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Endure for the next 12 months

August 25, 2013

I don’t buy a penny of Ballmer’s decision to step down is his own choice, he is forced to.

This is all started around five years ago, the day Steve Ballmer kept denying what seemed obvious from the start. Back in 2007, Ballmer’s greatest sin is failed to see what the iPhone could become. His most famous quote on the iPhone: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” Turns out the iPhone didn’t only disrupted the mobile market, it basically disrupted the whole tech industry.

Let us see it this way: Ballmer thought disruption came from the top of food chain, the desktop OS, in Microsoft’s case is its Windows and Server OS. With the iPhone, Apple disrupted that ideology by changing from down below the food chain; how consumers are using affordable mobile devices in their daily life. This trend quickly crept up, right to Microsoft’s main business, the Windows OS.

How many times do you see people are now using their iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android tablets whenever and wherever they are. And lately, people are starting to use iPad and Android tablets for their business. The iPads are replacing cash register, Android tablets are replacing GPS unit in cars, etc. Because they are easy to use and affordable for everyone, sound familiar? Those two mottos should be Windows’, the operating system for the masses, but not anymore.

That’s when PC industry started falling, Windows was once the only OS that people will use and developers will make apps on, now it’s the opposite. Along with this quandary at the end of the line before the customers, are Microsoft’s hardware partners. They also, are started falling like dominos because of Microsoft’s late plan to enter the mobile market.  Windows 8; the savior those partners expected from Microsoft, proved to be a futile attempt to shake off the dominance of iOS and Android.

And it’s only a matter of time until everyone is using non-Windows devices and there’s no need for businesses, from enterprise to small business, to use Microsoft’s server services anymore. It’s a snowball effect, it will only get uglier when you let it roll down any further. What will Microsoft do then, rely on its Office softwares forever? Kid me not, it will too be replaced by other apps and that could be Apple’s own iWork apps.

It’s not that Ballmer hasn’t realized it, he tried to slim down the company and make new goal with “One Microsoft” campaign. And this is apparently the right path for Microsoft, as confirmed by Jon Thompson, the leader in Microsoft’s special comittee that will oversee Ballmer replacement: “The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company.” Microsoft is basically throwing the white towel on software market, and changing to be more like Apple and Google.

But even with Ballmer attempts to restructure Microsoft in these past years, he didn’t realize that he is one of Microsoft’s biggest problems. Ballmer’s 13 years tenure as the CEO of Microsoft has made him the company’s face and status: crazy and boring. He has to go, and to be changed with someone who can turn it 180 degrees of the damages Ballmer has done. Both in Microsoft’s image, and its next projects.

With those facts in mind, I really believe Ballmer has been forced out, not by his own good will. And it’s also the fact that Ballmer announced he’s stepping down in the next 12 months, but not now. Why not right now? Why wait, or why not they prepare someone who will take over his seat and announce it then? I can think of four good reasons:

First, it’s because Ballmer has drove out every candidates within the company since he didn’t want them to stab him in the back. Well, now the Microsoft’s boards literally put the knife around his neck to force him to retire.

Second, Microsoft need to change its leadership now before all is too late. Again, Ballmer has to be forced otherwise he will never give up his seat not even until he burnt Microsoft to the ground. He loves Microsoft to the death, really even I have to admit that.

Third, because no one is willing to replace Ballmer until it’s confirmed and announced in the public that he is retiring. It’s Ballmer we’re talking about, he’s crazy. He’ll easily say he un-retire, just like Jay-Z did.

Lastly, and yet again this is Ballmer’s typical style, he likes to show off a lot. He wants everyone’s attention even he has to retire, and unfortunately we’ll have to endure his last 12 months because with his announcement means tech journalists and bloggers will at least mention it every now and then. Sigh.

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