Some love for Ballmer

Blogosphere is singing a different tune about Steve Ballmer today (Steve Ballmer became Microsoft CEO 11 years ago today). Suddenly there is a lot of love for him.

Joe Wilcox (Betanews)

But there is something different now in Ballmer's leadership style, which started soon after the September 2008 stock market collapse and became more apparent in actions taken in 2010. No one should underestimate Microsoft in 2011. Whether the good ship Microsoft breaks up on a reef or outmaneuvers competitors during the next two years, Ballmer will be at the helm. Accountability starts and ends with him now, like never before in his 11-year tenure. He's communicated that he is absolutely in charge. It's now deliver or die.

Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet)

I have said on previous occasions that — despite the fact that I’ve been on the Ballmer-interview blacklist for more than 15 years — I still considered him the best person for the Microsoft CEO job. And last we heard from Ballmer on the topic of his CEO stewardship plans, two-plus years ago, Microsoft’s CEO made it clear that he had no plans to step down voluntarily until 2018 or so, when his youngest son was off to college.

The question — for me — always comes back to whether there is there someone who could do a better job than Ballmer leading Microsoft? I’d say if the pool of candidates is restricted to current Microsoft management, the answer is no. (Those calling for Bill Gates to return as Microsoft CEO need to give up that pipe dream. Gates has moved on, though he remains chair of the Microsoft board.) Because of the dismal record that outsiders have at succeeding and lasting at Microsoft, I’d say a non-Softie, as appealing as that may sound from a new-blood perspective, has a low likelihood of making it for long as Redmond’s CEO.

Matt Rosoff (SAI)

What a lot of outsiders don't understand is that Ballmer is a numbers guy. He aced the math portion of the SAT. He majored in mathematics -- not business, not computer science.

Insiders tell stories about how he often knows more about the performance of their business than they do, and he isn't afraid to dive deep. Once when a new executive didn't know some detail about customer numbers for a product, Ballmer corrected him. In public. That executive was gone a year later.

Ballmer may appear irrational from the outside, but his decisions are driven by the numbers. Sales. Revenue. Expenses. Income. Trends. That's it.