Photo: Associated Press
11,000 Microsoft employees threw a surprise party for CEO Steve Ballmer at the “Microsoft Global Experience” conference in Atlanta, this morning.The were celebrating Ballmer’s 30th year with the company.
Ballmer’s family was on stage, and the crowd cheered him on. Ballmer was left speechless until he reportedly said, “Everything I’ve got is in this arena!”
Say what you will about Ballmer, but there’s no denying the guy loves Microsoft. And for all the grief he gets as CEO, he has done an admirable job growing the company’s revenue and profits while fighting off the government and competition.
The problem for Ballmer is the competition has never been stronger. Apple is a force in mobile with its iPad and iPhone. Google owns the Internet ad market, search, and has become a force in mobile its ownself.
So will Ballmer get bounced out of Microsoft soon after his 30th? Probably not. There’s no obvious replacement for him, and he wants to stay in charge for another decade. So, get used to what you’ve seen in the last 10 years.
In honour of Ballmer’s 30 years with Microsoft we threw together a brief slideshow of some of the highlights and lowlights of his tenure as CEO of the company.
Not that Steve Ballmer could do much about it, but Google grew into a major force under his nose, and now it threatens to disrupt Microsoft's core businesses.
At least Ballmer didn't miss the ascent of Facebook. Microsoft tried like hell to buy it, but Zuckerberg just wouldn't sell. And Ballmer didn't try to make a crappy Facebook clone, either.
On the plus side, Microsoft didn't win the bidding for Yahoo, which would have been one expensive acquisition.
But, under Ballmer's tenure, the company has been buried in mobile, culminating with the disaster known as Kin.
Speaking of failures...remember the Zune? (It's still around, astoundingly. But smartly, it's becoming software.)
Xbox took a while to make it, but the Xbox managed to become a force in gaming, and now it has Kinect which might be good.
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