back to article Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is today stepping down from the Windows giant's board of directors – just six months after he was succeeded by incoming chief exec Satya Nadella. Ballmer announced his retirement in August last year, but remained at the helm until Nadella took over in February. Shy-and-retiring Ballmer also …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All you fanboys on here are nothing compared to him!

    @Ballmer: mind the door doesn't hit you.

  2. Anonymous Coward 101

    This Windows 1.0 operating system sold by that Ballmer fellow looks like a very good, functional replacement for Windows 8. I'm sending off for it now.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Windows

      @AC 101

      Nah--I'd wait for Windows 1.0's next service pack before you do that!

    2. Annihilator Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      "a clock!!!"

      Sold

      1. John L Ward

        Oh how we forget the lowered expectations of earlier times...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > "Success requires moving to monetization through enterprise subscriptions, hardware gross margins, and advertising revenues," Ballmer helpfully suggested. "You must drive that." Translation: Selling software is 2000 and late.

    It most certainly is not and idiotic statements like this are the reason that he's not at the helm now.

    The future for Microsoft and their ilk is most certainly not in selling software, but in selling services.

    1. Pascal

      > The future for Microsoft and their ilk is most certainly not in selling software, but in selling services.

      I believe that is exactly what he stated? You can't get much more service-y than subscription services to hosted & managed enterprise systems.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        The "hardware gross margins" worries me. Maybe he never bothered to speak to Sony, Dell, etc. about the pitiful margins on their products. Margins like Apple's are very much the exception rather than the rule in consumer electronics. For Microsoft the margins on selling software like Office are likely to remain crucial for the future. SaaS sounds so good until customers find ways to migrate to alternative providers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > You can't get much more service-y than subscription services to hosted & managed enterprise systems.

        By subscription services, I assume you mean online software licensing. If you mean hosting services like Azure, then I would agree.

        Adobe have made this mistake and they will pay for it long term. They dress their offering up as a service, but in point of fact it is software rental.

        If it involves running a substantial amount of software on your machine, then you're licensing, not consuming a service.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    34 years later and ...

    It still looks like it belongs on one of those over-night cable channels that sell something different every 15 minutes.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: 34 years later and ...

      >It still looks like it belongs on one of those over-night cable channels that sell something different every 15 minutes.

      So did all of Ballmer's Microsoft.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    douché

    1. Slabfondler

      Perhaps, well more like indeed and a dirty one at that, however he is one sickly rich douché!

  6. Randall Shimizu

    This is really a big surprise. The one good thing here is that Satya Nadella will not have Ballmer looking over his shoulder all the time. I think there Bill Gates and can still offer good insights and ideas for MS however.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But is he any better? All he's done so far is take credit for Ballmer's last work.

      [Ballmer couldn't have done the recent "open Microsoft" stunts without a sock puppet or he'd be laughed off the planet given his previous blurts, and it was far too soon for Nadella to pull it off]

      I hope he's able to give MS the kick up the arse it needs, my career could depend on it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Surprise?

      Pretty sure Nadella told the board that after his "probation period" was over, Ballmer and Gates would have to go. Who in their right mind would have taken the job with those two lurking over your shoulder. I'm not being derogatory about the two former CEOs, but I think we can all agree MS needed to change course drastically and the last thing you'd want in that situation is your two former bosses in a position of influence. I think this is the best move made by Gates and Ballmer in at least a decade.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      The one good thing here is that Satya Nadella will not have Ballmer looking over his shoulder all the time

      Are you sure? As the largest individual shareholder whatever he says will carry weight whether he's on the board or not and he can have himself put on the board whenever he wants.

  7. jake Silver badge

    2 billion US dollars?

    For a third rate team in a saturated market. That is NOT good business sense. Stupid, stupid waste of money, Steve.

    1. Grikath
      Facepalm

      Re: 2 billion US dollars?

      He needed a good excuse to bow out gracefully after borking just about everything under his rule...

      He set the course for the cliffs, now he can watch from the sideline and play backseat driver as Nadella tries to veer away from disaster. Fun, innit?

    2. MrT

      Re: 2 billion US dollars?

      Probably, but can he offset any of this against his tax bill?

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Mr T (was: Re: 2 billion US dollars?)

        To answer your question, no. There is no tax break on a vanity project.

        Side note: I know Tom Tolbert, you are not Mr. T.

        1. MrT

          Re: @Mr T (was: 2 billion US dollars?)

          I'm not B A Barracus either ;-)

          I know a few people who operate businesses as tax sinks for their other concerns, not to offset the purchase but the on-going expenses against some part of their other companies. They're not at the megabucks level of sports teams though...

