Tag: ballmer

Microsoft reshuffles sales and marketing execs

reshuffleMicrosoft Supreme Dalek Satya Nadella announced a broad reorganization of the company’s senior executive ranks as the outfit’s Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner is packing his office up into photocopy boxes.

Turner is leaving for new job CEO of the securities unit at financial-services firm Citadel. He leaves a hole in Vole Hill because he was the bloke responsible for setting up Microsoft’s global sales.

Instead of naming a new COO, Nadella appointed two executives to divvy up the sales responsibilities and report to him. Jean-Philippe Courtois will be in charge of global sales, marketing and operations spanning Microsoft’s 13 business areas, Nadella said in a note to employees Thursday. Judson Althoff will lead the worldwide commercial business, including government and small and medium-sized businesses.

Courtois has been with Microsoft for 32 years as an international sales executive at Microsoft, having run both Microsoft International and Microsoft EMEA previously. Althoff previously ran Microsoft North America and is a former Oracle executive.

Chris Capossela will take the worldwide marketing jon, Kurt DelBene leading IT and Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood taking over the sales and marketing team’s finance group, which had been separate.

Turner had bought the sales and operations organisations a discipline it had lacked and did well boosting the sales of enterprise software. But there was also declining sales growth in the final years of CEO Steve Ballmer’s reign as.

Turner was a candidate to replace Ballmer as CEO in 2014, but was passed over in favour of Nadella. He has been searching for a CEO job for several years we guess it was on his bucket list.

Nadella said that he and Turner had been discussing what needs to be done in sales and support to help Microsoft “continue to reach for the next level of customer centricity and obsession.”

To do that, Nadella said he decided to more closely embed Turner’s unit in the rest of the company. The reorganization dismantles what had become something of a parallel organization within Microsoft, where Turner had his own finance, marketing and communications staffs.

Ballmer is still excited about Microsoft

ballmerThe shy and retired former Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer has been quietly supporting Microsoft’s new Windows 10 software in his usual understated manner.

Last week after the Windows 10 event Ballmer expressed his continued love for the company, despite the fact he was forbidden to take to the stage and bounce anymore.

For those with memories like goldfish, Ballmer was chief executive at Microsoft for 14 years before Satya Nadella took over last year. In August, Ballmer resigned from Microsoft’s board, to concentrate on a basketball team he had bought so he could have something to shout at.

Nadella appears to be making all the sorts of changes that shareholders want, but Ballmer was not delivering.  However Steve does not seem to be flinging chairs about now that Nadella is undoing all his hard work.

He made one of his rare tweets saying that:

“Today made all MSFT employees proud, customers excited and shareholders salivate. The wave of windows 10 hw, services OS rocks. I love MSFT.”

It seems like Ballmer is just as excited about the reborn Microsoft as he always was. Still he does have a lot of shares in the outfit, so we guess he still has to be.


Ballmer and Jackson steal everyone’s thunder

SteveBallmerMouthAgapeFormer Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson snatched the spotlight away from the current Voles in charge, at a recent Microsoft share meeting.

The shy and retired Ballmer is still the company’s biggest individual shareholder and he sat next to Jackson in the second row of the Meydenbauer Centre auditorium, packed with about 400 shareholders.

Ballmer chatted warmly with Jackson before and after the meeting, surrounded by well-wishers and photographers and well-informed technology reporters who had stuffed their ears well before hand.

Ballmer, who had several clashes with the board in his 14 years as CEO, applauded several times but was not always impressed with responses from the stage.

A shareholder had asked at what price Microsoft would consider not buying back its own shares, a question on many investors’ minds after the stock has risen 82 percent over the past two years to 14-year highs.

“I generally believe that our ability to grow is really only limited by our own imagination, so I tend to think the stock price over time reflects our ability to execute on that broad dream,” Hood answered, dodging the direct question but effectively signalling that the shares should keep rising as long as Microsoft achieves its goals.

“Well said,” new CEO Satya Nadella chimed in.

“That last answer sucked!” Ballmer whispered to an acquaintance, which was apparently heard by the entire theatre.

