Steve Ballmer to Retire Within 12-months


Essential Member
Microsoft's 13-year CEO announced today his plans to retire within the next year, which surely brings closure to many people who were always skeptical of his behaviour as a person and strategies for the company itself.

It's been announced Microsoft is working with both founder Bill Gates and other firms to find "a great replacement". Microsoft needs to do this to ensure their current transition from a software to a software and devices company will have a strong leader for years to come.

What does everyone think of today's news regarding this? I personally think it's a great move for Microsoft, and stocks surged 6% in today's market after the news surfaced.



Senior Member
And I thought the captain is supposed to be the last one to abandon ship? :p

I think it's great that his leaving was seen as such good news.
I guess that Windows 8 thing didn't work out.

Ralph Bromley

Extraordinary Member
Well Ballmers hand at the ship was very mixed and contriversial, sure his era gave us windows XP and 7 but he also gave us 8, ME and Vista.


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
My thoughts on Steve Ballmer as he resigns

An ethos of recognizing success, and success alone

While I never met the man, Steve Ballmer is a true “Windows evangelist”, in the sense that he gave up, even business school, for Microsoft. Few people may be aware that he is one of the reasons that the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award, program, and events were kept alive during a time when these events and community gatherings had been called into question and were marked for indefinite cancellation. It is widely acknowledged that he saved that award program, and likely pushed hard for the Microsoft certification programs and designations. Steve knew that the awards and certifications were the basis for the ability to achieve excellence, even if the opportunity didn’t immediately present itself. With Microsoft certification exams, for example, failures of the exams are never recognized on the official transcript. This is because of the values instilled into the company by its creators and contributors. It was pushed within the company and made very publicly known that success is rewarded and that failing an exam is not something to be penalized for. It is an opportunity to try again and learn again. If you apply yourself to a field of work or area of expertise, you can accomplish anything.

A strong advocate of the “greater” Windows community and IT pros worldwide

With the realization that not everyone gifted in technology would go to school for management information systems, computer science, or other advanced degrees (he himself having dropped out of college, as well as Bill Gates), Ballmer was known as a strong advocate of promoting a greater community for Windows, comprised largely of third parties, outside of the corporation. In hindsight, these programs filled the gap for much needed customer service from a company that would come to dominate and become synonymous with the personal computer. With its success, there is no way this one company could expand to provide customer support, developers, technicians, and repairmen to every single area and facet of every element of their software and software-powered hardware. This is one of the reasons why certificate and award designations have been so important. In a field that skyrocketed around the world, companies like Cisco, Microsoft, and IBM needed a way to prove that talented people could provide legitimate credentials to potential customers. Trust is at the basis of every relationship, whether it be business or otherwise, and I suspect this is something that Ballmer recognized without exception.

The IT working class and Steve Ballmer

I used to often talk about how the information technology industry was a lot like the railroads when they first started. In many cases, for field technicians, the type and amount of work done is difficult for the client to appreciate, because they simply do not comprehend the techniques and effort involved. They may not have a full understanding of how their computer is quickly “fixed”, while the technician may have to make serious mental and physical compromises that can impact their health, in order to get the client, or customer’s request resolved to satisfaction. It is not uncommon for technology workers to suffer carpal tunnel, eye problems, and back difficulties due to the nature of their work.

How Microsoft established a culture of “work standards” for non-employees

It is not uncommon for technicians, here in the New York tri-state area, to be on-call 24/7. Many who get the basic CompTIA A+ designations are required to work with companies that are synonymous with manual labor, often setting up, diagnosing, and repairing at multiple offices and/or systems daily. Because of certificate programs through Microsoft Learning, IT workers have a real chance to show their dedication to their work and their own personal advancement. Having gone to college for forensic psychology, I would never have had any chance to work in information technology without the opportunities afforded to me by proponents of strong marketing, training, knowledge, and development such as Ballmer, who, like it or not, are among the top business leaders in our world.

My own experiences in a Microsoft dominated world

When I worked for one ISP, it was not uncommon to deliver, set up, and configure for 3-4 offices a day. I also worked on internal and external server situations, and complicated Terminal Services issues while back at the office. We had clients literally logging in directly to our servers, not even aware they were on a remote server, to receive a constant level of support and data retention for every single employee of a business. Because of my certifications in networking, server administration, and many others made possible by Microsoft, however, I was given a chance. I was also treated with a great amount of respect and dignity by my employers and clients. When I moved into local government work, I found myself in operation of an entire department, for some years, where funds were scarce and these credentials and experiences were neither fully comprehended or valued whatsoever.

From starting off small to becoming a success, thanks in part, to men like Steve Ballmer

I am reminded that “Geek Squad” employees, for example, often charge heavy prices, for things like data recovery, per gigabyte, and have been slammed for it in the past. However, these employees have often just started in the field, have received only a CompTIA A+ certification, and all of these prices are set by the company Best Buy. While a company such as “Best Buy” might hypothetically charge their customers $40-$100/US dollars an hour for various services through Geek Squad, the employee is receiving a very minimal fraction of this. All the while, the employee is the one who does the actual installations, migrations, repairs, security audits, and server management for a meager wage. The rise of these types of companies also put an end to commission sales in most retail electronic stores in the United States. It is how they dominated with a competitive edge: by undercutting even their employees. I only mention Best Buy because they are originally from Scarsdale, and when I was in my teens, I did work for them, although in a non-IT capacity. I was a sales rep. The owner of the business also lives in my county. I would sell thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment each day, and receive no compensation at all other than a meager hourly wage and a pat on the back at meetings. But I enjoyed it. I enjoyed knowing that even though I was worth a living wage, I provided the customers who entered the store with valuable information other people in my stead may not have been able to provide. Men like Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer inspired me to continue my work, my study, and strive for success in a field that I was not yet truly qualified to work in. In fact, such qualifications, existing on paper, would not necessarily exist, without their persistence that Microsoft continue to be a relatively small business that relied on their certified professionals to get the job done, for those people and businesses who could not afford a very expensive phone call to the people at Redmond.

