New Microsoft CEO faces big choices post-Steve Ballmer

Aug 26 2013, 13:26 IST
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Steve Ballmer, who announced his retirement from the head of Microsoft Corp on Friday, had the misfortune to follow Bill Gates at the helm just as the company hit the end of its explosive growth period. Steve Ballmer, who announced his retirement from the head of Microsoft Corp on Friday, had the misfortune to follow Bill Gates at the helm just as the company hit the end of its explosive growth period.
SummaryBallmer's grand design calls for 'One Microsoft' and forge a future based on hardware, cloud-based services.

stake in Microsoft.

July's gloomy earnings, which offered no immediate hope of quick improvement, may have sealed the decision. Ballmer said Friday he made the choice in the few days prior, and informed the board on Wednesday. Whether the board urged Ballmer to leave is not known.

The impending exit of Ballmer leaves a difficult and perhaps impossible choice to his successor - pushing a large and insular behemoth through a highly risky transformation to the mobile world, or clinging to an island of profitable but PC-centric businesses.

"I'm not sure there is someone who can do Steve's (Ballmer's) job 'better'. It's an incredibly difficult job, perhaps intractable," said Brad Silverberg, a former senior Windows executive and co-founder of Seattle venture capital firm Ignition Partners. "Perhaps the way the job is defined needs to change, and this is the harbinger of bigger changes to come."

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