No, Steve Ballmer never threw a chair because an MS employee was leaving for Google, he says

Laurent Giret

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is well known for his distinct voice, energetic persona and sometimes crazy antics on stage. The now LA Clippers owner obviously loved his executive job at Microsoft very much, but the passionate leader has also been the subject of some infamous rumors over the years.

According to one of these rumors, Ballmer was involved in a chair-throwing incident with Marc Lucovsky, a former Microsoft engineer that decided to leave the company for Google back in 2004. Here is how Lucovsky described the event in a document taken from a lawsuit between Microsoft and Google (via Business Insider) :

Prior to joining Google, I set up a meeting on or about November 11, 2004 with Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer to discuss my planned departure….At some point in the conversation Mr. Ballmer said: “Just tell me it’s not Google.” I told him it was Google.

At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office. Mr. Ballmer then said: “F—ing Eric Schmidt is a f—ing p–sy. I’m going to f—ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f—ing kill Google.”

The description of the scene sounds pretty intense in the document, though Ballmer had never discussed it publicly. Well, this was before he was asked about it in the Business Insider’s “Success! How I did it” podcast. And according to Ballmer, this is not how things happened at all.

“I kind of shook the back of the chairs,” Ballmer said. “I’ll cop to that, so to speak. But I never threw a chair,” he added. “I’m not even sure I’d have the strength to do that,” pointed out Ballmer, which sounds pretty humble for the usually energetic man. You can watch the short segment below:

As you may know, Microsoft not always had the best relationship with its competitor Google, but Ballmer did not address the remarks he supposedly made about Google and Eric Schmidt during the interview. If you’re interested, you can listen to the full episode over here.