Did Ballmer consign Microsoft to oblivion

Its my belief that  CEO’s job is to run a company that will continue for the future.  They do that by putting a strategy in place that will enable the continued viability of the organisation….

I don’t buy into all of the capitalist market mantra out there.

  • I do not agree that growth will continue for ever,
  • I don’t agree with short term market demands like quarter by quarter reporting,
  • I do not agree that a CEO’s job is to only do a great job for shareholders.

The reason for this, is that it drives too many short term decisions.   The drivers are all wrong, given the trade off between moving to new markets or defending, defense always wins out.

Therefore when i look at Ballmers performance at Microsoft over the last 14 years, i’d say he’s failed to ensure Microsoft’s long term health.

one relatively new Apple product: the iPhone, is worth more than all of Microsoft

I really liked this piece by Ben Thompson, ” If Steve Ballmer ran Apple”… the playbook would have been simple, ramp up Sales costs, radically expand the product range to cover all possible segments, try and out muscle Samsung….and oh, maximise short term profits.

But no where in that mantra is their build products that customers love (not just want), There is nothing about entering new markets to stay relevant.  And heaven forbid doing that if it means the creative destruction for the core profit lines.   Steve failed

Microsoft was worth $600 billion the day before he assumed control. Yesterday its market cap was south of $270 billion

Steve couldn’t get his head around the changes needed to remain relevant and position MS for the future. I wrote this 4 years ago. Reviewing it now its a playbook on what not to do when a predictable disruption is on its way… and MS has remained largely a bit player in the cloud market.

What caused this? Well some of this is the capitalist mantra as above, some of this is purely wrong drivers.  Steve had such a personal vested interest in retaining the status quo (look at his wealth in shares). Isn’t it wrong that his wealth increased by nearly 3/4 of a billion just be resigning

His 333,252,990 shares of the company are worth about $11 billion, and the 7 percent run up in its stock after his announcement increased his stake, grossing him $769 million.

With that sort of personal inertia, MS was never going to make the changes it could…It takes someone truely exceptional to make the long term changes required for the continuing health of a company. Someone like a Branson, Morita, Bezos or Jobs… unfortunately for MS Ballmer was none of those…

For MS, the future is pretty grim. The trend is not your friend when the trajectory is down (read Stall points). They are late in cloud, irrelevant in mobile and becoming obsolete in the corporate.  I love Kinnect, and this could be a ray of hope. But the window of opportunity is closing…