Microsoft shares are
surging on the news that CEO Steve Ballmer is out of the company.
Before investors get too excited however, they should realise that Microsoft’s board isn’t changing. And Microsoft’s board, along with Ballmer, is going to help pick Ballmer’s replacement.
Microsoft’s board isn’t upset with Ballmer. It isn’t forcing him out. We’re told the board is in “lockstep” with Ballmer and his vision for Microsoft as a devices and services company.
The way we’re interpreting all of that is whoever takes over isn’t going to lead some radical remake of the company.
You could argue Microsoft is due for a radical remake. The Xbox business could probably be spun out. Its Servers and Tool business could probably be spun out too. It could amp up its buyback, it could kill the Surface tablet line. It could do a lot of things to shake up its operations.
But, we have little faith that a new CEO will be allowed to do any of that. The new CEO is being picked by Ballmer, Bill Gates, and the board. You think he’s going to hire a guy who wants to throw out everything Ballmer’s done that Gates and the board signed off on?
No chance. Your best hope is that the new CEO has a slightly better vision for technology and is able to gradually implement it.