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August 23, 2013

Ballmer Announces Retirement, Microsoft Stock Jumps

Posted by David Hunter at 2:32 PM ET.

Microsoft announced today that CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within a year as soon as a successor is named. The stock market treated this as very good news (courtesy Zero Hedge)

Ballmer-retirement-Microsoft-stock-price

 

As always, I expect the traders got carried away by unwarranted exuberance. Mr. Ballmer may have been unable to break Microsoft out of its large company doldrums, but it isn’t obvious that the Microsoft board will find anyone who can.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”

Large companies always seem to believe they need slogans to inspire the troops (and shareholders) and "devices and services" is Microsoft’s current one. It will be interesting to see how long this slogan survives a new leadership and whether Microsoft can be rejuvenated short of a near death experience. For the moment though, Microsoft still has a sturdy herd of cash cows that can fund a lot of continued floundering.

 

In the meantime, here’s a reminder of happier days in Redmond:

 



Filed under Executives, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer

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November 12, 2012

Steven Sinofsky out as Microsoft Windows head honcho

Posted by David Hunter at 10:00 PM ET.

Breaking: Windows Head Steven Sinofsky to Leave Microsoft

Windows unit president Steven Sinofsky is leaving the company, effective immediately, AllThingsD has confirmed.

The move comes less than a month after Sinofsky presided over the launch of Windows 8 and Microsoft’s Surface tablet–products seen as key to the future if the PC software pioneer is to retain its position amid a market increasingly dominated by phones and tablets.

Sources have said the move came amid growing tension between Sinofsky and other top executives. Sinofsky, though seen as highly talented, was viewed at the top levels as not the kind of team player that the company was looking for.

Sinofsky has been widely reputed to have an abrasive personality for years, so one really has to wonder at the proximate cause of his departure. Still, team player or not, Sinofsky has to get credit for the Microsoft recovery from the Vista debacle with Windows 7.

The official press release is even more opaque as expected, but here’s the new leadership:

Julie Larson-Green will be promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering. Tami Reller retains her roles as chief financial officer and chief marketing officer and will assume responsibility for the business of Windows. Both executives will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.



Filed under Executives, Julie Larson-Green, Steve Ballmer, Steven Sinofsky, Tami Reller

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November 6, 2012

Microsoft retiring Messenger in 2013 and moving users to Skype

Posted by David Hunter at 2:16 PM ET.

While titled "Talk to your Messenger Contacts on Skype" this blog post by Tony Bates (President, Skype division, Microsoft) is more than interoperability – Messenger is being retired in 1Q2013:

We’ve got good news to share! Skype and Messenger are coming together. Millions of Messenger users will be able to reach their Messenger friends on Skype. By updating to Skype, Messenger users can instant message and video call their Messenger friends.

This effort started with the release of Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows a few weeks ago, which allows you to sign into Skype using a Microsoft account. Now Messenger users just need to update to the latest version of Skype, sign in using a Microsoft account, and their Messenger contacts will be there.

Our goal remains to deliver the best communications experience for everyone, everywhere. We want to focus our efforts on making things simpler for our users while continuously improving the overall experience. We will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 (with the exception of mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available).

One of the perils of a large company is too many overlapping products so this seems like a wise move since Skype is bigger and has the momentum while Messenger is declining, but getting 100 million plus Messenger users to convert should be exciting.



Filed under Executives, Microsoft, Skype, Tony Bates, Windows Live, Windows Live Messenger

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September 14, 2012

Ballmer "goes Oprah" with Microsoft Employee Meeting Goodies

Posted by David Hunter at 1:20 AM ET.

All Microsoft Employees To Get New Surface Tablets, Windows 8 Phones and PCs

At Microsoft‘s annual employee meeting, held today in Seattle, Steve Ballmer announced Microsoft will be giving all 90,000+ employees what some are calling the “Oprah treatment” – a new Surface RT tablet to use at home and work , a new work PC with Windows (employees can choose between desktops, laptops, ultrabooks and tablets) and a Windows Phone 8 device to use at home and work.



Filed under Employee Retention, Executives, General Business, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer

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