Steven A. Ballmer
• Launched new multibillion dollar products such as Windows XP and the Xbox game console
• Settled federal antitrust lawsuit without making concessions that would restrict future Windows development
PHOTO BY BRIAN SMALE
With $15 billion to his name, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT ) CEO Steven A. Ballmer need never work again. But after 21 years of collaborating with Chairman William H. Gates III to build the company into a global power, Ballmer has no desire to leave. A man who once needed throat surgery because he yelled so much, he is as enthusiastic as ever. "Let's just start with the fact that I love to work," he says.
In his second year as CEO, Ballmer, 45, has managed to fortify Microsoft's position as an industry leader. In June, 2000, a federal judge ordered Microsoft broken in two as punishment for violating federal antitrust laws. But the company has negotiated a proposed settlement that leaves intact its ability to add features to the Windows monopoly. (Nine states are suing for harsher restrictions.) Now, Microsoft is one of the few stars in techdom: Its sales in fiscal 2001 grew 10%, to $25.3 billion, although profits fell 28%, to $7.3 billion, largely from a charge related to dot-com and telecom investments.
Microsoft is taking market share away from such rivals as Oracle Corp. (ORCL ) in database software and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW ) in computer-server software. That's a big reason Ballmer keeps going to the office every day.