It seems the odds a favouring Stephen Elop to become the new CEO of Microsoft, at least if you ask punters in the UK.
Betting shop Ladbrooks is taking odds on the leadership contest, which will see some-one take over the reins of the company in a year’s time, when Steven Ballmer retires.
The ex-Microsoft executive has also been put forward by others, who have insisted Microsoft needs a “product” man with great taste to take forward Ballmer’s vision of Microsoft as a devices and services company, a skill he already demonstrated amply as CEO of Nokia.
To our readers also rate his chances? Let us know below.
Computerworld reports on rumours that Steve Ballmer’s upcoming and untimely retirement was the result of the Surface RT disaster, which saw more than $900 million written off.
"He was definitely pushed out by the board," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, in an interview Friday. "They either drove him out, or put him in a situation where he felt he had to leave to save face."
Steve Ballmer had previously said he intended to remain CEO of Microsoft until 2018, but announced last week he intends to retire in only 12 months.
"Typically, a board will be working behind the scenes for a replacement, but they’ve given themselves 12 months," said Moorhead. "I think this went down very quickly."
In his email to Microsoft employees he wrote:
"This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do. I take this step in the best interests of the company I love.”
Moorhead was clear in blaming the Surface RT write-down as the precipitant.
"It was the $900 million write-down. That caught the attention of the board, and based on Ballmer’s over-enthusiastic public commentary on Windows RT and Surface RT, they lost a lot of credibility. So did Ballmer. How can you be that far off what consumers want? Was it that you’re not listening to your team? Was it because the team was afraid to give him advice? Was it because the team saw a different reality? Or was it that the team lacked the skill set to anticipate the failure?"
"The buck stopped with Ballmer," said Moorhead.
"He has been looking for the right time to retire for a long time, the right person to hand the reins to," said David Cearley of Gartner. "I think it’s very likely that Ballmer’s decision [to retire] is part of a broader strategy within Microsoft as expressed by the reorganization in July that is geared toward shifting the corporate culture."
"They came to the decision that this overall strategy required bringing in a new CEO who can execute from the beginning to put their own imprint on that strategy," said Cearley.
The last 12 months has demonstrated that Microsoft is very out of touch with the market, seen particularly in the pricing of the Surface RT tablet, which should have been priced significantly cheaper than the iPad, given the lack of apps for the platform at the time, and more recently with repeated changes in Windows 8 and the Xbox One in response to consumer outrage.
Hopefully a new Microsoft will pay more attention to getting it right from the start rather than having to change course mid-stream repeatedly.
From a Windows Phone point of view, we suggest management start by taking a look at the Windows Phone User Voice page here.
In an internal memo to staff Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his intention to retire within 12 months.
I am writing to let you know that I will retire as CEO of Microsoft within the next 12 months, after a successor is chosen. There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction. You can read the press release on Microsoft News Center.
This is a time of important transformation for Microsoft. Our new Senior Leadership team is amazing. The strategy we have generated is first class. Our new organization, which is centered on functions and engineering areas, is right for the opportunities and challenges ahead.
Microsoft is an amazing place. I love this company. I love the way we helped invent and popularize computing and the PC. I love the bigness and boldness of our bets. I love our people and their talent and our willingness to accept and embrace their range of capabilities, including their quirks. I love the way we embrace and work with other companies to change the world and succeed together. I love the breadth and diversity of our customers, from consumer to enterprise, across industries, countries, and people of all backgrounds and age groups.
I am proud of what we have achieved. We have grown from $7.5 million to nearly $78 billion since I joined Microsoft, and we have grown from employing just over 30 people to almost 100,000. I feel good about playing a role in that success and having committed 100 percent emotionally all the way. We have more than 1 billion users and earn a great profit for our shareholders. We have delivered more profit and cash return to shareholders than virtually any other company in history.
I am excited by our mission of empowering the world and believe in our future success. I cherish my Microsoft ownership, and look forward to continuing as one of Microsoft’s largest owners.
This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do. I take this step in the best interests of the company I love; it is the thing outside of my family and closest friends that matters to me most.
Microsoft has all its best days ahead. Know you are part of the best team in the industry and have the right technology assets. We cannot and will not miss a beat in these transitions. I am focused and driving hard and know I can count on all of you to do the same. Let’s do ourselves proud.
Steve Ballmer has been with Microsoft since 1980 and became its CEO since January 2000, therefore overseeing both the rise and fall of Windows Mobile and Microsoft’s tablet strategy, and its current move to be a devices and services company, which has been met with mixed success, with the services arm growing very strongly, while the devices side having a spectacular failure recently with the massive $900 million Surface write-off.
There has been calls for his replacement for many years now, with many calling him a better salesman than innovator, but Steve has presided over a very financially successful Microsoft with huge growth in revenue over the years.
Steve’s successor will be chosen by a committee which will include Bill Gates. It is not clear of his replacement will have the same passion for any of his old projects, including Windows Phone, with Microsoft considering both internal and external candidates.
