Former Microsoft executive latest to slam Steve Ballmer in tell-all book

Steve Ballmer must be getting a little bit tired of being the target of so many people who think he needs to leave his CEO post at Microsoft. CNBC called him the second worse CEO in 2012. On Monday, financial consultant Adam Hartung claimed Ballmer was one of the main reasons why Microsoft was, in his humble but misguided opinion, going to implode in the next few years.

The latest person to attack Ballmer is Joachim Kempin, who worked at Microsoft between 1983 and 2002. Reuters reports that Kempin has written a tell-all book, 'Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft's "secret power broker" breaks his silence'.

Kempin rose in the ranks at Microsoft to become the head of Windows software sales to OEM PC makers. However, he left after the contracts he helped to form with those PC makers were used in part by the US government in its antitrust investigation of the company.

Kempin says that Ballmer has found a way to drive anyone in the company away who Ballmer saw as a threat to his leadership. He stated, "When you work that directly with Ballmer and Ballmer believes 'maybe this guy could someday take over from me', my God, you will have less air to breathe, that's what it comes down to."

He feels that Ballmer should step down from CEO and become its chief operating officer, adding, "I respect that guy (Ballmer), but there are some limitations in what he can and can't do and maybe he hasn't realized them himself."

So who should be Microsoft's new CEO? Kempin doesn't have a specific name but does feel he or she should be relatively young, "maybe 35-40 years old" that better understands the mobile phone and Facebook generation. Microsoft has yet to comment on Kempin's books and his statements. For his part, Kempin claims that he has sent copies of his book to both Ballmer and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

Source: Reuters | Image via Microsoft

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So the guy who wrote the book, was the guy involved in selling contracts to OEM's...which were used in the Gov vs Microsoft which they lost? But this guy has nerves to be writing? Dude you sold the contracts that got MS in trouble. Did you not warn them? Or were you not just so happy reaping the benefits of selling contracts you knew were questionable? HMMMM!

I smell a big fat rat.

Order_66 said,
I don't know what some of you are smoking but windows 8 has proved to be a miserable failure thanks to Ballmer.

Agree 100%

Meh i think microsoft have got better since he took over. He is doing a good job so what if he fires a few rogues who were overpaid and replaces them with more newly qualified younger staff he can pay less. Sure if was in the firing line i would be ****ed, but thats all this is a ****ed off guy who got fired.

Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows RT etc etc etc are awesome!

record profits and revenues, making xbox replace playstation as a household name, bing taking %30 of U.S market, Windows 8 success,

recently his approval rating by his employees has skyrocketed, i wonder why?

So many angry people spreading fud and misinformation.

Microsoft puts Windows 8 out there, the best operating system on the planet that does everything from desktop to mobile,and all the android and apple lovers are so angry that they have been and are using something so inferior and cheap looking,that they start throwing skewed and flawed information to try to tarnish Windows 8's success.

In the end though, Microsoft ALWAYS wins. ALWAYS. Even if they take their sweet time, they ALWAYS win.

They are now entering the hardware market, and thats got every single tech company shivering in their boots.

I have seen Steve Ballmer in person a couple times, he is the most enthusiastic cheerleading person at Microsoft I have ever seen. He is so passionate about the company. He has done a lot since Gates left to really push Microsoft forward, take the risk: Microsoft Stores, Surface RT, Windows 8. Windows 7 was a hit under his watch, so was releases of Office such as 2007 and 2010, both releases of Windows Server so far have been well received. He is really passionate about Microsoft and I see it in the results and precision focus at getting better at markets such as mobile. Might be a bit late in some areas, but at least he has gotten the company there and they are competing on innovation and strategy, the Nokia partnership being one great example, producing billion dollar products such as SharePoint, Office 365, XBOX (which are fairly new when think about it outside of the traditional Windows and Office business divisions). Server and Tools are also billion dollar businesses.

A lot of you who comment saying he needs to go couldn't probably make a dollar out of a lemonade stand given the chance, yet you criticize a guy like Ballmer who is raking in 60 billion every year. Stop listening to greedy shareholders and their pet analyst who are just broke, poor and envious.

Mr. Dee said,
I have seen Steve Ballmer in person a couple times, he is the most enthusiastic cheerleading person at Microsoft I have ever seen. He is so passionate about the company. He has done a lot since Gates left to really push Microsoft forward, take the risk: Microsoft Stores, Surface RT, Windows 8. Windows 7 was a hit under his watch, so was releases of Office such as 2007 and 2010, both releases of Windows Server so far have been well received. He is really passionate about Microsoft and I see it in the results and precision focus at getting better at markets such as mobile. Might be a bit late in some areas, but at least he has gotten the company there and they are competing on innovation and strategy, the Nokia partnership being one great example, producing billion dollar products such as SharePoint, Office 365, XBOX (which are fairly new when think about it outside of the traditional Windows and Office business divisions). Server and Tools are also billion dollar businesses.