Can we ever know Steve Ballmer?

Flash forward to becoming the CEO of the most successful software company in the world, which purportedly has 60 billion US dollars in cash reserves. You are now accountable to billions of customers, and your company has so many shareholders, that it has more outstanding shares than any other company in the world. If every single person alive on earth owned one share of Microsoft, there would still be shares outstanding. What good do people see in you, who are not part of the industry? Are you an indignant, filthy rich, hound, who itches for every penny of profit? Or are you, Steve Ballmer, a man who wants to see a company succeed, even if it costs that company revenues? We only know the public Steve Ballmer. The man not afraid to pawn his own butt to sell Microsoft Windows, and to excite developers with this eccentric attitude. Also a man who was never shy about addressing issues that posed a challenge to the company, like Linux. And while many of his responses may have been in the corporate interest of Microsoft, they were often very human responses.

Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft and the Shadow of Bill Gates

Before Steve Ballmer assumed the role of CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates was the chairman and CEO of Microsoft. Eventually, Bill Gates moved on to semi-retirement, and retained his position as chairman of the corporation. Steve Ballmer became the chief executive officer at Microsoft. The phrase “Catch 22” caught on from a novel which pretty much means “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” When a product or service does not accommodate the marketplace as expected, you may find yourself immediately blamed, even though, you, yourself, as the CEO, could not possibly have foreseen some of these problems. Perhaps you may often find yourself surrounded by advisors, intellectuals, businessmen (some of whom are the most successful in the world), and developers. Are you guided by a future vision that ensures the success of the business, which you have put a lifetime into, even after you are gone? Are you compelled to provide your shareholders immediate profits instead? These are the thoughts that must come with a legacy in management that people like us have experiences with in the real world, with our own finances. But when a major corporation like Microsoft is under your wing, how could you respond? A long the way, you must have made influential friends, enemies, climbed the tallest mountains, and scaled the deepest valleys. And everything you do, really everything, requires public relations managers, attorneys, and a lot of planning. Maybe Steve Ballmer was the only guy who could replace Bill Gates as CEO of Microsoft without people completely losing confidence in that person. After all, he was there from the beginning, and he never seemed shy of a giant conference or sales presentation.

The duality of success and failure and what we leave behind

By no means do I try to immortalize Steve Ballmer as some perfect man, as surely, some of his business decisions led to failures for Microsoft, while I imagine others led to great success. The digital landscape is constantly changing, and Microsoft has often been one of the primary reasons that is taking place. Under his supervision as CEO, succeeding Bill Gates, he oversaw the development of the world’s most renowned and well-known operating systems and software in the world. The reality is that most of us will never have the enormous financial resources this man has accumulated, but most of us will also not be part of a start-up that becomes one of the most recognized corporations in the entire world. That is life, and that is the dichotomy we all face. Do we praise this man, or do we condemn him in the court of public opinion?

I suggest neither. Steve Ballmer has always been Steve Ballmer. His public persona has been mired in controversy. During the days of Windows Vista, it was once said that Bill Gates was so infuriated with him, that a chair was thrown at one or the other. Although we may never know how true these silly stories are, I cannot deny the philanthropy that Bill Gates has done with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in eradicating malaria. I cannot ignore the work Paul Allen, in retirement, has done, to further space research and development with the Allen Array and other projects. What legacy will Steve Ballmer leave behind in his retirement?


For so long as the talents of, even engineers, often go unappreciated by the non-technologically savvy, and for so long as working class people continue to make personal sacrifices, without much desire for fame, reputation, and sometimes even money, these people, the system builders, the architects, the engineers, the technicians, the consultants, the webmasters... And so many others.... They will continue to do this because they love the field they are in. They put up with angry and frustrated customers, who often have little to no knowledge, or even interest, of how computer systems work. They are rewarded by a smile. A thank you. A handshake.

Despite the vast billions of dollars a man like Ballmer has evidently accumulated over his career, we are all just as flawed, fragile, and human as Steve Ballmer. But few seem so endowed with an innate talent to innovate, sell, market, or engage customers in a product.

In the end, for me, Steve Ballmer’s signature is on nearly every single one of my Microsoft certifications, besides Bill Gates. They are the result of hard work, an intimate willingness to engage myself in the information technology workplace, and the technology that powers it. I rarely display them, yet they are all framed. And I appreciate that I was given that opportunity to learn without discouragement and to succeed in areas I enjoyed.

At the Microsoft Global MVP Summit I went to, many people were disappointed that Steve was in Spain at the time. The word was that he always loved to make an appearance for the event. And for people who had been there for many years, he seemed sorely missed. I imagine it will take some time for people interested in technology to calculate the effect Ballmer had on Microsoft Windows and the technology field as a developing workplace.

In the end, I am left with the impression that Steve Ballmer cared. In an apathetic world, that makes him OK in my book. Too many people in a position of power, such as his, have done far too little good, and in so many cases, far too much wrong in this world to merit such a lengthy observation. Good luck to Steve Ballmer.


Ralph Bromley

Extraordinary Member
For me Ballmer was a doofus, a big bald headed doofus.

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