With Microsoft seemingly unable to compete on the same level as Apple, Google and Samsung in certain markets, pundit sentiment towards the technology powerhouse has turned somewhat sour. Part of the solution, according to a former executive, is to get shot of the man at the top - Steve Ballmer.
"Is he a great CEO? I don’t think so," claims Joachim Kempin in an interview with Reuters
. "Microsoft’s board is a lame duck board, has been forever. They hire people to help them administer the company, but not to lead the company. That’s the problem."
Kempin added that Ballmer has a tendency to shut down any executives that may be seen as a threat to his position. This allegedly happened with Richard Belluzzo, who worked on the original Xbox before quitting some 14 months with the company.
"He (Belluzzo) had no room to breathe on the top. When you work that directly with Ballmer and Ballmer believes ‘maybe this guy could someday take over from me’, my God, you will have less air to breathe, that’s what it comes down to," he said.
So what's Kempin's suggestion to 'keep Microsoft alive' in this turbulent time? "They need somebody maybe 35-40 years old, a younger person who understands the Facebook Inc generation and this mobile community. They don’t need this guy on stage with this fierce, aggressive look, announcing the next version of Windows and thinking he can score with that.
"Steve is a very good business guy, but make him a chief operating officer, not a CEO, and your business is going to go gangbusters. I respect that guy (Ballmer), but there are some limitations in what he can and can’t do and maybe he hasn’t realized them himself."
It's worth pointing out, though, that Kempin has a book to sell. It's called 'Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft’s “secret power broker” breaks his silence
'. His well-timed interview with Reuters might well be angled in such a way as to promote such a tome, yes? What do you think?