Leading internal candidates include Kevin Turner, chief operating officer,Terry Myerson, executive vice president, operating systems and Julie Larson-Green, executive vice president, devices and studios. A number of less high profile Microsoft executives which has contributes to the recent success of the company may also be in the running, with Dow Jones having a list of 6 candidates on their site.
So far the stock market has reacted positively to the news, with the shares up more than 6%.
What impact do our readers think this will have on Microsoft and Windows Phone? Let us know below.
See the official press release after the break.
Our sister site Microsoft-news has been reporting on a re-organization plan under way at Microsoft. A new report out this morning suggests the Windows & Windows Phone may be combined headed up jointly by current Windows Phone Chief Terry Myerson and current Windows chief Julie-Larson Green.
One idea under consideration by Ballmer would create four divisions: an enterprise business led by Nadella; a hardware unit overseen by Mattrick; an applications and services division under Lu; and an operating-systems group jointly led by Terry Myerson, Windows phone chief, and Julie Larson-Green, head of Windows engineering, said one person. Bates would also be given a significant role, said the person.
Andy Lees who was essentially fired from the Windows Phone division, will leave Microsoft sometime between the release of Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone Blue.
Windows & Windows Phone all now run on the same Windows kernel. With the addition of WindowsRT it is expected that WinRT and Windows Phone will align closer together with the release of Windows Phone Blue in Q1 2014.
I think this is something that needs to happen and will help propel Windows Phone to greater success. My concern is that neither Julie-Larson Green or Terry Myerson are particularly great leaders and their may be a need for a third person to emerge victorious.
Of course this is just speculation on my part, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
In a recent Annual Share holder MeetingÂ Steve Ballmer appeared to admit Windows 8 will be coming to Windows Phone, but in the end it all comes down to the placement of the full stop.
According to Business Insider Steve Ballmer responds to the question if we are in a post-PC era:
We are in the Windows era. We were, we are, and we always will be. Uh, that’s kind of what we’re paid to do. We’ve got broad initiatives, driving Windows down to the phone with Windows 8. You’ll see incredible new form factors powered by Windows, from tablets, small, large, [??], smaller, bigger, room-sized displays. We are in an era in which the range of smart devices is continuing to expand. That is a fantastic thing for Microsoft.
However simply moving the full stop to the left gives a completely different sentence.
We are in the Windows era. We were, we are, and we always will be. Uh, that’s kind of what we’re paid to do. We’ve got broad initiatives, driving Windows down to the phone. With Windows 8, you’ll see incredible new form factors powered by Windows, from tablets, small, large, [??], smaller, bigger, room-sized displays. We are in an era in which the range of smart devices is continuing to expand. That is a fantastic thing for Microsoft.
The point in question is at second 26 in the video above, or from 47:22 in the conference call here.
What do our readers think? Did Ballmer let the cat out of the bag? Let us know below.
Update: At BI Microsoft has released an officialÂ transcriptÂ of the statement placing the full stop where we did.
Thanks MobilePaddy for the tip.
Apologies for the low volume.
Microsoft has been speaking at the Japanese Microsoft Developer Forum 2011 and amongst the wide range of topics he covered he also spoke about the next version of Windows Phone 7.
He revealed that â€œMangoâ€ will have 500 new features, and promise that handsets running the updated OS will be coming to Japan later this year.
He also said tomorrowâ€™s Mango event will reveal details of the OEMs and carriers, lending some support to the rumour that a number of new devices are set to be announced tomorrow. Also revealed at the event was that the Mango development tools will be released at the end of the week.
See the full streaming video of the conference here. The relevant Windows Phone 7 section starts around the 29 minute mark.
See also a round up of the rumours regarding Mango in this post here.
Steve Ballmer, speaking at a lunch at Houston Technology Centre (not to be confused with the other HTC), emphasised the importance of mobile and tablet-based systems to Microsoft’s future development, and said that the (desktop) Windows of 2016 will be very different to that of today.
Ballmer said the operating system found on more than 90 percent of today’s PCs will evolve to become something very different in the next five years.
Those changes will be driven by such innovations as sophisticated smart phones and tablet computers.
Windows â€œwill look a lot different and it will run different applicationsâ€ than it does now, Ballmer told a crowd of business leaders at Union Square in Minute Maid Park. With these innovations, â€œWill Windows five years from now look like it does today? Of course not!â€
Nothing exactly concrete there, but the Metro UI and its clean, typography-rather-than-chrome design language has generally been very well received; can we hope, perhaps, to one day be seeing something that looks like Metro on our desktops?
Steve Ballmer will be giving his keynote for Mobile World Congress 2011. Expectations are mixed for the speech, with very few expecting new hardware.
We are however expecting to hear some more about upcoming Windows Phone 7 updates, possibly a new chassis for Windows Phone 7, and of course more on the Nokia deal.
