It is the opinion of this blogger that Microsoft under Ballmer’s helmsman-ship has missed many obvious opportunities, leaving the once mighty company languishing in cyber-nomans land.
Ballmer’s retirement might just open a new chapter for Microsoft, while its Windows OS is used in the vast majority of personal computers. Microsoft during Ballmer’s 13 years of control has had little impact in the fast-growing mobile device segment.
The tech-behemoth has faced a slurry of criticism for not keeping pace with this fast-evolving tech-sector. A large part of Microsoft’s problem seems to be a huge lack of self-concept, 15 years ago the company quite willingly accepted that it wasn’t the cool-kid on the block, Mr Gates indeed embraced his uncoolness.
15 years ago the tech-galaxy seemed balanced. Apple had creatives covered, the NASDAQ had a bunch of competitors to fill each niche between Microsoft’s dullness and Apples glistening stardom. This was a plus-place for Microsoft to be, so long as it stayed away from Apples end of the market, so long as it stayed boring.
While Apple has gone from strength to strength, Microsoft’s continuous failure at recognizing what it does super-well, the dull stuff, OS and Office, and there isn’t a thing wrong with that. Unless of course you’ve become slightly insecure, forgotten who your buddies are and you’ve grown a need to play with the good-looking kids. Microsoft has sacrificed it’s solid image in a futile attempt at cornering the glamour-end of tech. I realise this sounds like a bit of hot air, but (I need to say this: old people love Microsoft)
Old people love Windows 8, the OS and amazingly the phone. The fastest – and most ignored – group of technology consumers LOVES WINDOWS 8! So who does Microsoft market Windows 8 to… clever little bumpkins, trendites and fashion conscious iPhone owners? ::::
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Mr Ballmer said in a statement. “My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction,” he said.
Ballmer, 57, took over as CEO in 2000 from co-founder Bill Gates, a classmate and friend from their days at Harvard University in the 1970s. When Mr Ballmer took over, Microsoft was the undisputed tech-sector leader and the world’s largest company in market value.
However in recent years Microsoft has struggled as consumers began to transition from desktop and laptop PCs to mobile devices.
While its Windows software is used on the vast majority of personal computers, Microsoft has had little impact in the fast-growing segments of tablets and smartphones.
“Microsoft has clearly been on the wrong track for a long time,” said Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates. “Essentially Microsoft missed the shift to high mobility entirely.”
Other analysts say Mr Ballmer contributed greatly to the company.
“Ballmer did a lot for Microsoft while he was there, and his accomplishments should not be diminished by the troubles Microsoft has had the past couple of years,” analyst with J. Gold Associates Jack Gold said.
Still, Gold said, “it really is time for Microsoft to chart a new course and correct some of the issues and challenges plaguing it, and Ballmer was not the right individual to do that.”
The news of Ballmer’s retirement took financial markets by surprise, shares in the company rose by nearly 9 per cent in pre-market trading. At end of trade, shares were up 6.9 per cent to $34.61. The shares, which topped $58 in 1999, have been little changed in the past decade.
Citi analyst Walter Pritchard said this was positive news for Microsoft.
“Some investors have fantasised about this event and we’ve often heard ‘the stock would be up 10 per cent if Ballmer retires’,” Mr Pritchard said. “A new CEO will likely have broad freedom to make changes to the business, including exiting businesses and returning more capital.”
Replacing Steve Ballmer
Mr Ballmer will continue in the interim as CEO until a new one is chosen. The board of directors has appointed a special committee to direct the process chaired by independent director John Thompson and including Mr Gates, Chuck Noski and Steve Luczo.
The committee will consider both external and internal candidates.
“As a member of the succession planning committee, I’ll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO,” Mr Gates said.
As well as a dismal vision, Ballmer has shaved real value of the company. The year that Ballmer began steering Microsoft, Apples – AAPL – share price was briefly on par with Microsoft’s – MSFT – at about $25. Today, Apple shares are valued at around $500, while Microsoft has barely lifted to $35.
A large part of Microsoft’s problem seems to be a huge lack of self-concept, 15 years ago the company quite willingly accepted that it wasn’t the cool-kid on the block, Mr Gates indeed embraced his uncoolness.
In a rapidly expanding market Apple had creatives covered and the NASDAQ had a bunch of competitors to fill each niche between Microsoft’s dullness and Apples glistening stardom. This was a plus-place for Microsoft to be, so long as it stayed away from Apples end of the market, so long as it stayed boring.
While Apple has gone from strength to strength, Microsoft’s biggest failure is recognizing what it does super-well, the dull stuff, OS and Office, and there isn’t a thing wrong with that. Unless of course you’ve become slightly insecure or you’ve grown a need to play with the good-looking kids. Microsoft has sacrificed it’s solid image in a futile attempt at cornering the glamour end of tech. I realise this sounds like a bit of hot air, but consider:
Microsoft 15 years ago
- Was one of the most trusted brands in the galaxy.
- Was one of the most secure shares traded.
