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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Jobs was also an engineer, albeit a mediocre one perhaps. In any case he called himself an engineer. After all he had worked at HP and Atari as such.

Jobs worked as an intern at HP. He worked part time for Atari, where he was assigned a hardware design task. He paid Wozniak $350 to do the design and then took credit, and $5,000 for it.

Jobs, despite what he may have called himself, was not an engineer. He was a visionary and marketing genius.

Everybody considers himself a "visionary".

That's why you need an actual visionary -- to sort out the wheat from the chaff. It's how you avoid investing a fortune into dumb ideas like the Surface RT, Windows 8, and the Zune.

Engineers can actually be quite good managers, not only at tech companies.

Microsoft doesn't need a "manager." They need either a visionary or a brilliant business leader (and I think that it is much more likely that they can hire the latter).

The Zune didn't fail because of poor management. It failed because no one wanted a feces-colored, big, heavy music player over the elegant, slim iPod. The Zune's FM radio feature turned out to be a complete flop in a market that viewed FM radio something for senior citizens. Consumers didn't want to subscribe to hear music (the Zune model); they wanted to buy music. They didn't want a Zune that could "squirt" (seriously, that's what Microsoft called it) songs to other Zunes -- if you ever found anyone else who actually owned a Zune.

Apple tried exactly what you're proposing: They put an engineer in charge. They hired Gil Amelio as their CEO. He was a Georgia Tech graduate who had worked at Bell Labs, Fairchild Semiconductor, the semiconductor division of Rockwell, and then most recently as the CEO of National Semiconductor. He was considered to be an outstanding manager. Amelio drove Apple into the ground, practically to bankruptcy.

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zima Member since:

Consumers didn't want to subscribe to hear music (the Zune model); they wanted to buy music.

Though Spotify sees some success lately...

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