Analyst claims Steve Ballmer was forced to retire due to $900 million Surface RT flop


Steve Ballmer

It was only a matter of time before any “analyst” shared their views on the sudden retirement of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. According to one analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, Ballmer was forced to retire due to the Surface RT flop that resulted in a $900 million dollar write-off for the company.

According to the analyst, Patrick Moorhead, Steve Ballmer was “pushed out by the board” and that chances are he was driven out or was placed in a situation where he had to leave in order to “save face.” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the man responsible for the company’s shift towards a devices and services company, recently and unexpectedly announced he will be retiring within the next 12 months. Microsoft is currently searching internally and externally for his replacement.

“It was the $900 million write-down. That caught the attention of the board, and based on Ballmer’s over-enthusiastic public commentary on Windows RT and Surface RT, they lost a lot of credibility. So did Ballmer. How can you be that far off what consumers want? Was it that you’re not listening to your team? Was it because the team was afraid to give him advice? Was it because the team saw a different reality? Or was it that the team lacked the skill set to anticipate the failure?” Moorhead stated.

“The buck stopped with Ballmer,” Moorhead adds. Microsoft recently slashed prices of its Surface RT tablet by nearly $150 dollars, after reporting a $900 million dollar loss for its Surface devices during its quarterly earnings report recently. According to new data, Windows 8 and Windows RT based tablets account for 4.5% of the global tablet market as of Q2 2013. In the grand scheme of things, the Surface brand has earned Microsoft $853 million dollars, which is obviously less than the $900 million write-off.

On the topic of write-offs, lets not forget that Microsoft has made other write-offs in the past. Microsoft took a $1.15 billion write-off over the Xbox 360’s red ring of death overheating issue back in 2007. How about the Zune or Kin phone? The Surface RT isn’t the only device that caused Microsoft to take a hit.

While this so called “analyst” wants to blame Ballmer for the Surface RT flop and subsequent retirement, Ballmer stated during his retirement announcement that he initially wanted to retire during the middle of the devices and services transformation. However, Ballmer believes Microsoft needs a full-time CEO who will be there for a longer term to ensure his “new direction” continues forward.

Was Steve Ballmer to blame for the Surface RT flop?