Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Aug 2013 13:12 UTC

Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. 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.”

This was long overdue. Microsoft needs fresh blood at the top - not a salesman, but a visionary.

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Maybe Ballmer isn't the problem
by thesunnyk on Sat 24th Aug 2013 14:07 UTC in reply to "best news ever"
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This is probably going to be a contrarian view, but I really reckon Ballmer wasn't at fault here. I think the idea of convergence -- of a phone, tablet, and PC device as one converged device is not a bad one, and one that Ubuntu is pursuing fairly aggressively. Windows Phone and the new UI also generally receives a lot of praise, as does the Surface Pro, for all its failings. In contrast to everyone else, I think Ballmer had the right vision all along, but he had two problems.

The first was the "technology". I could waffle here about how "the world wasn't ready for the idea of a converged device" like it wasn't ready for the Apple Mac or Newton, but this is OSNews. The fact is, Intel fucked MS over. You and I both know it. They took way too long to get their architecture in gear for MS to have a usable way to have a powerful x86 device with good thermals and battery life. They had a solid go at the Surface Pro, but it was far too little, far too late.

The second is I believe Microsoft itself, which (and I'm guessing) is probably a fiefdom. Everyone is in it to grow their little empire, and to maximise their piece of the pie. Ballmer probably had to contend with Game of Thrones level intrigue on a day-to-day basis just to keep the company going. All the VPs were probably vying for the top job, and so were screwing over each others technology stacks. This is probably why XNA got killed. This is probably why Windows 8 switched to a completely new way of developing apps. Instead of having devices and ecosystems converge and work together, all the lords in MS-land are actively trying to sabotage each other to make their product succeed: Windows phone at the cost of RT, Office at the cost of RT, or XBox at the cost of Windows.

And that brings us to the real reason why MS is flailing: No one trusts them. No one trusts them to converge the devices, even though that's the Ballmer vision. No one trusts them to keep the damn dev APIs consistent, because they've been removing and chopping and changing everything, and no one trusts them to have a coherent ecosystem. Right now, you could have a full MS stack -- PCs, tablets, XBox, and still be better off with an iPhone than a Win Phone, because the XBox head actively wants the Phone head to look bad.

Microsoft has problems. I don't believe those problems are Ballmer. I reckon we're about to see Microsoft enter a freefall rather than a rally. Here's hoping for better though, $pple is the new Micro$oft.

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