Oh poor Steve Ballmer. Not only is the Microsoft CEO having a tough time gaining traction in the smartphone space and now Forbes is naming him “the worst CEO of a large publicly traded American company today.” Yikes.
The argument against Ballmer goes like this: Microsoft’s stock was much higher when he took over and he has failed to properly position the company to be at the forefront of the most popular trends in technology. It also doesn’t help that Apple used to be a gadfly to Microsoft but it has turned into the most valuable U.S. company in about a dozen years thanks to its iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Ballmer’s failures are plentiful too, as Vista, Zune, Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows 7 slate PCs were all under his watch. He may have also lucked out by not being able to buy Yahoo for a whopping $45 billion. There are also some videos out there which he may be regretting.
So, I’m not going to make the case that Ballmer is the greatest CEO out there but I think it’s unfair to call him the worst. Microsoft is still recording record revenues and is banking billions per quarter. Windows 7 was a great product and Windows 8 is a very forward-looking operating system which doesn’t discount tablets.
The X-Box 360 is arguably the best console out there and even if you’re a PS3 fan, Microsoft’s box has made great strides towards being the one multimedia box to rule the living room. As much as Bing and the online services have failed to turn a profit, this is an area that Microsoft has to dump resources in to or it will risk becoming irrelevant.
I’ve cut Microsoft a lot of slack for its mobile ambitions, as I truly think that Windows Phone is an interesting way to approach mobile computing. If it turns out that Windows Phone 7 and Mango were just a stop-gap until Windows Phone 8 (with a new kernal), I may not be as forgiving.
Do you think Ballmer is the worst CEO?