Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer won't run for office: Politics is the 'worst sales job in the world'

Rumours are swirling that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is prepping a presidential bid, even as he calls for political reform in the United States.

Don’t expect Steve Ballmer to join him in the political ring.

Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft and the current owner of the LA Clippers, has been outspoken in calling for a more efficient federal government. But when it comes to political ambitions, the tech billionaire has “zero, nada, none,” he said on stage at the Recode Code Conference on Tuesday evening.

Holding political office is “the worst sales job in the world,” Ballmer said, adding that politics is a “pain in the neck.”

“This rich guy likes to think about his basketball team a whole lot more,” he said.

Ballmer was at the Code Conference to discuss USAFacts.org, his new initiative to catalogue federal and state government spending and show taxpayers where their money is going. The site was born of Ballmer’s own frustrations, as a businessman and a philanthropist, in trying to access that data.

Merely reporting those numbers could be seen as political, noted Kara Swisher, Recode’s executive editor who interviewed Ballmer. But the former Microsoft CEO rejected the idea that data is partisan. Facts are facts, he said.

“I will steadfastly refuse to let it be political for me,” Ballmer said.

But he did acknowledge two exceptions to that rule.

First, he hates the idea of the US continuing to run at a deficit. “I’m not gonna preach on that, but I do think budgets should be balanced,” whether with tax cuts or cost reductions, he said.

Second, he believes children should have access to education and shelter and should be protected.

They “should be allowed to advance economically,” he said.

Get the latest Microsoft stock price here.

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