Former Microsoft Executive Criticizes Current CEO

Former Microsoft Executive Criticizes Current CEO

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In his new book on Microsoft, former senior vice president Joachim Kempin describes its directors as "a lame duck board".

Earlier this week, Forbes analyst Adam Hartung had some fairly bleak predictions regarding Microsoft, stating that the electronic giant's recent failures would lead to massive layoffs in the next three years. The statement is somewhat alarmist, but Hartung isn't the only one expressing concerns about the company. Among them is Microsoft's former senior vice president Joachim Kempin, who has a great deal to say about his one-time employer in a new book. In particular, Kempin believes Microsoft botched its entry into mobile and social technologies, and he lays much of the blame on managers like CEO Steve Ballmer.

"Is [Ballmer] a great CEO?" Kempin said in a phone interview with Reuters. "I don't think so. Microsoft's board is a lame duck board, has been forever. They hire people to help them administer the company, but not to lead the company. That's the problem."

Kempin went on to accuse Ballmer of ousting any Microsoft executive that could potentially surpass him as CEO, saying "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." Kempin also suggested that Microsoft would benefit greatly under a CEO with a fresh understanding of mobile technologies and social networking. "I respect that guy, but there are some limitations in what he can and can't do and maybe he hasn't realized them himself."

Kempin claims that Microsoft predicted the rise of social media and mobile computing, but never took full advantage of the data and ultimately lost out to companies like Apple. "They missed all the opportunities they were talking about when I was still in the company. Tablets, phones ... we had a tablet going, we had tablet software when Windows XP came out, it was never followed up properly." To Kempin, Microsoft is now playing catch-up where it should have been an industry leader, using the Surface tablet as one example. "Just think about the insult of Microsoft coming out with a tablet themselves, trying to mimic Apple, and now they are going to come out with a notebook on top of it."

Unlike the analysts and indie game designers who have criticized Microsoft recently, Kempin's comments set a new precedent. Microsoft employees are widely recognized for company loyalty and a refusal to badmouth superiors, even after leaving the organization. If Kempin is willing to call out Ballmer ten years after resigning, then he either has legimate concerns about Microsoft's future or he really wants to sell copies of his book.

Source: Reuters, via Eurogamer

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Ooh, my theory of MS being half idiots and half cutthroat businessmen is looking more accurate. Pity Ballmer is one of the idiots. I wonder what would have happened if Bill Gates was still running MS...

(I am in no way an MS fanboy. Quite the opposite, in fact. But even I can see that Ballmer's an idiot.)

thesilentman:
Ooh, my theory of MS being half idiots and half cutthroat businessmen is looking more accurate. Pity Ballmer is one of the idiots. I wonder what would have happened if Bill Gates was still running MS...

(I am in no way an MS fanboy. Quite the opposite, in fact. But even I can see that Ballmer's an idiot.)

Wouldn't it be the MS fanboy who had the hardest time seeing Ballmer was an idiot.

thesilentman:
I wonder what would have happened if Bill Gates was still running MS...

Probably nothing special. Gates was a decent developer, inventing Windows 1.0, and a decent businessman to property capitalize on it's huge success and control it's logical growth, but he is no genius inventor to constantly conquer new, huge business segments with new hardware and software inventions in every few years.

DVS BSTrD:

thesilentman:
Ooh, my theory of MS being half idiots and half cutthroat businessmen is looking more accurate. Pity Ballmer is one of the idiots. I wonder what would have happened if Bill Gates was still running MS...

(I am in no way an MS fanboy. Quite the opposite, in fact. But even I can see that Ballmer's an idiot.)

Wouldn't it be the MS fanboy who had the hardest time seeing Ballmer was an idiot.

Nah, the MS fanboy will run around pointing to examples where MS acted all awesome (to them). Ballmer ain't part of those guys. Patenting every single little thing in an OS and going after anyone that seems to be a likely competitor is a legit strategy, especially in the software world, despite how idiotic it sounds.

