Kara Swisher＝情報源からしっかり裏取りして…という昔気質のやり方で記事を書く人物のひとり（という印象がある）。過去の「D」カンファレンスでは、たとえばSteve JobsとBill Gatesにずばっと質問したり、まだ若かったMark Zuckerbergをしどろもどろにさせたり、といった姿を覚えている人もいるかもしれない。1年前までしばらく続いたYahoo!の経営陣・取締役会のゴタゴタでは、微に入り細をうがった報道ぶりだったので、この手の話が得意なのかもしれない。
“My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most.”
“Here's one metric by which Ballmer will be judged harshly. On the last day of 1999, the day before he took over as CEO, Microsoft’s market capitalization was $600 billion. On the day before he announced his intention to retire, it was less than $270 billion.”
During the course of Ballmer's tenure, Microsoft's revenue tripled and profits doubled. But the company's stock price failed to reflect those gains and became a source of investor grumbling.
Over the past 10 years, Microsoft’s annual revenue has surged from $25 billion to $70 billion, while its net income has increased 215 percent to $23 billion. Much of these gains have come from the Windows and Office franchises Ballmer inherited. That said, he’s moved Microsoft from a virtual nonentity in data centers to a dominant player, building a business that brought in $6.6 billion in profit last year. The Xbox also came to life under Ballmer and anchors the company’s $8.9 billion entertainment and devices division. Measured by total annual profit growth, Ballmer’s performance (16.4 percent) surpasses those of such legendary CEOs as GE’s Jack Welch (11.2 percent) and IBM’s (IBM) Louis V. Gerstner Jr. (2 percent).
Those impressive financials, though, do little to assuage investors who have witnessed the paralysis of Microsoft’s share price over the last decade.
Steve Ballmer Reboots--Businessweek
Forecast for Microsoft: Shareholder activism--GigaOM
After two-and-a-half years on the board and potential losses of more than $700 million, he had declared defeat and the market had applauded.
In addition to J.C. Penney, he’s lost about $320 million on a bet against Herbalife Ltd. (HLF).