What to Make of the Timing of Ballmer's Decision

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Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who has struggled to adapt the world’s largest software maker to the shift away from personal computers and toward mobile devices, will retire after more than a decade at the helm. Bloomberg's Cory Johnson, Betty Liu and Anurag Rana have more on Bloomberg Television's "Money Moves." (Source: Bloomberg)

Analyst, and betty liu come and cory johnson.

Cory, is an announcement comes weeks after ballmer streamline the company's management, the biggest shakeup in 10 years.

When do you make of the timing?

Clearly, this was not a decision that steve just made.

He was clearly tried to set things up for a successor.

The way that microsoft works is a byzantine operation with all kinds of divisions working on some of the same projects.

Famously, stories of people developing technology that was already developed in microsoft so that they would not have to deal with each other.

The management task there is a great one.

It will be tough for anyone to come in there and manage what was so tough for steve ballmer to manage.

I want to bring in betty liu.

You were on the air when the news broke.

There had to be a surprise factor.

For 10 years, we thought, this is the guy running microsoft.

Some people say, quarterbacking the announcement, it was thought that he would eventually step down.

But it was a shock for many people.

The stock price immediately reacted when the announcement came out.

In a light-hearted way, we said microsoft added on $18 billion in new market cap.

Any new ceo coming in may have just paid their salary based on that increase.

Since ballmer has been at the helm, this 10 years-plus time period, the last time the stock was above 50 was in his first year.

It has really suffered under his leadership.


The last 10 years, three or four major things happening with technology.

You have the internet bubble, they missed out on the search issue.

Then there was a lot of push to cloud computing.

These guys were no where close to playing in that market.

The iphone, ipad took over a lot of the sales of their pc's. it seems like they are always playing defensive.

And that has been one of the criticisms come to your point, about ballmer.

He is not really a visionary.

Cory, i want to bring you back in on this point.

Every now and then there is a compliment that comes through.

He turned this monstrosity, bureaucratic company coming into a leaner and meaner machine.

What does that mean for his legacy, what if he wants to take another gig somewhere?

I talked to steve when they were announcing windows 8. knowing that his days would somehow be numbered one day, i asked him specifically, what his legacy would be.

Listen to how he phrased that moment.

For me, personally, i was not at microsoft during the founding of the company, the launch of the pc, a pretty big deal.

Windows '95, the explosion of technology was a pretty big deal, and then the launch of windows 8. in my 32 years at microsoft, those are the three seminal moments that i helped to drive.

A lot of accomplishments during his time.

The business grew tremendously, the employee count also grew.

Free cash flow also grew, a measure of success in the business.

You are right to look at the things that they did not do.

They did not go under like some of the giant companies we talk about during the bubble at the time the ballmer took over, but they also did not become google, vmware, said as for stock come -- sales force.com.

Betty, this morning you had some conversations with guests asking, what took so long for microsoft to compete in this space?

Over the years, the questions must be asked.

You mentioned as well about the share price.

What took so long for either the board to say we need a change, or to steve saying, maybe we need some new blood.

We know that he did streamline management and some have said, why did he not announce at that point his retirement?

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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