Entitled:

thesilentman:
I wonder what would have happened if Bill Gates was still running MS...

Probably nothing special. Gates was a decent developer, inventing Windows 1.0, and a decent businessman to property capitalize on it's huge success and control it's logical growth, but he is no genius inventor to constantly conquer new, huge business segments with new hardware and software inventions in every few years.

We'd at least see them not acting like idiots for once. Whose idea was it to push Windows 8 as the future?

Entitled:
...Gates was a decent developer, inventing Windows 1.0, and a decent businessman to property capitalize on it's huge success and control it's logical growth, but he is no genius inventor to constantly conquer new, huge business segments with new hardware and software inventions in every few years.

Sadly; you are wrong on this one... Bill Gates was basically similar to Steve Jobs. Taking the work of others (Gabe Newell played a MAJOR part in making the first 3 releases of windows! (Source: http://www.computerandvideogames.com/172835/interviews/creative-minds-gabe-newell/ )) and marketing them to get people to buy them. Even though he lacked the 'X factor' of the late Steve Jobs (And he is still alive AFAIK); the two were the same kind of person.

doggie015:

Entitled:
...Gates was a decent developer, inventing Windows 1.0, and a decent businessman to property capitalize on it's huge success and control it's logical growth, but he is no genius inventor to constantly conquer new, huge business segments with new hardware and software inventions in every few years.

Sadly; you are wrong on this one... Bill Gates was basically similar to Steve Jobs. Taking the work of others (Gabe Newell played a MAJOR part in making the first 3 releases of windows! (Source: http://www.computerandvideogames.com/172835/interviews/creative-minds-gabe-newell/ )) and marketing them to get people to buy them. Even though he lacked the 'X factor' of the late Steve Jobs (And he is still alive AFAIK); the two were the same kind of person.

That's something new that I learned today. Well, history is written by the victors... So that's why Gaben in keen on Steam for Linux...

>.>
<.<

not to sound rude or anything but ....

wasn't it a forgone conclusion the Microsoft was run by idiots, ah well, least we have further confirmation of that :D

Entitled:

thesilentman:
I wonder what would have happened if Bill Gates was still running MS...

Probably nothing special. Gates was a decent developer, inventing Windows 1.0, and a decent businessman

The world's richest man was decent? Eh...I wish I was as "decent" as Bill Gates then XD.

I thought it was obvious when they started referring to OS as "Visions" and putting a disorganized mess of a touchscreen interface for phones on a desktop.

Well this is just like the Apple thing, they just keep fucking everything even more just going after easy money, I never liked Vista, nor 7, nor even give a fuck about 8, I don't have a smartphone cuz I don't care about anything it could possibly have, and these fuckers turn the damn PC into a phone.

Fanghawk:
Microsoft employees are widely recognized for company loyalty and a refusal to badmouth superiors, even after leaving the organization.

I'm guessing Gabe Newell is an outlier then.

Then again he left 1996.

Love him or hatye him, Gates, like Jobs is or was an engineer. They understood the product. They had a touch of the skills of a futurist. They were good predictors of what people would want and need in the long term. They had a very balanced approach to product development, and it was driven by more then simply marketing. In short they did have a great deal of vision.

Balmer is NOT an engineer. He is NOT a visionary. He is a marketeer who never met an idiotic business speak catchphrase that he didn't like. Microsofts only advantage is that Apple now faces the same stupidity in Cook. The companies were founded by innovative engineers. Love them or hate them, even when they were not the inventors, they were skilled enough craftsman to know what was needed and stear the ship into the path of progress. Unfortunately after the founding engineer leaves, companies like this always hand the reins over to a salesman. Whoever brought in big numbers, instead of good ideas. Someone who artificially gave the stockholders short term gains instead of long term value. As a result they decline.

