Steve Ballmer is a man who made quite an impression at Microsoft, but he is now about to step aside as CEO. All good things must come to an end. In what should prove to be his final interview before exiting his role at the head of the company, Ballmer reflects on his career and the decisions he made along the way.
It’s not all that long ago that Microsoft was the subject of a series of antitrust cases all over the world. Ballmer explains that he was keen to get these cases settled as quickly as possible, saying that public perception of the company was more important than the cost.
When talking about Microsoft’s enterprise work, Ballmer readily admits that it is only in recent years that the company has been perceived as being ready to supply the market. It was when he was working with Windows NT that Ballmer decided to invest heavily in customer support and services — and it was an investment that paid off.
One of Ballmer greatest claims is the decision to enter the gaming arena with Xbox. His careful, considered approach to business mean that any new venture had to prove its worth, and he decided to give his backing to Xbox. “It was my decision, my accountability. I believe in accountability. I’m in. I’m accountable. I’ll make this work.”
But what Ballmer seems to be most happy about is the idea that Microsoft now has a keener focus.
“I do think we’re far more focused than we were when I took over. And that’s partly a function of the time. We’ve gone from being a complete leader to a leader and a challenger, both in the same body. And when you’re a challenger, you do have to pick and choose and be more focused.”
The decision about who will replace Ballmer is still to be made — or is still to be made public — but whoever ends up taking on the role has some big boots to fill and an impressive reputation to live up to.