Follow the keynote using the live blog panel below.
At Mobile World Congress 2010 Microsoft officially unveiled Windows Phone 7, after maintaining impressive secrecy all throughout its development.
Now Steve Ballmer will once again deliver a keynote at the global mobile phone industry meetup, and we hope will take this opportunity to inform us a bit more about the state of Windows Phone 7.
Likely announcements at the event could be a next generation of devices, new OEMs and the second chassis design of Windows phone 7, with a more Blackberry-like form factor. Hopefully updates to the OS will not have to wait for the event to be pushed out to our handsets.
Do our readers have a wish list for Mobile World Congress? Let us know below.
Thanks Javo Guajardo for the tip.
Steve Ballmer gave his keynote speech at UK TechDays Event. He mentioned that Microsoft will be announcing WP7 devices in next two weeks and he commented that the reason developers have not been provided test hardware prior to the official launch, was to help drive consumer excitement. Also he spoke about Microsoftâ€™s mobile vision and how it differs from its competitors. He even commented on Android which are interesting.
Steve also mentioned Microsoftâ€™s tablet strategies which they still believe that iPad doesn’t provide good experience and that can be done using Windows 7 powered slates. Only he knows exactly what they mean despite iPadâ€™s huge success in the market. Then he said about Windows 7â€™s success, Office 2010, Windows Azure, SharePoint, etc. There were few demos mentioning Windows Phone 7â€™s development, its multi tasking capabilities,notifications services,etc.
For more details visit UK Tech Days site.
Noting that boldness was the companyâ€™s strategy, also going forward, he also made it clear they did not expect to reap the financial rewards from Windows phone 7 very soon.
â€œYou put aside the questions of how you make money and blah, blah, blah. That’s all interesting in the long run. In the short run (claps his hands and rubs them together), people gotta want these phones. I think they’re going to look pretty good. … If we start the popularity chain and start kind of the buzz around these things, we’ll be able to make some money off them.â€
The statement likely alludes the the expected gigantic and hugely expensive advertising campaign the company is rumoured to be preparing, with estimates ranging into the $400 million or more.
Ballmer also did not express much regret for the passing of the KIN, claiming it distracted the company from Windows Phone 7.
The No. 1 message from Kin is a message of focus. You only get so many things you can really talk about, communicate, work on with the consumer. You’ve got to be bold, you’ve got to look forward and you’ve got to stay focused. Kin was neither — with 20-20 hindsight — bold enough relative to where the market’s going, and it just defocused activity from Windows Phone.
One wonder what bold moves Microsoft plans for the future, both in Windows Phone 7 and other areas. Do our readers have any suggestions for the company? Let us know below.
Thanks Mobile Paddy for the tip.
So says Joe Wilcox at Betanews, citing the success of Windows 7 after the shambles of Vista, which he related to Steve Ballmer similarly taking a hands-on approach to the division.
“For the last 12 months, I’ve been running our Windows business,” Ballmer told financial analysts in July 2009. It was a startling proclamation. The division, now called Windows and Windows Live, had no president running operations. There was Steven Sinfosky in charge of day-to-day Windows development, but no executive above him. Ballmer took the role that Sinfosky inherited in July 2009 as president. After bungling Vista, Microsoft Windows 7 right, under Ballmer’s supervision.
Ballmer recently took direct control of the entertainment and devices division after seemingly disposing of Robbie Bach, with Andy Lees now reporting directly to him.
He goes on to assert Ballmer is a consummate salesman, which may be exactly what Windows Phone 7 needs at the moment.
Lastly, by taking control of Windows Phone 7 no-one but Ballmer will be blamed if it fails, which may be just the kind of incentive the leader of the software giant needs to throw every resource possible to avoid his own head rolling.
Read the full article at Betanews here.
Do our readers agree, or has neglect and lack of vision by Ballmer actually been the problem all along? Let us know below.
The Strange Steve Ballmer quotes are coming out of India thick and fast. The latest, reported by Techtickerblog, is from a presentation by Steve Ballmer at the Microsoft IndiMix 2010 conference where he showed a slide claiming 50 Windows Mobile smartphones in 2009, and a full 30 coming in Q3 2010.
30 smartphones so close to the end of the year can only suggest the launch of Windows Phone 7 in the quarter, which is certainly much earlier than we expect. On the other hand, Steve did say he was going to accelerate thingsâ€¦
Anyone with a link to a video of the keynote would be much appreciated.
Read more at Techtickerblog here.
I know you’ve been retired from Microsoft’s day-to-day operations for about a year now and Steve B. is running the show, but you are still Chairman of the Board and the public identity of Microsoft. That’s why I’m writing you, Bill, because Microsoft is still your company and it needs you. Think modified Pottery Barn rule: you own it, you broke it, you fix it.
To read the rest of my letter to Bill Gates, please visit my blog here.
To learn more about the Psychology of Technology and other interesting topics, visit here.