Lunar Templar:
>.>
<.<

not to sound rude or anything but ....

wasn't it a forgone conclusion the Microsoft was run by idiots, ah well, least we have further confirmation of that :D

Gates was a pretty cutthroat businessman. You know you're one when you steal the very first OS they are known for.

faefrost:
Love him or hatye him, Gates, like Jobs is or was an engineer. They understood the product. They had a touch of the skills of a futurist. They were good predictors of what people would want and need in the long term. They had a very balanced approach to product development, and it was driven by more then simply marketing. In short they did have a great deal of vision.

Balmer is NOT an engineer. He is NOT a visionary. He is a marketeer who never met an idiotic business speak catchphrase that he didn't like. Microsofts only advantage is that Apple now faces the same stupidity in Cook. The companies were founded by innovative engineers. Love them or hate them, even when they were not the inventors, they were skilled enough craftsman to know what was needed and stear the ship into the path of progress. Unfortunately after the founding engineer leaves, companies like this always hand the reins over to a salesman. Whoever brought in big numbers, instead of good ideas. Someone who artificially gave the stockholders short term gains instead of long term value. As a result they decline.

And here's the voice of reason talking here, Ballmer. Gates cared deeply. You care. One word makes such a big difference, doesn't it?

I agree. If MS used its brain a little over the past years, they would have gotten some better results in the end goal they're trying to go to. MS could have killed the OS market and gotten itself a monopoly for reals of they didn't have the retarded guys working on every OS past 2000 Professional.

The more I read about Microsoft, the clearer it is that it's been doing almost nothing but playing the "Me, too!" game for decades.

Oh, I knew that Windows more or less ripped off the Macintosh interface. Who didn't? But also Word to take on WordPerfect, Excel to take on Lotus, Internet Explorer to beat Netscape, XBox coming in part from people who had worked on software for the Dreamscape and hardware for the 3DO...

For a lot of these endeavors, they were quite good at the "me too" game. I've used WordPerfect and Lotus, and frankly, in my opinion, Word and Excel are better products. Or at least they were when they overlapped with the competition; now they're increasingly suffering from the same "united interface"/"oh, you don't need to see that" mechanics as just about everything else square-pegged to fit into the vision of what Windows software is supposed to be.

It's a bad sign when people are actually paying to disable the most prominently new features of your new OS. I understand that Microsoft is desperate to be seen as the leader in tablets and smartphones; hell, at this point they'd be thrilled to get "credible contender" status. But if they're going to crib, I wish they'd get it straight. Apple did the legwork to make sure that iTunes will work well to move and organize music between your Mac and your iPhone; they didn't decide that the Mac had to use the same interface as the iPhone to get there. God knows Apple can be an irritating, presumptuous overlord in their digital domain, but they at least had the sense to realize that what Microsoft is doing with Windows 8 isn't what anyone is looking for, a fact that the piss-poor sales are now emphasizing.

Likewise, Google, to an extent. I can use Google to search on my Android phone? I can use my voice to make that query on my computer? Spiffing. But they didn't then assume that I wanted to use Swype instead of my keyboard on my PC, or only be able to open one window or tab at a time in my PC's browser.

I'm reminded of a line from Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged:

Kaiba: "Mokuba, if Joey wins this duel, I'll happily give you control of Kaiba Corp."
Mokuba: "Yaaaay! I will call it Mokusoft! And we'll make horrible operating systems that no one wants to develope for!"

Ohhhh I remember back in the days when Microsoft used to mean "good".

And now I feel old. xP

Entitled:

thesilentman:
I wonder what would have happened if Bill Gates was still running MS...

Probably nothing special. Gates was a decent developer, inventing Windows 1.0, and a decent businessman to property capitalize on it's huge success and control it's logical growth, but he is no genius inventor to constantly conquer new, huge business segments with new hardware and software inventions in every few years.

I don't think the second richest man in the world was only a decent businessman.

 

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