I am extremely pleased with Ballmer's decision. It's time to get in some fresh blood and free Microsoft from clutches of Bureaucracy. It's high time Microsoft starts functioning like a corporation rather than like some country's government.
A corporation IS like a government; Microsoft actually has LESS bureaucracy than other corporations it's market cap size. (I can give three examples - none of which are even in technology; JPMorganChase, Berkshire Hathaway, and Kraft Global. A financial services company, a diversified holding company - in fact THE diversified holding company of Warren Buffett, and a food company. Believe it or not, all have bigger bureaucracies than Microsoft.) Even General Electric STILL has a bigger bureaucracy than Microsoft - despite the massive layoffs under Jack "the Bloody" Welch AND the spinout of NBC.
If you are comparing Microsoft to either Google or Apple, the comparison is misconstrued. Google is still largely a services company, even after the acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Other than MM, exactly what hardware OR software does Google itself sell? (Android, Chrome, and the software fruits of both are given away; everything else - including Google Fiber - is services-based.) Apple is ALSO largely a services company - albeit one with a small (almost boutique) manufacturing arm - which is itself almost wholly contract labor. Apple's monstrous reliance on contract labor has cut both ways; it lets Apple look small (David to Microsoft's comparative Goliath) - however, it's also been somewhat of a PR nightmare due to issues with the contractor. (It's far from unique to Apple - or even to technology companies - this started in the fashion business, actually. However, some companies DO make a conscious decision to farm out as little of their support business as possible, simply to avoid backlash - IBM historically has been one of them, and GE is another.)
Also, consider how many people Microsoft MUST employ simply to deal with regulatory compliance - and not alone in the EU or North America. From the last annual report of Microsoft, almost fifteen percent of Microsoft's "bureaucracy" is simply to deal with regulatory issues. The closest comparison among other tech companies is IBM - which has a larger bureaucracy than Microsoft still. (And neither Microsoft or even IBM has the regulatory woes of Boeing.)