back to article Microsoft's Steve Ballmer named 'most improved tech CEO'

Jobs and career community website Glassdoor has named Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer its "most improved tech CEO" for 2012, though judging by the numbers it's a dubious honor, to say the least. According to the site's latest annual Tech Company Comparison Report, which it published on Tuesday, Microsoft's chief exec scored a CEO …


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  1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    "most improved"

    Now with 75% less chair throwing, one presumes. Or maybe 75% more. With CEOs, who can tell ...

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: "most improved"

      I'd look at it more along the lines of improved quantity. When the post Christmas sales figures for WP8 emerge, Redmond will be knee deep in them. Shame he didn't do what he said he would to Eric Schmidt, since it will be all largely down to him and his company :-)

    2. ObSolutions, Inc

      Re: "most improved"

      This must be the business worlds' Ig Nobel prize

    3. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: "most improved"...Now with 75% less chair throwing,

      Dammit, you beat me to it!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back when I was in primary school

    they used to give the "most improved" awards to the slow kids who couldn't keep up, so they wouldn't feel left out.

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: Back when I was in primary school

      Or to the bullies who had the shit beat out of them.

  3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Good for him!

    Not all of us are actually capable of learning from out mistakes. It appears that Ballmer can, and good on him for that. Good luck to him next year, and let's hope he rises up the charts a few more points. Better; let's hope he goes up the charts because he's actually gotten better and not because those above suddenly got worse.

    Beer, because everyone deserves an attaboy carrot instead of the constant drumbeat of "stick, stick, stick."

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Good for him!

        @eadon not at all!

  4. mrfill

    I assume this was in one of the more obscure sections of the Comedy Awards

  5. cashxx

    Keep em as long as possible

    lol.......Microsoft, keep him as long as possible! Apple and Google will greatly appreciate the gesture!

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: Keep em as long as possible...Apple and Google will greatly appreciate the gesture!

      So too will Linux users as M$ slowly dissolves into irrelevance.

      Keep it up boys, WindblowZE 8 is your salvation!!! (NOT!!!)

  6. LesboInMansBody

    No place for minor leaguers

    This award might be considered somewhat of an honour for a rookie or novice CEO, but for a seasoned veteran of one of the largest technology companies it ought to be be an prequel to early retirement.

    MS really needs some young blood with fresh ideas.

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: No place for minor leaguers

      <sarcasm mode="drippingly caustic">

      Two comments.

      1) I really do not want to see Ballmer leave, he inspires so many! (at competitors!!)

      2) Young blood with fresh ideas at Microsoft

      WTF have you been drinking, smoking?????


      <reality check mode="on">

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sure, he is much improved, but is he hedging is MS portfolio with puts?

  8. Francis Vaughan

    Low base

    If it takes a 17 point improvement to win the category, it would seem that Balmer could win it four times in a row and still not make the top ranking for actually doing a good job, rather than just a better one. That really is starting from a low base.

  9. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Easy way to improve

    Fire 10% of the people who disapprove, promise to fire more next year if the rating do not improve and order some new chairs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy way to improve

      "The beatings will continue until moral improves"?

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: "The beatings will continue until moral improves"?

        I wish there was some way to:

        <text size="24">




  10. Tim Brown 1
    Thumb Up

    In other news...

    Microsoft has markedly improved its monitoring of employees use of the web sites during office hours, paying particular attention to job sites, surveys and thumbs up and down clicks.

    A Microsoft spokesperson was quoted as saying "we now try to provide our CEO with a detailed breakdown of who's clicking what, where and when. We took the lead from Facebook, although their system is still a fair bit more comprehensive than ours. Apparently they have a feedback circuit set up so that anyone who clicks a thumbs down, gets an electric shock."

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: ... feedback circuit set up so that anyone who clicks a thumbs down ejected out through the nearest window.

      Hey el Reg, how about a 'flying chair' icon.

  11. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Most "special" CEO @Eadon

      "Most Improved? Is that a euphemism for "special"?"

      Interesting that someone who is quick to call others copycat is parroting mutatedwombat's point from 4 1/2 hours previously. Since you mentioned Android innovations? Not looking for a phone at the mo, but it would be nice to see a list of some of the things that distinguish it. I'd like to hear from anyone on that one, by the way. Be nice if Eadon can get there first, though :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Most "special" CEO @Eadon

        "Most Improved? Is that a euphemism for "special"?"