Jackson met with Nadella this week and had asked the company to step up its efforts to create a more diverse workforce. According to the company’s latest data, its more than 100,000-strong workforce is 71 percent male and 61 percent Caucasian.

Nadella, who is Indian-born, and Chairman John Thompson, who is African-American, assured Jackson the issue was a priority for Microsoft.

We guess he meant all those who did not want to improve their karma by not asking for more money.

Amazon is an illusion claims mystic Ballmer

SteveBallmerMouthAgapeIt seems that since he has left Microsoft, the shy and retiring former Vole Steve “there is a kind of hush” Ballmer has been taking some time out to consider the nature of reality.

Now when Buddha hit the same level in his meditations, he concluded that death and suffering was all an illusion, but Ballmer contemplated his navel, he concluded that the online retailer Amazon is not real.

Sharing his spiritual realisations on the Charlie Rose Show, Ballmer said that he didn’t  know what to say about Amazon before explaining why he’s wary of the company.

He said that the company made no money and in his world, you’re not a real business until you make some money.

“I have a hard time with businesses that don’t make money at some point.”

Amazon came up short of analyst expectations and on Thursday posted a $437 million loss for the third quarter, or a loss of 95 cents a share. That followed a net loss of $126 million during the second quarter. Its stock has fallen eight percent today as a result.

Ballmer said it’s OK for a company not to make money for a few years, but he’s perplexed with Amazon, which had yet to post a profit in two decades.

“If you are worth $150 billion, eventually somebody thinks you’re going to make $15 billion pre tax,” Ballmer said. “They make about zero, and there’s a big gap between zero and 15.”

Ballmer said that every business is expected to have is the capability to make money, and it requires  discipline and a certain kind of mindset.

“As a businessman, if you ask me what I’m proud of, I’m proud of the fact that I made $250 billion under my watch as CEO.”

So St Steve still has a problem working out that materiality is also an illusion.

Ballmer wrote the blue screen of death

Steve BallmerNow that he has gone, Microsoftys are telling tales about the shy and retiring former CEO Steve Ballmer.

It now appears that the much feared Blue Screen of Death was Ballmer’s contribution to the Windows franchise.  Some people’s writings create a sense of awe in the reader, but few can actually say that something they had written had created such anger and loathing as the blue screen of death.

According to this posting on the MSDN blog  one of the differences between standard-mode Windows and enhanced-mode Windows was what happened when you hit Ctrl+Alt+Del. Since 16-bit Windows applications are co-operatively multi-tasked, it is easy to determine whether the system is responding, and if not, it is also easy to identify the application which is responsible. In that case, Windows gave you options to close the non-responsive application, restart the computer, or cancel.

Ballmer was head of the Systems Division and the time and thought he would pop in on the Windows team to see what they were hatching up.

When they showed him the Ctrl+Alt+Del feature, he nodded thoughtfully and added: “This is nice, but I don’t like the text of the message. It doesn’t sound right to me.”

He offered to come up with something better and a few days later he emailed back what he thought the Ctrl+Alt+Del screen should say.

If only that legendary prose and hands-on control hand been on board for Windows 8 where a demob happy Ballmer was not involved at all.

According to insiders, Ballmer offered no direction to the Windows 8 team on the features of the new user interface. Windows president Steven Sinofsky kept him informed of the team’s progress, but Ballmer met with Larson-Green only twice during the development process, and he never got together with the team to green-light the design.


Ballmer quits Microsoft board

ballmerThe shy and retired CEO of Microsoft Steve “there is a kind of hush” Ballmer has announced that he is leaving the company completely.

Ballmer was Microsoft’s 30th employee, its first business manager and was the top Vole for over a decade. Now, after 34 years with the company, Ballmer is leaving behind his last foot hold in the company — a seat on the board.

In a letter to Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, Ballmer explained that he’s leaving the company’s board of directors effective immediately because he has become a little too busy playing with his NBA team.

Ballmer wrote that he saw a combination of Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking up a lot of time.

He will still me keeping his fortune tied up in Voleware and most of the letter is spent encouraging Nadella and giving advice.

“Microsoft will need to be bold and make big bets to succeed in this new environment,” he told Nadella. “Our board must also support and encourage that fearlessness for shareholders to get the best performance from Microsoft. You must drive that.”