A lot of you who comment saying he needs to go couldn't probably make a dollar out of a lemonade stand given the chance, yet you criticize a guy like Ballmer who is raking in 60 billion every year. Stop listening to greedy shareholders and their pet analyst who are just broke, poor and envious.


If you do not want to listen to "greedy shareholders".... do not get public and do not get the money of those shareholders. Simple as that.

Fritzly said,

If you do not want to listen to "greedy shareholders".... do not get public and do not get the money of those shareholders. Simple as that.

Funny. Bill gates has the largest share of msft guess whos number 2? Ballmer.

I looked at that already. Keep looking you will find he still holds over 300 million shares. Two years ago Balmer sold 12% stake of MSFT in 2010 and as far as what has been reported he still has around 4%. He's done this before in 2003 selling 8% stake to hover around 4%. So if you can find me some articles where he has sold off all his shares it stands with reason that he still has the highest stake in the company next to Gates and a hell of a lot more than some shareholder complaining who only has 0.011% stake.

Edited by linsook, Jan 23 2013, 9:21pm :

Keep looking and you will see that a large percentage of the shares he nominally owns are not under his control. Plus there are others that are not even under his name, hence he does not appear under "Direct shareholders" list.
Ballmer does not buy shares as other investors, he receives them as part of his package as a CEO; actually what he is doing lately, as you stated as well is selling them.
Finally the shareholders who called for his resignation were mutual funds, not exactly Joe Smiths.
Bottom line you are perfectly entitled to like him as CEO but others, eventually after a quick look at a chart showing MSFT performances in the last twelve years, are also entitled to disagree.

Fritzly said,
Keep looking and you will see that a large percentage of the shares he nominally owns are not under his control. Plus there are others that are not even under his name, hence he does not appear under "Direct shareholders" list.
Ballmer does not buy shares as other investors, he receives them as part of his package as a CEO; actually what he is doing lately, as you stated as well is selling them.
Finally the shareholders who called for his resignation were mutual funds, not exactly Joe Smiths.
Bottom line you are perfectly entitled to like him as CEO but others, eventually after a quick look at a chart showing MSFT performances in the last twelve years, are also entitled to disagree.

I don't think you know what you are talking about. You're just making stuff up now. According to his last Securities and Exchange filling, Steven A Ballmer wholly owns 333,252,990 shares of MSFT which are ALL common stock/voting shares.

I don't care about Steve Ballmer. I just pointed out to you that he is the second largest insider/individual voting stake holder of MSFT. You just got your panties all in a bunch cause not only is he the CEO he has a large stake in the company.

I do care about who he is because I am a MS shareholders; as for the rest of your comments..... you clearly proved that you do not understand the difference between buying shares and receiving them because it is part of of your contract with a company.

If enough people are saying essentially the same thing, could there possibly be a dabble of truth in there somewhere?

I mean, quick show of hands...how many of those commenting here have even been in the same building as Ballmer, *ever*?

Just sayin'...

That may partially explain what appears to be Microsoft's loss of focus and needless conflicts in the marketplace--both consumer and business. We can only hope that Microsoft quickly gets its act together again. The whole Windows-8--tablet mess was totally needless and unnecessary.

From Wikipedia.

"Under Ballmer's tenure as CEO, Microsoft's annual revenue surged from $25 billion to $70 billion, while its net income has increased 215 percent to $23 billion. Although these gains have come from the existing Windows and Office franchises, Ballmer also built new businesses such as the data centers division ($6.6 billion in profit for 2011) and the Xbox entertainment and devices division ($8.9 billion). In terms of total annual profit growth, Ballmer's performance (16.4 percent) surpasses GE's Jack Welch (11.2 percent) and IBM's (IBM) Louis V. Gerstner Jr. (2 percent)."

So will all the "He's a crap CEO" trolls **** off?

He took over the company at a time of HUGE growth in the tech industry. I still think MS would be making a lot more money with Bill in charge

Its Microsoft, so Ballmer will automaticly receive allot of hatred (based or not) just for being the CEO of this company.

Look at how people looked at Gates in the 80s and 90s. While he and Ballmer raised a company from nothing to strongest and wealthiest technological company for the last 20 years.

Ballmer is on the same page when it comes to MS as Gates is. Don't forget Gates still holds a chair in the board and still makes decisions (Skype purchase was pushed by Gates for example). Ballmer isnt running MS solo, Gates is still there. And both of them together have ran MS since its creation.
But Ballmer is a bad CEO people think. People forget Ballmer has (co) lead the company from the start.

Gates has no role in day-to-day activities. As a board member, he had to give the go ahead to purchase Skype, like other board members, but it's not as if he initiated the deal. He advocated for it once he believed it to be a good purchase.

