Steve Ballmer's 5 Biggest Microsoft Blunders

On Friday morning Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced that longtime CEO Steve Ballmer would be retiring from the company within the next 12 months. While Bill Gates will always be the company's iconic founder and former CEO, Ballmer has led the company across the past 13 years.

Ballmer's legacy is a mixed-bag. On one hand, profitability sharply increased during his time as CEO, yet the company has also seen its share of blunders across the past decade and is badly trailing both Apple and Google in both tablet and smartphone adoption. 

To see a full run-down of some of Ballmer's biggest blunders, just click on the slideshow below. Also, if you're looking for more information on the battle between Microsoft, Apple, Google, and other major tech giants, we've created a free report called "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?"To grab a copy of this report, simply click here -- it's free!


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  • Report this Comment On August 24, 2013, at 11:25 PM, cdkeli wrote:

    His 6th and probably greatest was not taking a night job as a janitor at a local community college.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 10:25 AM, wijnboer wrote:

    The unrepairable flaw of the Microsoft platform is that it is a SINGLE user multitasking platform vs MULTI user multitasking platforms like Android and all of the UNIX, Linux and NEXT based platforms.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 4:00 PM, SunDevilDon wrote:

    @wijnboer. That is true of their DOS/Windows based line of OS's (XP, Vista) but not their NT based line of server OS's. I suspect they wanted to merge those two lines, not sure they ever did.

    Discloser (edited userid & hostname of course) :

    [me@host]~% uname -a

    Linux host.localdomain 3.10.9-100.fc18.x86_64 #1 SMP Wed Aug 21 18:25:04 UTC 2013 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

    Penguin Power!!! :-)

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 6:17 PM, cmalek wrote:

    @SunDevilDon:

    The last DOS/Windows based O/S from MSFT was Win ME. All O/Ss starting with Win 2000 (win 2k, XP, Vista, Win 7 & 8) are based on NT. You may be a Linux expert but when it comes to Windows...........eh, not so much.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 11:58 PM, TMFBritcodeftw wrote:
  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2013, at 3:31 PM, LeeRoder wrote:

    Bringing up Linux is an excellent point. I have been in the tech industry since receiving my degree way back in '84. Went to work for IBM. Interesting times. We could discuss at length all of the shifts in the industry from mainframe to PC, proprietary vs. open, etc.

    Here's the interesting thing to me, about 30 years later. What the open systems folks have gotten right is that consumers actually are smart enough to not want to pay for the same things over and over.

    Capitalists and nay-sayers misunderstangly assert that 'free software' cannot exist as a viable commercial entity, or that it is socialistic or something.

    Not so. The point of this whole movement is to enable the 'next wave' of innovation. By creating a baseline that really contains no new concepts (a free OS), and working hard to keep it that way, it enables businesses to channel research and revenues into creating things that layer ON TOP of the 'free' baseline.

    So what does all of this mean? I strongly suggest to the stock pickers at The Fool that, when it comes to technology picks, one of the things that gets factored in is how well a technology firm is leveraging open systems.

    Guess what. Google is fantastic at it! IBM has figured it out too. So has Amazon. Microsoft absolutely has not. In fact, they have fought against it, just as IBM fought Microsoft in the early days. They learned their lesson and figured out how to embrace Linux and Open Systems. Apple in an interesting anomaly. Although fiercely proprietary on the surface, they actually do leverage Open Systems at the core. They shifted to Intel base architecture not too long ago with their hardware and their OS is based on another 'free' UNIX clone - FreeBSD.

    Sort of a long-winded comment, I apologize. The point is that in addition to who runs a company and how well it is run, in the case of a technology firm, I submit that how well they leverage Open Systems will be a key factor in determining agility and ability to respond to both shifts in user demand as well as other innovations which will certainly arise...

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