He also worried about Microsoft’s stock performance: outside of index funds, probably because he still owns more Microsoft shares than anyone.

“I bleed Microsoft, have for 34 years and I always will,” he concluded. “I promise to support and encourage boldness by management in my role as a shareholder in any way I can.”

Nadella wrote back that Microsoft will thrive in “the mobile-first, cloud-first world”.

Sadly the place will be a lot quieter now that Steve has gone.

Microsoft bleeding millions on Surface tablets

surface-rtMicrosoft’s hardware curse is still alive and kicking. A couple of weeks ago Microsoft announced a $900 million charge for heaps of unsold Surface RT tablets and last week CEO Steve Ballmer admitted that Redmond got carried away and built too many Surface RTs, just in case there was anyone in the industry who didn’t know it was a massive flop already.

In its latest annual regulatory filing, Microsoft revealed that its combined revenue for both the Surface RT and Surface Pro was $853 million. The RT was introduced last October, while the Pro came along in February. Microsoft’s fiscal year ended June 30. The IDC puts the combined shipments of all Windows RT tablets, including the Surface, at just 200,000 in the first quarter of the year.

In other words, the write down was bigger than the actual revenue.

As if that wasn’t enough, Microsoft also reported a 10 percent increase in marketing expenses. Much of that cash went towards Surface advertising campaigns, which were apparently as effective as the French armed forces in 1940. Adding other expenses such as R&D and distribution into the mix only makes the situation worse.

Microsoft clearly doesn’t need more bad Windows RT news, especially not today, but Asus Chairman Jonney Shih obviously didn’t get the memo. He told AllThingsD that his company would not launch a new Windows RT tablet, which was to be expected as he already moaned about the platform earlier this year.

“The result is not very promising,” he said.

He added that people still use a lot of legacy Windows applications and that Asus will focus on Intel-based products as well.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, Shih is not the only industry leader who thinks Windows RT is dead in the water.

Microsoft’s Ballmer cries into his beer

steve_ballmer Microsoft’s delightfully understated CEO has admitted that everything he has done over the last year has been a cock-up.

According to the Verge, Steve “there’s a kind of hush” Ballmer has publicly admitted that Microsoft  built too many Surface RT tablets, and it’s not selling as many Windows devices as he wants.

The confession came during an internal town hall event last week when Ballmer and COO Kevin Turner both addressed the recent $900 million hit for Surface RT and the sales pace of Windows across various devices.

Ballmer tried to cheer himself up by talking about getting Instagram for Windows Phone, and its plans for the next-generation Surface.

He said that Microsoft had built a few more Surface RT tablets than it could sell.  Either that or they had shipped at a price which was so expensive no reseller could get them off the shelves.

Recently Ballmer cut the price of its Surface RT tablets by 30 percent saying that the price adjustment was necessary to sell Surface RT devices.

Ballmer confirmed new devices are currently being tested with incremental improvements.

But Ballmer was even more gloomy when it came to the performance of Windows 8 which shipped as it Microsoft was trying to flog Android instead of its flagship decktop,

He said that Vole was not selling as many Windows devices as it  wanted  and a lack of devices in retail stores hasn’t helped Windows 8’s initial prospects.

Ballmer said that Microsoft was focusing on the back to school period and the holiday season to ensure Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 devices are available.


Microsoft way below the Surface

titanic-ship-wreckThis week Microsoft announced that it was cutting the price of the ARM based version of its Surface tablets.

Instantly it kicked itself an own goal with many of the more cynical types in the industry saying that it was a fire sale which HP did when its tablet failed.

Both were trying to do something fairly radical.  HP was trying to convince the world that its WebOS was up to snuff and Microsoft was trying to tell the world that it could run on ARM chips.

HP ended up flogging its warehouses in a fire sale and no the thought is that Microsoft has done the same.

There are some similarities between the HP situation and what Microsoft is doing now, but it is not to do with a fire sale.  Microsoft did make a number of mistakes when it came to its Surface and not it is trying to repair that error.

The biggest error Microsoft did was on an increasing saturated market it attempted to launch a product at a price which was far too high to push it into the market.

