Steve Ballmer: It's 'not important' if I get any credit for Microsoft's success

Steve Ballmer

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says he's enjoying retirement, but what does he think about the perception that he's not getting credit for the Windows developer's new products? To put it bluntly, he doesn't care.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ballmer was asked if he isn't getting enough credit for products and services that have been announced by new CEO Satya Nadella but were primarily developed under him. In response, Ballmer said who gets the credit doesn't matter.

"I don’t think that’s an important topic, actually," he said. "It’s certainly not important to me. Microsoft is still like a child to me. So the fact that people are loving it, that’s all that really matters."

Nadella's first major public appearance came when Microsoft unveiled its Office apps for Apple's iPad, an event that drew accolades from most spectators. He'll next take the stage on Tuesday to unveil the company's new Surface products, an event that is also anticipated to garner a great deal of attention. Both unveilings obviously had their start under Ballmer, however, as the products have been in development far longer than Nadella's been chief executive.

In addition to discussing Microsoft's success, the Journal also asked Ballmer if he's interested in buying the Los Angeles Clippers, given their tumultuous ownership situation with Donald Sterling. Ballmer said he's "right on top" of the developments regarding the team's potential sale, though he wouldn't confirm his interest level. If he did buy the Clippers, however, Ballmer claims he would keep them in L.A.

"If I get interested in the Clippers, it would be for Los Angeles," Ballmer said. "I don’t work anymore, so I have more geographic flexibility than I did a year, year-and-a half ago. Moving them anywhere else would be value destructive."

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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37 Comments

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Is he responsible for

XP
Vista - Fail
Windows 7 : Success!
Windows 8 : Sold a lot on new computers, but nobody likes it so Fail
Windows phone 7, 8 Fail

.... ill give you credit for XP and Windows 7.

I agree. I give Balmer a "C" grade for his tenure as CEO. This dude just was not in tune with consumers. He wanted to tell us what we needed.

warwagon said,
Is he responsible for

XP
Vista - Fail
Windows 7 : Success!
Windows 8 : Sold a lot on new computers, but nobody likes it so Fail
Windows phone 7, 8 Fail

.... ill give you credit for XP and Windows 7.

Sorry, where has Windows Phone failed? Also, Bill Gates signed off on both XP and Vista. In fact, Vista was very much Bill's vision after his Trustworthy Computing initiative.

Dot Matrix said,

Sorry, where has Windows Phone failed? Also, Bill Gates signed off on both XP and Vista. In fact, Vista was very much Bill's vision after his Trustworthy Computing initiative.

More people like vista than 8. Windows phone has yet to be very successful.

warwagon said,

More people like vista than 8. Windows phone has yet to be very successful.

You could call Mobile a fail, Phone not really. Sure it is not the top selling mobile OS, but that doesn't mean that it is a fail.

JHBrown said,
He wanted to tell us what we needed.

Bottom line is he is a bean counter and a salesman. All he wants is something to sell, doesn't matter what is is, there has to be something new all the time.

His constant drive to push any old thing "out the door" is half the problem, the other half is not to listen to the people, and try to sell them buggy mutton dressed up as lamb.

warwagon said,
Is he responsible for

XP
Vista - Fail
Windows 7 : Success!
Windows 8 : Sold a lot on new computers, but nobody likes it so Fail
Windows phone 7, 8 Fail

.... ill give you credit for XP and Windows 7.

WM was pretty much the entire smartphone market for a while. Things come and go though.

PhilTheThrill said,

WM was pretty much the entire smartphone market for a while. Things come and go though.

Correct. Which is why I said WP 7 / 8 :)

That's the impression I've always had of Ballmer. He loves Microsoft as he keeps saying and he's certainly not caught up in his own ego (developers........).

Most people can't see through this as they are used to top brass being egocentric ######## that need the image. Ballmeris a very intelligent person, anyone that knows anything about him knows this but the image he has said the opposite.

All the interviews I've seen regarding him show him as a major intellect. I mean come on you can't be CEO of MS for so long by pulling the will over peoples eyes!

Now herss the thing, most of the recent changes were put into motion by him, but timed so that the fruits occur as the new guy steps in, meaning ms as a company Congress put with a better image moving forward.