- Was behind most front-ends in business, Windows Server was the standard.
- Was behind 9 in 10 personal computers.
- Never did anything exciting.
Microsoft plodded it’s way through the previous decade, that isn’t a criticism… Consider, who else in our world plods? Grandparents right! Who in our world looks for the safest bet? Old folk, true! WHO LOVES WINDOW 8?
Old people love Windows 8, the OS and amazingly the phone. The fastest – and most ignored – group of technology consumers LOVES WINDOWS 8! So who does Microsoft market Windows 8 to…. clever little bumpkins, trendites and fashion conscious iPhone owners?
When Microsoft launched its initial IPO in 1986, the opening share price was $21, closing at a high of $27.75. The company’s share price peaked in 1999 at around $119 . The investment value in Microsoft is no longer it’s steady-as-she goes approach, in 2003 the company began to offer a dividend! Starting at 8 cents per share for the fiscal year, followed by a dividend of 16 cents per share the subsequent year, switching from yearly to quarterly dividends in 2005 with 8 cents a share per quarter (32 cents per year) and a special one-time payout of three dollars per share for the second quarter of 2005. Though the company had subsequent increases in dividend payouts, the price of Microsoft’s stock has remained stagnant for years.
I suspect that Ballmer’s resignation/retirement has more to do with recent performance than it does with his age, on July 19, 2013, Microsoft shares suffered their biggest one-day sell-off since Ballmer has been at the helm – its fourth-quarter report gave investors serious jitters – A poor showing of both Windows 8 and it’s Surface Tablet tore 11 percentage points of an already declining value. Microsoft suffered a loss of more than $32 billion. In July last year, Ballmer set another record for the company, it’s first ever loss [see below] In this bloogers mind, Mr Ballmer won’t be missed! Mr Ballmer leaves the company in a more physically fit – his not the company’s – state, as well as considerably wealthier – again, his not the business’ – Microsoft, wake-up, old people LOVE WINDOWS
Social Media Goes All-out
Social media farewelled Ballmer with much mixed emotion – or lack of – The interwebs mixed reaction to Ballmer’s retirement or retirement, was a pretty mixed affair, as one would expect, acidulous accolades, jeering gestures and heartfelt farewells.
Google Pluser Alex Rey wrote “…I’m getting a bit tired of people bashing this guy. Are we judging him because of his “wacky” personality or what?”
While tweeter, @MadelenaMak was a little kinder with “This is the end of an era. I’ll miss Steve Ballmer. Lets hope these giants can still profit by selling software, NOT ADS #Microsoft” Paul Thurrott @thurrott had nothing but praise, “Ballmer was one of the good guys.” windowsitpro.com/paul-thurrotts
It certainly wasn’t all sweet however, Blogger Patrick Jordan smited Ballmer with “I’m sure he’s going to be a business school study, for all the wrong reasons.” and journalist Ed Bott confabulated “mainstream support for Ballmer ended in 2009, extended support ends in 2014.”
source: microsoft source: reddit source: googleplus source: twitter
COMMENT on Guardian Google Plus Pix: https://plus.google.com/
RELATED: OOPS! Microsoft Posts First Ever Loss, Half a Billion Dollars Misplaced?
The company misplaced almost half a billion dollars – $US492 million – in the fourth quarter due to a massive $US6.2 billion write-down related to its 2007 acquisition of aQuantive, a digital advertising firm aimed at helping Microsoft compete against Google and others.
The news is dire, not deathly though, Microsoft still posted an annual profit of $US16.98 billion and said the results reflected “solid revenue growth and rigorous cost discipline”.
In stark contrast, that other behemoth, Google, has reported an 11 per cent jump in second quarter profit to $US2.79 billion. Google said the result was boosted by a 21 per cent jump in revenues from its internet sites.
RELATED: Microsoft’s Curtain Call Keynote at CES gets the Pogo Treatment
The end of an Era. Microsoft has drawn the curtain on an industry institution, The Microsoft Keynote at CES. For the past 15 years they have had a grip on the podium that kicks off America’s largest consumer and electronics show.
This is the show that every Technoid worth his weight in silicon attends. Like Mecca it is every noids duty to make the journey at least once in their life time. With Steve Ballmer and Ryan Seacrest taking centre stage for Microsoft’s final keynote address to the attending Technorati seemed to have given the final show a collective Meh.
Still Ballmer did his best to emulate a living human being with an intact sense of humour.
In honor of this auspicious occasion Australian techno – doff doff – remix masters Pogo have pulled together a salute to the partnership. It’s funny, it’s moving and it will get you tapping your toes.
With the highlights of 15 years of keynote events presented in 120 seconds Pogo have packed in the memorable moments. With enough source material to give the best reality TV show an entertaining run for its money Pogo selected from 11 Bill Gates speeches – blue screen of death included -, 4 speeches from pre-eminent monkey man Steve Ballmer, 8 celebrity guests –including the Rock – and far too many interview sweaters to count :: Read the full article »»»»