        2. Doug 3

          Re: @Mr T (was: 2 billion US dollars?) Basketballs

          Basketballs! Basketballs, basketballs, basketballs, basketballs, basketballs, basketballs! I love THIS team! Woooooooow! Wooooooohooooo! Basketballs, basketballs, basketballs, basketballs, basketballs, basketballs, basketballs!

          I might watch a game just to see him do that. LOL

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2 billion US dollars?

      @ Jake

      It is not a stupid waste of money when you have $18 billion and are a basketball fan...

      Besides, look at teams that were 3rd rate when bought by a sugar daddy and are now 1st rate (Seattle Seahawks anyone). I think he'll put the money into the team, get the right coach and staff, and then start building the team into a championship contender.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 2 billion US dollars?

        We're still talking about a couple of millionaires pushing a ball over some arbitrary line as if it means something, right?

        1. Slabfondler

          Re: 2 billion US dollars?

          Um, no we're not. That would be American (or Canadian) football. We're talking about millionaires throwing a ball through a hoop, much like a game with large plush toy prizes one see's at a carnival.

      2. jake Silver badge

        @AC: (was: Re: 2 billion US dollars?)

        Not a stupid waste of money, just because you have 18 billion dollars? So I guess if you have 180,000 dollars to spare, 20,000 dollars on a throw-away flirt with fame that will never be profitable is a good idea?

        The Seahawks have no local competition. The Clippers are shadowed by the Lakers. The Clippers don't even have their own arena ... Gut feeling is that Steve could pour another 3 billion into the franchise (staff, new arena, advertising, etc.), and still not make a profit. On a vanity project.

        I don't even like basketball ... but business is business.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: @AC: (was: 2 billion US dollars?)

          Gut feeling is that Steve could pour another 3 billion into the franchise (staff, new arena, advertising, etc.), and still not make a profit. On a vanity project.

          Even if he does have to put another USD 3 bn in he can still afford it. The key word is vanity: some people buy islands, other sports teams. Though I think that those that manage to stick around over time do end up making more than cost and with a good accountant it is an excellent tax sink.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC: (was: 2 billion US dollars?)

          If you have "$180,000 to spare" that's not much cushion in case things go south in your life (lose your job, expensive illness/injury, get sued over a car accident or whatever) and that $180,000 is no longer "spare".

          Us non mega rich folks can't afford to be as frivolous, though if you analyze someone's life they probably are. How many people would question this, but spend $5 on a Starbucks every morning? If you do it every working day, that's over $1000 a year, if you do it over 20 years that's $20,000. You could have just drank tap water for free. That is really throwing the money away, because you don't get anything back for it. Maybe $2 billion is too much for the Clippers, but they'll never be worth $0 unless the NBA folds.

          By contrast, when you have $18 billion, or even $18 million, even if you truly threw away $2 billion or $2 million on something that would be worth $0 in the long run, who cares? It isn't like the money evaporates, the seller gets it perhaps do something smarter with, and you get whatever enjoyment you get out of this "throwaway". You can't spend it when you're dead, might as well enjoy it while you're alive.

          You can argue he should do something good with it, but as he's passing along the money to the seller, now it is up to the seller to do something good with that $2 billion or pass it on to someone who will if he similarly "throws it away".

    4. asdf

      Re: 2 billion US dollars?

      >For a third rate team in a saturated market. That is NOT good business sense.

      Really how many American sports teams have sold for less than the owner paid? Yet another edge to being rich is your vanity projects/purchases often appreciate in value (yachts, artwork, wine, etc).

    5. Ryan Clark

      Re: 2 billion US dollars?

      Clippers were definitely not 3rd rate last season and look to have a similarly strong team this year.

  8. Kepler
    Windows

    MS Stock Price

    Did Microsoft's stock rise on the news that he's stepping down?

    1. Kepler
      Pint

      P.S.

      I for one will be pulling for Portland every time the Trailblazers play the Clippers.

      (I trust everyone remembers who owns the Trailblazers!)

      1. Eddy Ito
        Joke

        Re: P.S.

        Why should we, it's a multi-billion dollar industry that discriminates against short players. Why don't we ever hear about the lack of vertical diversity in basketball on the evening news?

        Sadly the icon is probably necessary.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: P.S.

        Don't know anything about the Trailblazers. Who does own them? I am a fan of the Portland Thinkers…

        1. Kepler
          IT Angle

          Re: P.S.

          Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Allen#Portland_Trail_Blazers

          As you can see, he also owns the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League, this year's Super Bowl champions.

          It is widely reported that when Allen first sought an NBA basketball team, he tried to buy his beloved hometown Seattle SuperSonics. However, when the owner of the Sonics would not sell, Allen looked a short distance south to Portland, and bought the Trail Blazers instead.

