Why Microsoft Can’t Find Ballmer’s Replacement

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer

Microsoft still hasn’t found a replacement for outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, despite its stated intention of having a new boss in place early this year. And the truth is, according to The Wall Street Journal, the company had really planned to have the job filled before the end of 2013.

Bill Gates and Steve BallmerWhat’s the problem? According to the Journal, it’s the lingering presence of both Ballmer and Bill Gates. Ballmer may be giving up the company’s top spot, but there’s no indication that he’ll resign from its board of directors. “At least some external executives who discussed the CEO job with Microsoft directors have expressed concerns about being hamstrung if the two men continue to serve on the board, according to people familiar with their thinking,” reports the paper.

Also, the new CEO will be stuck with the reorganization effort Ballmer began, which caused enough controversy to cause some managers, investors and engineers to head for the door. At the same time, whoever replaces Ballmer will have to handle Gates who, Business Insider notes, “isn’t attuned to what’s happening in tech the way he once was. He’s busy saving the world.”

In its 38-year history, Microsoft has had only two CEOs. Whoever the third is, he or she will be coming aboard a company that’s dealing with upheaval, the recently acquired and beleaguered Nokia and a widening field of competition.

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One Response to “Why Microsoft Can’t Find Ballmer’s Replacement”

January 07, 2014 at 10:19 am, jelabarre said:

If Microsoft is still going to be stuck with Gates & Balmer on the board, then there’s little chance of the company being reformed. They *need* to escape from the “MS Uber Alles” mindset and learn to embrace (*without* the “extend & extinguish”) things like open-source. Adopt what parts they can, learn from what others do, and compete by offering better or at least better-fitting products. Coercion and predatory practices are eventually going to fail them, just as they will eventually fail the big-government proponents.

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