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Employees love Microsoft -- but not Ballmer


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#1 Hum

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 19:22

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is a polarizing figure, not just for Microsoft investors but also for the company's employees.

An ongoing survey of more than 1,000 Microsoft employees conducted by Glassdoor.com currently shows that only 51% of Ballmer's staff approve of his performance as CEO.

That's telling, considering that Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) employees said they love the company itself. Microsoft ranked No. 51 on Fortune's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, and the software giant's work force gave the company an average satisfaction score of 3.5 out of 5 in Glassdoor's poll.

But as the head of the company, Ballmer hasn't been able to find the same kind of love and admiration.

Some on Wall Street have been calling for his head for years. Since Ballmer took the reins as CEO from Bill Gates in 2000, Microsoft's stock has been nearly cut in half. Despite this year's strong financial performance and impressive sales of Windows 7, Office 2010 and cloud products for corporate customers, Microsoft's stock has gotten hammered, falling 20%.

Things haven't gotten any better for the embattled CEO lately. Microsoft revealed in a regulatory filing on Friday that Ballmer wouldn't max out his potential bonus this year, because of consumer product failures. The board cited "the unsuccessful launch of the Kin phone, loss of market share in the company's mobile phone business, and the need for the company to pursue innovations to take advantage of new form factors."

But others think that Ballmer's failure to get Microsoft ahead on the devices that will matter most for the future is egregious enough to get Microsoft's board thinking about someone else for the position.

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#2 +Majesticmerc

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 19:29

Like the article said, he's a polarizing figure, so some will love him and some will hate him. That said, a 49% disapproval from staff is pretty bad for the guy whos supposed to be the company's visionary. I wonder how this would contrast to Gates, back many eons ago when he was in charge?

Oh, and in my eyes, a 3.5 out of 5 for employee satisfaction isn't good, since that works out at a satisfaction of about 65%. Could be worse, but it could be a lot better, and being 51st out of 100 isn't even in the top half of the table. In sports, if a team the size of Microsoft ended up mid-table, the manager would be getting his ass fired.

EDIT: Misread the article, which agrees with my sentiments :p

I think that its probably time to have a reshuffle in management, and that could probably include SB, although he's not entirely to blame. Microsoft just aren't adventurous anymore, releasing (aside from Office 2007 and Windows 4) nothing but "competitive" products since the release of WinXP. Their competitors are eating them alive in many areas simply for the fact that they're willing to take risks, and Microsoft just aren't. This becomes all too apparent when projects like Courier, which, if they ever made it to market, would have blown standard slates out of the market in the business and student markets, gets cancelled. Microsoft are fast becoming the RIM of the PC market: great for businesses, but too boring for consumers.

#3 LaP

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 19:34

Not really surprising.

Most people don't like adults acting like a teenager.

#4 +warwagon

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 19:40

Not really surprising.

Most people don't like adults acting like a teenager Monkey.


Fixed

#5 Frylock86

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 19:58

I certainly don't like him

#6 Prince Charming

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 19:58

Having seen him in person, I have to say he was passionate, motivated, and truly believed in his company. As a public speaker, he also handled questions, criticisms and his keynote extremely well. Don't really know why anyone hates the guy.

#7 simrat

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 20:01

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#8 ahhell

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 20:03

He may be a bit nutso but at least isn't a smug ****** like Jobs.
2011 fiscal year should be a good one for MS.

#9 thealexweb

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 20:04

Bill Gates isn't that old, he's a similar age to Steve Jobs, he should come back to Microsoft. He can still donate his wealth away and work for Microsoft at the same time.

#10 Subject Delta

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 20:04

When he's compared to Jobs he's a saint, but overall I am still not his biggest fan. It has to be said though, whatever he has done internally is working because the slipstreaming of the development process on Windows 7 and Office 2010 has worked wonders.

#11 COKid

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 20:09

Having seen him in person, I have to say he was passionate, motivated, and truly believed in his company. As a public speaker, he also handled questions, criticisms and his keynote extremely well. Don't really know why anyone hates the guy.


I guess to me I view Bill Gates a visionary. Ballmer seems more of a reactionary. Microsoft is still a great company and I use several of their products, but they don't seem cutting edge anymore, at least to me.

Don't get me wrong, Windows 7 & Office 2010 are rock-solid products. I just haven't been 'wowed' by Microsoft for many years.

They really need the tablet PC or this Slate thing to take off. I want an iPad-like device that can do more of what a regular computer can do. I have no interest in the Windows 7 phone thingy.

#12 Argote

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 20:09

I saw him talk live a couple of times when I was an intern at Microsoft and he seemed like a smart guy and has actually delivered nice financial results sales and revenue-wise (though the stock has taken a hit).
What he seems to be missing is the actual deep understanding of the technologies and how they can interact that it is claimed that Gates had. Decisions at Microsoft are more related to business than to technology nowadays.

#13 Prince Charming

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 20:34

I guess to me I view Bill Gates a visionary. Ballmer seems more of a reactionary. Microsoft is still a great company and I use several of their products, but they don't seem cutting edge anymore, at least to me.

Don't get me wrong, Windows 7 & Office 2010 are rock-solid products. I just haven't been 'wowed' by Microsoft for many years.

They really need the tablet PC or this Slate thing to take off. I want an iPad-like device that can do more of what a regular computer can do. I have no interest in the Windows 7 phone thingy.


It's unfortunate you're not interested in Windows Phone 7. MS may be late (back) to the smartphone market, but it's an innovative, fresh, and revolutionary platform. It's certainly cutting edge and has a serious 'wow' factor. If you're written it off for whatever reason, I would seriously advocate keeping an open mind and playing with one (in a store), when it comes out. You will be suitably impressed.

I saw him talk live a couple of times when I was an intern at Microsoft and he seemed like a smart guy and has actually delivered nice financial results sales and revenue-wise (though the stock has taken a hit).
What he seems to be missing is the actual deep understanding of the technologies and how they can interact that it is claimed that Gates had. Decisions at Microsoft are more related to business than to technology nowadays.


That's pretty fair. He has got quite a business background. I think he certainly understands the technologies his company is putting out, he certainly seemed to have a very solid understanding that went beyond reading the executive summary, but Ballmer is a business guy.

#14 Petvas

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 21:38

Having worked for Microsoft in the past, I have met Steve Ballmer and seen him quite a few times performing. He is certainly very passionate but that doesn't exactly inspire others. He is just very blunt and aggressive and most people don't like that.

#15 vetDirtyLarry

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 21:46

I would imagine if you conducted a survey of any company, anywhere, and asked it's employees if they liked the CEO or not, that right around 50% of them would say no, if not higher. Sure, there are some obvious exceptions, but employees not liking the head of the company is as classic of a scenario as the poor not liking the rich. It simply is how things are.