AWilliams87 said,
Xbox proof-of-concept was displayed in 1998 before Steven became CEO.

I see you're referring to the Wikipedia article about proof of concept in 1998 however there was nothing there in that article about the team was building a low powered set-top box like device that ballmer talked against in favor of the Xbox. I remember reading an article about it with direct quotes from Fries the guy who oversaw the building of the original Xbox. Therefore I credit ballmer because he pushed for the Xbox gaming console (it wasn't his idea originally) but he saw the potential and pushed for it. Now the Xbox division is a multi-billion dollar earning machine.

ctrl_alt_delete said,
Entertainment division is a multi-billion dollar earning machine.

This also includes their IPTV offering, Mediaroom as well as other assets.
So, While the timeline of a low powered set-top box device may have been pushed out because Ballmer favored the gaming console, it does exist today. This was afterall the impetus for purchasing WebTV.

Lol, writers get harsh reviews everyday here. I just am happy to read basic news before I go to work. I'm not expecting some unbelievable breath taking story every morning.

sathenzar said,
Lol, writers get harsh reviews everyday here. I just am happy to read basic news before I go to work. I'm not expecting some unbelievable breath taking story every morning.

Agreed, but slanting every story you cobble together causes you to, with good reason, lose all credibility you may have as a "writer".

"For his part, Kempin claims that he has sent copies of his book to both Ballmer and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates."
So basically, the guy is just whoring his book.

ahhell said,
"For his part, Kempin claims that he has sent copies of his book to both Ballmer and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates."
So basically, the guy is just whoring his book.

Indeed. A book that apparently took him 10 years to write...

ahhell said,
"For his part, Kempin claims that he has sent copies of his book to both Ballmer and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates."
So basically, the guy is just whoring his book.

Not often i do this but QFTW!

ahhell said,
"For his part, Kempin claims that he has sent copies of his book to both Ballmer and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates."
So basically, the guy is just whoring his book.

It is quite common for authors to send copies of their books to people who are mentioned in them.

Is it just me or does the word "slam" get used in every article title on Neowin if there is even a hint of negativity in the story? Perhaps a broader use of vocabulary is in order.

tbcarey said,
.... does the word "slam" get used in every article title on Neowin if there is even a hint of negativity in the story? .....

Sounds like you are not Kempin's ideal candidate for new CEO as this is how the mobile phone and Facebook generation think, talk and act.

I know Gates was ahead of his time with tablets for example and Microsoft were more dominant under him but does nobody remember using Windows etc. under Gates, it was horrible.

Also, there is a ridiculous amount of competition in all fronts now, if anything Microsoft are doing quite well. The product line up is a lot better now. I would say Windows RT is a rough road at v1.0 along with branding and Windows Phone branding may be the wrong approach.

They could do with knocking a product out the park from day one and grab the market but hard to do.

All I would like to see is some substantial Microsoft Research to real product innovations that really turn the market upside down.

mclaren2 said,
since ballmer took over from gates microsoft is in decline.

Oh please, correlation doesn't equal causation. Steve Ballmer has his issues but I doubt that Bill Gates could have done much better give that he is as much out of touch with the emerging technologies as Steve Ballmer is.

mclaren2 said,
since ballmer took over from gates microsoft is in decline.
Gates was a visionary, MS would be doing a lot better if he stayed

Gates out of touch? Go watch what Gates was talking about in the late 80s early 90s my friend. He predicted exactly how devices will be used this day in age. He wasn't close, he was spot on with his predictions of future computing. And already steered MS into the direction. (the decade of antitrust did allot of damage to MS though)
Ballmer has lead MS to high profits and is the one that has made Gates his predictions come true.

Ballmer is a great CEO for MS, he is a long term thinker. Not short term like most companies (i.e. Google, Apple).
But long term investments are a taboo nowadays it seems. He gets burned into the ground for thinking 10+ years into the future. It seems to be all about short term investments.

Shadowzz said,
Gates out of touch? Go watch what Gates was talking about in the late 80s early 90s my friend. He predicted exactly how devices will be used this day in age. He wasn't close, he was spot on with his predictions of future computing. And already steered MS into the direction. (the decade of antitrust did allot of damage to MS though)
Actually after Ballmer took over MS shares have seen no growth..... Just check a chart of the stock since 2000....
Ballmer has lead MS to high profits and is the one that has made Gates his predictions come true.

Ballmer is a great CEO for MS, he is a long term thinker. Not short term like most companies (i.e. Google, Apple).
But long term investments are a taboo nowadays it seems. He gets burned into the ground for thinking 10+ years into the future. It seems to be all about short term investments.

