Businessweek has a long profile out today about Steve Ballmer’s final months as Microsoft CEO last year.
The story gives us a better idea of why Ballmer decided to announce his retirement a few years before anyone expected him to.
It all came to a head in one board meeting with Ballmer in June 2013.
According to Businessweek, Ballmer got into a shouting match with Microsoft’s board when directors said they didn’t want to buy Nokia and start making smartphones. Ballmer told the board last June that if he didn’t get what he wanted, he wouldn’t be CEO any more. Businessweek said Ballmer’s shouts could be heard in the hall outside the conference room.
By the way, this report is at odds with Ballmer’s earlier statements to The Wall Street Journal that he had decided to retire in May 2013, a month before the alleged shouting match.
In the end, the board compromised with Ballmer. Ballmer wanted to buy both Nokia’s handset business and its mapping platform called HERE. Instead, Microsoft ended up buying just the handset business for $US7.2 billion and licensed HERE maps from Nokia. Microsoft announced the deal shortly after Ballmer publicly announced his retirement.
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