Microsoft Expert Says Ballmer Was A Salesman Not A Visionary

/ 3 years ago


Microsoft Expert Michael Cusumano, management professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of a book on Microsoft published in 1995, has been talking to Bloomberg about Steve Ballmer’s time at the helm of Microsoft. Cusumano is quite critical of Ballmer’s leadership skills stating that:

“Microsoft had a great run for 30 years, but it’s too much to expect somebody like Steve, who is more of a caretaker CEO than a visionary leader, to just bring Microsoft to the next level.”

Despite that Cusumano believes Ballmer was still a great motivator, but just not enough of a visionary leader that Microsoft urgently needed:

“I’ve met Steve a number of times. He’s a great motivator, he has terrific energy, tremendous enthusiasm, and he loves the company deeply, That energy is contagious. But Microsoft competes in a market where the competition and the pace of change is really quite fast, and if you’re not ahead of the game, then you’re likely underneath it.”

Steve Ballmer also took over at a critical time in Microsoft’s development, when Bill Gates stepped down, but was apparently the wrong man for the job:

“In many ways he had a very hard job. When Bill Gates stepped down in 2000, he left at a critical juncture, All of these changes, and Ballmer, who is much more of a sales guy than a technical leader or market visionary, was left holding the bag.”

Image courtesy of ZUMA / Rex Features

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  • Wayne

    To me this just sound like a long winded way of saying Ballmer was a useless leader. Not that I suppose it matters to him anymore. He’s not exactly gonna retire poverty stricken.