          (I see now that "Trail Blazers" is actually two words, not one, as I had it before. "SuperSonics" was one word, but the second S was capitalized anyway. And the Sonics are now the Oklahoma City Thunder, having left Seattle in 2008 after 41 years.)

    2. dogged

      Re: MS Stock Price

      Technically, no.

      It closed at 50c up but the announcement came after trading had ceased.

  9. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Windows

    Hey Steve--stay classy, dude!!

    "I love trying new products and sending feedback. I love reading about what is going on at the company. Count on me to keep ideas and inputs flowing."

    Terrible way to leave the company--threatening them on the way out the door! :)

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Hey Steve--stay classy, dude!!

      "I love reading about what is going on at the company". I wonder for how many years he had to do that.

  10. alwarming
    Angel

    "You’re off to a bold and exciting start."

    translation:

    "I (ie ME, or in other words, MYSELF), couldn't do it. You, MY former subordinate, certainly can't pull it off."

    "Hope you screw up. Which you will."

    1. asdf

      Re: "You’re off to a bold and exciting start."

      >"Hope you screw up. Which you will."

      Ballmer is nothing but a sales droid tool but he genuinely wants Microsoft to succeed which is why the best thing he ever did for the stock price was to resign. The biggest indirect golden parachute in corporate history.

  11. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Pint

    Clippy-to-Clippers owner Ballmer

    Splurt!!! Nurse! New keyboard please.

    And a pint for the author.

  12. SVV Silver badge

    Unfortunately, I just watched the videos....

    Horrendous, just flabbergasting. $18 billion dollars.......

    Don't let the chair hit you on the way out.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a byline suggestion/correction

    ElReg should have gone the Full Monty:

    Ballmer Quits Microsoft Board to Spend More Time with His Balls.

  14. bigfoot780

    bad cop

    He does remind me of bad cop from the Lego movie. Maybe he has a chair throwing driving range ?

  15. a well wisher

    " I love trying new products and sending feedback. ..... Count on me to keep ideas and inputs flowing."

    Keep sending the feedback Steve - I'm sure someones filing it, probably under T for Tra....

    Love the low key Win 1.0 sales pitch though !

    Still 18 billion, Nice problem to have

  16. LucreLout Silver badge
    Angel

    I'll miss him.... and Steve

    Corporate environments have become far too sterile in recent years. They're just no fun anymore. Everything is driven by compromise, moderation, not causing offence, and diversity targets.

    I'll miss the characters at the top - Steve Jobs, Bob Diamond, Bill n Steve. People that could yell and shout when they needed to, and entertain while getting the job done.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I'll miss him.... and Steve

      You've obviously missed the guy at T-Mobile USA then? Corporate America is currently too awash in cash to actually worry about anything more than their golf handicap.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remind me again - which one are Microsoft?

    Are they the ones who have broken clouds, change the PC desktop to something no one like, messes up old favourites like office, breaks servers with patches, sells tablets that aren't as good as the others on sale?

    I just needed to check before I gave a shit about this billionaire clown.

  18. chivo243 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    7th sign?

    is the sky falling? are penguins flying?

    I think it's already too late for MS to remove the tarnish of the Ballmer years. I don't think I will see it in my working lifetime. But hey, MS, prove me wrong, innovation can only benefit the whole industry. Right?

    $2billion for a sports team? I think the planet has enough hungry and cold people to think of before you drop $2billion for a sports team? I think the planet has enough sick and dying people that need proper care before you drop $2billion for a sports team? I think there are enough people who need a decent education out there before you drop $2billion for a sports team?

    Those are just for starters before you drop $2billion for a sports team!

  19. Zot

    Ballmer gone? Thank feck for that.

    I'm wishing the company might start making good decisions, where good criticism is listened to, rather than bad ideas regurgitated over the workers for them to obey.

    But on the other hand, I will miss the chuckle I get out of MSs decisions.

    Oh, wait. Nothing will change though, will it.

  20. PeterM42
    FAIL

    It's the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.....

    ...that I feel sorry for.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He was pretty much irrelevant to the consumer once the iPhone and Android appeared.

  22. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    I'm sure I can't be the first to comment on this but I am going to say it anyway.

    40 seconds prancing before he flatlines. 26 seconds yelling, hopping, skipping and jumping for the equivalent of some 30 paces and just under 14 seconds walking because he ran out of steam.

    I've been to catalogue company scams with more action. And they all looked a lot fitter. You have to look the part to act the part. With his money though, you can afford to buy peope to exercise for you. I hope it is a better investment than Windows ME, Vista, 8 or that mobile OS for pdas I can't recall the name of.

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