Put that together with the fact that Ballmer doesn't need the pat on the back from the public as he has no ego and to me it shows true selflessness and live for the company.

Edited by duddit2, May 15 2014, 11:12pm :

It says a great deal about a man's character when they don't care about who gets what credit and allows their own actions to speak for them.

One might argue that Ballmer was willing to compromise or allow Nadella to outline his vision and Ballmer simply placed those actions into movement. But as other people have pointed out the Office product on IPad didn't happen overnight. Now the changes to Xbox One and the Xbox Live Service actually did, but the overall plan for Windows was made 6 months before they even made the final choice.

I still highly suspect that Nadella was chosen because his plan to address the "problems" was selected as being the best. I can't imagine the decision to make somebody the CEO of one of the largest companies didn't require presentation of what would change if they were selected hence the changes in the top brass also ( those people likely helped Nadella come up with that plan ).

Is funny how some people glorifies the work of CEOs of big companies.

For example, about Ballmer and Windows.

Does he designed Windows? well, specifically he designed nothing!.
Does he hired the people that designed Windows? well again, he hired nobody.
Does he managed the people that worked in Windows?, again :nope!.

The power is so diluted between the upper level of management and the working level that is not so strange that those levels do not talk to each other at all but a single "executive presentation".

Exactly. If I had his sort of wealth I wouldn't much give a crap about credit either.

More seriously though one can usually accomplish more when one is not worried about who gets the credit.

Everybody focuses on Microsofts blunders when he was CEO and single-handedly blames him, nobody remembers their successes.

that's how it is the matter what you're talking about. A lifetime of good deeds, wiped out by one mistake and that is what everyone will focus on

techbeck said,
that's how it is the matter what you're talking about. A lifetime of good deeds, wiped out by one mistake and that is what everyone will focus on

He's been CEO since 2000, yet people act like Windows 8 is his fault, not the Windows team. Yet those same people often refuse to admit that if he's responsible for 8, he must surely be responsible for XP, 7, The Xbox division, all the things from MS they love.

McKay said,
He's been CEO since 2000, yet people act like Windows 8 is his fault

He's the CEO, the buck stops with him. He gets paid big dollars to lead the company, and all he has done is lead it to oblivion. Almost everything under his lead was a backwards step. You can't even give him credit for Windows 7 (probably the only success under his reign) as it was well in train before he came onboard.

Just look what Satya Nadella is doing, making decisions, even if they appear at odds with traditional Microsoft directions. tbh I don't beleieve Nadella is the actual brains, I believe Bill Gates is using him as a puppet.

dvb2000 said,

He's the CEO, the buck stops with him. He gets paid big dollars to lead the company, and all he has done is lead it to oblivion. Almost everything under his lead was a backwards step. You can't even give him credit for Windows 7 (probably the only success under his reign) as it was well in train before he came onboard.

Just look what Satya Nadella is doing, making decisions, even if they appear at odds with traditional Microsoft directions. tbh I don't beleieve Nadella is the actual brains, I believe Bill Gates is using him as a puppet.


Some selective quoting there...

naap51stang said,
Well, your welcome, because YOU DIDN'T

I think Microsoft shareholders would be greatly in his favour, Microsoft PR - maybe not so.

naap51stang said,
Well, your welcome, because YOU DIDN'T
It's "you are" but you should write it as "you're"; NOT "your". :)

I think they wrote Office quite quickly and had it ready at least by 2011, i think Balmer pushed it down as he's too short sighted.

During his reign Microsoft stagnated he missed the ball on a lot of big changes and shifts. I was very pleased he went, he should have gone when he introduced stacked ranking, leading to a massive brain drain, microsoft's lucky they have the people they have now.

Im pleased someone like Nadella has come along i hope he can swing microsoft around and make them into a prominent player again and not an also ran, they were in danger of becoming the next IBM.

He done nothing for Microsoft, the fact that they were able to realise quaility stuff like Windows Server, SQL Server etc.. Windows 7 was in spite of him not because of him.

Shiranui said,

A less subtle version of my post, eh?
lol sorry bout extending your quote but I hate beating around the bush so I have to be discrete.

Krome said,
lol sorry bout extending your quote but I hate beating around the bush so I have to be discrete.

1) Discreet
2) That's not being discreet.
3) :)