It also initially launched a product based around ARM which could not do half the things that the x86 version could manage.

At the time there was a good rumour that Microsoft was going to release its keyboard based Surface at about $100 to $150 lower than Apple.  This would have to be subsidised, but would certainly have proved popular and could have gotten Vole’s foot in the door.

However Microsoft decided instead not to do that.  In fact there was some indications that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did not want to hack off his OEMs too much by releasing a cut price tablet which would have knocked them out of the market.

After coming into the market late, and with a product that was going to be overpriced and a tough sell, Microsoft did not do too badly.  However the figures did leave Microsoft with shedloads of overpriced tablets sitting in its warehouse.

The answer to this was to come in late with price cuts and hope that cheap and cheerful RTs would encourage future upgrades to the concept later.

But typically with things Microsoft, it mis-handled the whole thing.   What Microsoft wanted to do was issue a new range of Surface tablets with a better spec.   It wanted to empty its warehouses so it could introduce a better selling model.

If it were Apple it would start the world talking about the new spec first.  Then no one would question what the price cuts were all about.  Those who wanted the new machines would wait, while those who did not care too much about future proofing would believe they had a good deal.

But Microsoft kept the news of its new tablets quiet until after the cuts were announced, giving the impression that they had not sold.  This re-enforced the view that the Surface was really dead in the water.

All the way down the line, Ballmer has mis-read what is happening in the Tablet market and mis-judged how Microsoft should have responded.  This is despite having a tablet which is arguably a better product than anything on the market.


Channeleye’s likely tips for new Pope

Leo-I_Attila_Raphael-(1)With Pope Benedict announcing that he is cleaning out his desk and collecting his pink slip, Channel Eye has come up with a list of those who it thinks will have the right stuff to be the next Pope. Now we know that one of the jobs of the Pope is to be Catholic, but given that the church is unlikely to survive another 100 years unless it liberals up a bit, we have given our nominations on the basis that if they can run an IT company they can probably look after the world’s largest religious organisation.

1. Steve Ballmer
Ballmer is already half way to the job by having the inner certainty that he is God. Ballmer would sort out most of the Catholic church’s problems by shouting at them until they go away. Pope Ballmer would probably encourage cardinals to make all sorts of power plays so long as they left him alone. We predict that under his rule, the Catholic church would adopt wide scale contraception to avoid another Ballmer.

2. Sir William Gates
Since resigning from Microsoft’s top job, Gates has been heading towards sainthood. Not only is he well on the way of purging Africa from the devilish mosquito, his various charity work is now healing the sick of Polio. If he were appointed Pope, Gates would closely monitor other religions and then try to mimic their success.

3. Steve Jobs
A tricky choice for the church given that he is already dead, however, that has not stopped him being the head of the world’s fastest growing religion. Chances are that thanks to Apple technology he could do the job from the afterlife, all it would take is to replace all those videos of him with an iPad so that he appears to be holding a bible. We predict that under the rule of Jobs, which would be eternal, you would have to pay half of your salary to the church every year and queue to get into the sermons.

4. Leo Apotheker
A bit ofan  outsider but given that Cardinal Ratzinger was a similar figure within the Catholic church, and it is known for being fairly conservative, we think he could be a starter. Pope Apotheker would start by selling off all the churches and training all priests so that they could handle business management software, like SAP. While many people will not understand why the Catholic Church should dump everything it makes money on and moving into business software, Apotheker would point out that this was exactly the same plan he would have run for HP if those pesky board members had not been involved.

5. Michael Dell
Although he might be a little busy for the job, Michael Dell will abandon all the churches and tell his priests to take their services directly to parishioners. However, if this plan starts to go wrong, he will do a deal with Microsoft to buy out the Church from its Mafia backers and make himself the supreme pontiff and not have to answer to anyone.

6. Paul Otellini
Paul Otellini is retiring soon so might be up for the job, as he is a big fan of monopolies and will probably rule the Catholic Church in the same way as he did at Intel. This would involve leaning on the supplies of other religions and advising them to follow the Roman Catholic Church. Then the other religions would go broke and collapse. In some cases, where they had interesting theology, Intel might buy up their patents and incorporate them into Catholic theology.