steve ballmer

Vanity Fair has a fascinating piece on the rise, fall and reboot of Microsoft. The story is really about leadership; from the days of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer; to Ballmer succeeding as CEO; and finally to Satya Nadella. It’s a great piece and definitely worth reading.

I’m a big admirer of Ballmer, but must call him out on something he said in the article:

“The worst work I did was from 2001 to 2004,” says Ballmer. “And the company paid a price for bad work. I put the A-team resources on Longhorn, not on phones or browsers. All our resources were tied up on the wrong thing.” Who shoulders the blame is a matter of debate, but the fact is neither Ballmer nor Gates stopped the failure from happening, even as almost everyone else saw it coming.

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Steve Ballmer surprised the world when he resigned from Microsoft, and everyone wondered what he would do next.  Well, he surprised everyone again in announcing his impending $2 billion purchase of the LA Clippers.  Boom!  What a way to get a second at-bat.

For those of you living in the figurative sports cave, the LA Clippers were for sale because its previous owner, Donald Sterling, said some pretty bad racist stuff.  That resulted in Sterling getting banned from the NBA for life and a forced sale of the team.  It’s a big story.

That’s how Ballmer came to acquire the team.  Anyway, I’m not writing about the LA Clippers or about racism.  I’m writing to share a Steve Ballmer story.

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