SOFTLY SPOKEN Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer seems to be losing support from the firm's rank and file, according to reports emerging from one of its company meetings.
Ballmer's speech, which rattled through Microsoft's achievements and looked forward to upcoming products, left many employees heading for the door early. One Microsoft staffer said, "Steve, you've lost the support of your employees," adding, "when will you realise that you're holding this once great company back?"
Ever since Ballmer took over from Bill Gates there has been lingering doubt as to whether he really is the man for the job. Microsoft has continued to stutter with its online ventures and is all but invisible in social networking. Perhaps Ballmer's biggest win has been having an ex-Microsoft employee decide to load Windows Phone 7 on Nokia smartphones.
Apparently Ballmer didn't wow the Microsoft faithful with upcoming products, with the anonymous blogger concluding, "Is Win 8 tablet all we have left to be excited about? Has the morale across the company slumped so much that 20,000 of us together can't even generate a decent applause? Please someone tell me I'm wrong. Tell me I've just got a bad attitude and I completely misread the meeting."
Windows 8 will either make or break Ballmer. In the desktop and laptop market there's little doubt that Microsoft will get its OEMs and system builders to push the operating system aggressively in the hope of bumping up sales figures, but in the tablet market it's a whole different ball game.
Arguably Ballmer should be judged on how he manages to steer Microsoft into a new market. If Microsoft does manage to compete with established players such as Apple and Google, then Ballmer might be able to breathe a sigh of relief, but if not, Microsoft's board might show him the door. µ