Steve Ballmer

The most important piece of news in Corporate America this week was the resignation of Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO. He supposed to be the CEO until 2018 but in an unexpected long awaited decision he leaves his post within the next year. Just before the bubble exploded on 2000, Steve Ballmer was named  Microsoft, CEO. The stock has made an all time high, pre- split price, of 119,43 in December 1999. The market crashed on March 2000, then came September 11, 2001, Iraq war, the market recovered  and the stock never recovered. While Apple and Google were making headlines, Microsoft felt behind never catching up and losing a decade.  ConsulTree could identify five mistakes on leadership that contributed to his failure:


Not a Geek but a businessman: Pointed as his biggest obstacle was that Ballmer did not understand the tech world but the business world. if you are a tech company,  have a tech, cool, visionary, design oriented, creative, charismatic genius as  CEO, the business part will come along.
Bureaucracy: He may not know tech but a lot of employees did , getting to the decision maker was almost impossible(1). Technology companies must have a horizontal structure not a hierarchical one. Ideas must be implemented at the minute they are conceived or literally someone else will do.
Non Believer: He said  “ Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards” and about Apple “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance,”.  He missed the two biggest tech trends of the decade, Internet Search and Mobile. A CEO of a tech company must be a believer and absolutely open to new trends.
Lack of Determination: Costly decisions like not being too pushy to buy Yahoo! or being too shy to buy just 1.6% of Facebook. He did not lack the vision but lack the determination in this two deals. On the upside He bought Skype, included in the deal Tony Bates , Skype CEO at that time and is one of the internal candidates for CEO(2). If you get an insight follow it with all your heart.
Corporate Culture of Fear:This was the most controversial issue inside Microsoft, a qualification system called “stack racking” considered the most destructive for corporate culture (1). You should learn in this era to have your employees happy, a fear culture is out of the question.
In a statement Ballmer said “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,”  This quote maybe his best yet.
(1) See Vanity Fair August 2012
(2) Wall Street Journal  – Microsoft’s Potential CEO Candidates August 23, 2013
Content provided by @patvalderrama