Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer

Ballmer in 2010.
Born March 24, 1956 (1956-03-24) (age 55)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Residence Hunts Point, Washington. U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University (A.B.)
Stanford University (Dropout)
Occupation CEO of Microsoft
Home town Farmington Hills, Michigan, U.S.
Salary $1,351,121 (2010)[1]
Net worth decrease US$13.9 billion (2011)[2]
Awards Legion of Honour[3]
Steve Ballmer -

Steven Anthony "Steve" Ballmer (born March 24, 1956)[4] is an American business magnate. He is the chief executive officer of Microsoft, having held that post since January 2000.[4] As of 2011, his personal wealth is estimated at US$13.9 billion, ranking number 19 on the Forbes 400.[2]


Early life

Ballmer was born in Detroit, Michigan to a Swiss American father and a Jewish American mother. He grew up in the affluent community of Farmington Hills, Michigan. In 1973, he graduated from Detroit Country Day School, a private college preparatory school in Beverly Hills, Michigan and now sits on its board of directors. In 1977, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a A.B. in mathematics and economics.

At college, Ballmer managed the football team, worked on The Harvard Crimson newspaper as well as the Harvard Advocate, and lived down the hall from fellow sophomore Bill Gates. He then worked for two years as an assistant product manager at Procter & Gamble, where he shared an office with Jeffrey R. Immelt, who later became CEO of General Electric.[5] In 1980, he dropped out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business to join Microsoft.[6]


Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980,[7] and became Microsoft's 30th employee, the first business manager hired by Gates.[8]

He was initially offered a salary of $50,000 as well as a percentage of ownership of the company. When Microsoft was incorporated in 1981, Ballmer owned 8 percent of the company. During the subsequent 20 years, Ballmer headed several Microsoft divisions, including operations, operating systems development, and sales and support. In January 2000, he was officially named Chief Executive Officer.[4] As CEO, Ballmer handled company finances, however Gates still retained control of the "technological vision". He served as President of Microsoft from July 1998 to February 2001, having previously served as Executive Vice President, Sales and Support since February 1992. Ballmer led Microsoft's development of the .NET Framework.[citation needed]

In 2003, Ballmer sold 8.3% of his shareholdings, leaving him with a 4% stake in the company.[9] The same year, Ballmer replaced Microsoft's employee stock options program.

In 2009, and for the first time ever since Bill Gates left Microsoft as full-time chairman, he made the opening keynote at CES.

Ballmer has also served as Director of Accenture Ltd. as well as a General Partner of Accenture SCA since October 2001.

Professional conduct

Ballmer is known for his energetic and exuberant persona, which is meant to motivate employees and partners.[10] His flamboyant stage appearances at Microsoft events are widely circulated on the Internet as viral videos.[11][12][13] One widely circulated video, captured at a developers' conference, features a perspiring Ballmer chanting the word "developers".[14][15]

Bill Gates steps down

The Wall Street Journal has reported that there was tension surrounding the 2000 transition of authority from Bill Gates to Ballmer. Things became so bitter that, on one occasion, Gates stormed out of a meeting in a huff after a shouting match in which Ballmer jumped to the defense of several colleagues, according to an individual present at the time. After the exchange, Ballmer seemed "remorseful", the person said. Once Gates leaves, "I'm not going to need him for anything. That's the principle," Ballmer said. "Use him, yes, need him, no."[16]

On competing companies and software


Speaking at a conference in NYC in 2009, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer criticized Apple's pricing, saying; 'Now I think the tide has turned back the other direction (against Apple),' Ballmer said. 'The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment — same piece of hardware — paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be.'[17] Subsequently, Apple's U.S. unit growth for Q4 2010 was 23.7% year-over-year, well ahead of the overall U.S. industry trend of a 6.6% decline (Gartner's Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q10)

Free and open source software

He has referred to the free software Linux kernel as a "cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."[18] Ballmer used the notion of "viral" licensing terms to express his concern over the fact that the GNU General Public License (GPL) employed by such software requires that all derivative software be under the GPL or a compatible license.


In 2005, Mark Lucovsky alleged in a sworn statement to a Washington state court that Ballmer became enraged upon hearing that Lucovsky was about to leave Microsoft for Google, picked up his chair, and threw it across his office. Referring to Google CEO Eric Schmidt (who previously worked for competitors Sun and Novell), Ballmer vowed to "kill Google" in an expletive-laden tirade[19] then resumed trying to persuade Lucovsky to stay at Microsoft. Ballmer has described characterizations of the incident as a "gross exaggeration of what actually took place".

