGLE by a couple of inexperienced youngesters, look at APPLE and how a sick CEO pushed it to new highs and made the darling of the street, look at RIMM, look at HP, look at IBM, what is this f%^&ing Ballmar doing and why is the board not moving?
Part of the trouble is the question "where do you go after you have a monopoly"? Admittedly the profits are great, but any attempt to use monopoly money to buy dominance in other industries is going to be blocked by forty dozen different regulatory agencies worldwide. Even while they claim to accept that monopolies are not necessarily illegal, the presumption of guilt remains. I've come to believe we should, under the realization that any moron can run a monopoly successfully, limit executive pay in any company which controls 60% or more of any market. Oh, we could be reasonable, say one million dollars a year for the CEO, but still manage to drive Americans "best and brightest", into greener fields where they could then proceed to create more American global monopolies and incidentally, more American jobs. Additionally it would thus self limit the growth of the total market cap of the corporation as division would be rapidly spun off by executives to limit their work and to allow them to rather quickly move into unregulated pay corporations, as CEOs. As to how this would apply to Microsoft, it might be broken into five corporations consisting of operating systems, office software, gaming machines and software, internet operations and a hardware company with mice and keyboards among others. Ballmer might do very well in the gaming segment leveraging the X-box and Halo franchises. Each corporation would not only be debt free, but also have say a billion dollars or so of cash, thus making them instant market power houses able to withstand economic downturns. The two monopoly segments would become reit like, paying out huge dividends which they would grow solely by buying back stock while unfettered by demands from money loosing segments. The others could concentrate on "grow baby grow" growth, using mergers and the same questionable business practices that allowed MS 3.1 to take over the world. For an example of how this might play out, one should look at the breakup of the original Ma Bell where it was estimated the spin offs were in total, worth more than ten times what the original company was worth, ten years after the breakup. Frankly, Microsoft is "worth more money dead, than alive." Lets kill the beast.