        "Special" ? Is that a euphemism for "Great big useless knob" ?.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Most "special" CEO @Eadon

          You can always tell when Eadon has been beaten in an argument - He resorts to accusing people of being a shill.

          Nice debating skills there, Eadon.

  12. K Silver badge


    He's gone from "Absolutely no f*cking clue" to just "No f*cking clue"... well done Steve, I look forward to next year when you get to "Clueless".

  13. plrndl

    The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

    If Balmer's the most improved, I hate to think who's doing worst.

    Oh yes, I've got it, whoever's running HP this week.

    1. trashbat

      Re: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

      I can think of another Steve. Too cruel?

  14. yossarianuk


    Is this the onion ?

    Must be real hard being the CEO of a company that taxpayers around the world are forced to fund.

  15. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    The clue is in the article..

    It bases its company ratings on reviews posted by employees

    IMHO, Tim Brown 1 came closest with his employee monitoring system. All you need to add is the technology the US used for the election.

    And voilà, finally an explanation why Microsoft became fascinated with touch screens.. :)

  16. dotdavid

    "who are asked to rate factors like career opportunities, compensation and benefits, work/life balance, and senior management"

    I was under the impression the CEO had very little to do with any of that, basically being there to maximise shareholder value.

    1. Robert Grant


      The key problem is a system called Stack Ranking that Ballmer has championed, and thus it won't go away til he does.

      It's an HR performance system. It basically looks at every team in MS, and ranks every employee from best to worst. The worst are often fired, or at least cannot easily move within the company. The rankings are first based on manager review, and then on a moderating system where managers fight to represent their employees (or not).

      So, two problems:

      1) Generally it's all actually based on visibility rather than productivity, and can be gamed. HR/management actively promote the idea that how one does something (e.g. never saying how things could be better, always being very pro-Microsoft) is more important than what one does.

      2) If you have a team of superstars, you'll still have to rank some of them badly (the stats for each team must fit a bell curve, which is far too small a sample size to be accurate) and those that weren't great (but weren't the worst) this time are the lot expecting to be the worst next time

      This leads to massive politicking and zero morale. Ballmer's basically got an almost zero track record of success, as their few revenue sources are just continuations of decades-old product lines. Nothing recently has been any good, except Xbox (which still makes a massive loss) and Windows Phone (which still has gaping flaws and is very late). MS have had zero visionary leadership in 20 years, I think. Even Gates, with his prediction of tablet computing, just wasn't the guy to make it happen. Sad as it makes me to say it, Jobs was the guy.

      Ballmer is the worst: he isn't visionary, has admitted he has no idea about share prices, and he just wastes the time and money generated by clever engineers at MS.

  17. Ascylto

    He's the 44th richest person in the world. He must be doing something right!

  18. sisk Silver badge

    It's not hard to improve on a train wreck.

  19. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    This is the same Ballmer.....

    Who is constantly getting named among the list of 'CEOs on the hot seat" on CNBC and Bloomberg.

    Which gets to the point of this article that improvement is a relative thing...

  20. Shane Kent

    aggressive series of product launches...

    Ya, waiting in the long line at the Microsoft Store in Ottawa, Canada, wait, there is no MS store in Ottawa! Lol, we have multiple Apple stores. Or was I at Future Shop in line waiting to get a Surface, oh wait they didn't have them in store for launch. Exactly what aggressive product launches are they talking about??? If that is aggressive then an Apple launch must be hyper-super-duper-over-the-top-aggressive.

    I would like to know the stats, iTunes versus (lol) Media Center. What percentage of users for both on Windows? I feel that single statistic is why Balmer should have been pushed off the top of MS a long, long, long time ago. Allowing Apple to scoop up users on their own platform, so different then the MS of yesteryear.

    1. Euripides Pants Silver badge

      Re: hyper-super-duper-over-the-top-aggressive

      If its Apple it would simply be iGgressive...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I''m just thinkin he might look pretty good with a monocle, grey goatee and wizardy-type cloak.

    Only kidding Steve, p.s. you look much healthier, well done.

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