During a Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco(2011) he said: "You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows phone and you do to use and [sic?] Android phone…It is hard for me to be excited about the Android phones." But figures show Android growing at an exponential rate and Windows Phone 7 struggling to gain traction in the crowded smartphone market.[20][21]


Steve Ballmer taking a seat at the KeyArena to watch the Seattle SuperSonics

On March 6, 2008, Seattle's Mayor announced that a local ownership group involving Ballmer made a "game changing" commitment to invest $150 million in cash toward a $300 million renovation of Key Arena and were ready to purchase the Seattle SuperSonics in order to keep them in the City of Seattle. However, this initiative failed, and the Sonics have since relocated to Oklahoma City, now performing as Oklahoma City Thunder.[22]

Media portrayals


Ballmer was the second person after Roberto Goizueta to become a billionaire in U.S. dollars based on stock options received as an employee of a corporation in which he was neither a founder nor a relative of a founder. Ballmer is the 46th richest person in the world according to Forbes, with an estimated wealth of $14.5 billion.[23] While CEO of Microsoft in 2009, Ballmer earned a total compensation of $1,276,627 which included a base salary of $665,833 a cash bonus of $600,000, no stock or options, and other compensation of $10,794.[24]


  1. ^ "Steve Ballmer Profile -". Forbes. 2010. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Steve Ballmer". Forbes. March 10, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ Sarkozy fait Steve Ballmer chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, AFP
  4. ^ a b c (2008-03-01)"Steve Ballmer: Chief Executive Officer". Microsoft. March 1, 2005. 
  5. ^ "First job: Assistant product manager for Duncan Hines' Moist & Easy cakes and brownies. His cubicle mate was Jeffrey Immelt, now CEO of General Electric."David Lieberman (2007-04-29). "CEO Forum: Microsoft's Ballmer having a 'great time'". USA Today. 
  6. ^ "After two years, Ballmer headed for Stanford University's MBA program for a better grounding in business. When the fledgling Microsoft ran into problems in 1980, Gates persuaded his friend to drop out and give him a hand. "Jay Greene, Steve Hamm, Jim Kerstetter (2002-06-17). "Ballmer's Microsoft". BusinessWeek. 
  7. ^ "Information for Students: Key Events In Microsoft History" (doc). Microsoft Visitor Center Student Information. Retrieved October 1, 2005. 
  8. ^ "Steve Ballmer: Chief Executive Officer". 
  9. ^ MSFT: Major Holders for MICROSOFT CP - Yahoo! Finance
  10. ^ Gavin Clarke (2009). "Ballmer garnishes Bing 2.0 with iPhone 'stomp': Return of the Kool-Aid kid". The Register. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  11. ^ Nicholas Mead (2010). "The best and worst of barmy Steve Balmer". Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  12. ^ John Oates (2010). "Ballmer readies slate PC for CES: Monkey boy to hurl spoiler at Apple?". The Register. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  13. ^ John C. Dvorak (2011). "Microsoft Needs to Check Itself". PC Magazine.,2817,2385972,00.asp?kc=PCRSS03079TX1K0000585. Retrieved 2011-06-12. 
  14. ^ Ballmer Becomes lone voice at Microsoft's helm The Economic Times 30 June 2008
  15. ^ Chris Ziegler (2010). "Ballmer's visage evoked for 'developers, developers, developers' demo app on Windows Phone 7 Series". Engadget. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  16. ^ Robert A. Guth (June 5, 2008). "Gates-Ballmer Clash Shaped Microsoft's Coming Handover". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  17. ^ "Apple is no more than a $500 logo". March 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-03.  SlashGear
  18. ^ Microsoft CEO takes launch break with the Sun-Times, Chicago Sun-Times, June 1, 2001; archived from the original on December 11, 2001; retrieved December 18, 2009
  19. ^ "Microsoft-Google battle heats up". BBC News. September 4, 2005. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Mayor Nickels announces local effort to buy Sonics, renovate KeyArena
  23. ^ Forbes topic page on Steven Ballmer profile at Forbes
  24. ^ 2009 CEO Compensation for Steven A. Ballmer, Equilar

External links

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