Rudy said,
Gates was a visionary, MS would be doing a lot better if he stayed

The computing world wouldn't be.
Microsoft's embrace of Open Source wouldn't have happened. They'd still be using MS-PL which is very restrictive.
ASP.NET Razor and ASP.NET webforms are Apache Commons license. This would have been unheard of in Bill's day.
Let's not forget that Bill is a shrewd and predatory business person. I think his shift to philanthropic efforts is better for the world at large. I respect Gates greatly, but he was holding the company back with some of his outdated ideas.

Shadowzz said,
Gates out of touch? Go watch what Gates was talking about in the late 80s early 90s my friend. He predicted exactly how devices will be used this day in age. He wasn't close, he was spot on with his predictions of future computing.

He was a brilliant strategist, but I wouldn't give him the visionary title you label him with.

For example, when Windows 95 came out, he thought the Internet ultimately wasn't going to be a big deal. That services like MSN were the future. Boy was he wrong. Famously. He even went back and re-wrote his best-selling book, "The Road Ahead", to cover up that prediction. Then he shifted Microsoft into panic mode and fixated on the Internet.

Gates could follow popular trends in software, do a quick corporate course-correction, and find a way to come out on top. But as for predicting the future, he wasn't quite that good at it.

Rudy said,
Gates was a visionary, MS would be doing a lot better if he stayed

I think what he's doing now is more important.

TechieXP said,
False. Microsoft has remained profitablec...which is all stockholders care about.

false: stockholders want to see the value of their shares increase.... and it did not happen...

Fritzly said,

false: stockholders want to see the value of their shares increase.... and it did not happen...

The stock market means nothing to me and I have a few shares od Dell and others. Its a gamble like poker. You gamble money on hoping they hit a certain value. If you dont feel you can win you simply dont gamble.

What you and them seem to miss is they could have made more money and caused the stock value to go up, but they are scared. Yet Microsoft has been profitable every single year under Ballmer. Were they huge double year over year returns? No. But profit is profit even if it isnt as high as you THINK they should be. Stockholder dont run the business, they share the business. Ballmer runs the business and he is doing a great job. Are you a multibillionaire? Bec I know I am not and I would love to be a CEO.

TechieXP said,
The stock market means nothing to me and I have a few shares od Dell and others. Its a gamble like poker. You gamble money on hoping they hit a certain value. If you dont feel you can win you simply dont gamble.

What you and them seem to miss is they could have made more money and caused the stock value to go up, but they are scared. Yet Microsoft has been profitable every single year under Ballmer. Were they huge double year over year returns? No. But profit is profit even if it isnt as high as you THINK they should be. Stockholder dont run the business, they share the business. Ballmer runs the business and he is doing a great job. Are you a multibillionaire? Bec I know I am not and I would love to be a CEO.

If you consider the stock market like poker.... you are investing in the wrong companies; go and play with Futures and Derivates. more risk but higher return.

BTW Stockholders do not share the business, they finance the business.

ack, Ballmer is a talentless hack. He's driven Microsoft into the ground. Nothing innovative has come from them since Gates left.

dvb2000 said
Ballmer is a talentless hack. He's driven Microsoft into the ground. Nothing innovative has come from them since Gates left.
Except for Windows 7, Windows 8, Surface RT/Pro, Windows Store. The list goes on..

dtourond said,
Except for Windows 7, Windows 8, Surface RT/Pro, Windows Store. The list goes on..

All mostly flops.. Windows 7 was driven by Sinofsky who is now gone (kicked by Balmer) and Windows 7 still hasn't reached critical mass in adoption as it should have despite being a solid product. Windows 8 is far behind Windows 7 adoption, Surface and Windows Store are completely unproven and not even in the same ballpark as "successful" products. Windows Phone is a flop too.

Xbox team was talented and ran by again someone aside from Balmer and those people are gone from Microsoft too.

Balmer is visionless dumbass who has no clue about anything. He is desperately clinging to power at Microsoft and at the same time destroying Microsoft.

If you think Microsoft is strong today in anything, you are deluding yourself. They went from a major software force to a sloppy, whiny corporation and a shadow of it's former self and mostly because of this idiot's ego and thurst for power.

Kempin is 100% correct. Microsoft needs 35-40 year old CEO with ideas and vision that is in sync with tomorrow's markets and technology, not this dinosaur.

Boz said
Windows 7 was driven by Sinofsky who is now gone (kicked by Balmer) and Windows 7 still hasn't reached critical mass in adoption as it should have despite being a solid product.
Well I think Windows 7 is a good OS as well, and I'm no fan of Ballmer, but since he's been CEO, I can disagree that he's driven Microsoft into the ground.

Boz said
Windows Phone is a flop too.
Actually there's an article on this site that explains how Windows Phone is slowly gaining market share.

Boz said
If you think Microsoft is strong today in anything, you are deluding yourself.
Strongly disagree.

Boz said
They went from a major software force to a sloppy, whiny corporation and a shadow of it's former self
Wrong again.