Ray Ozzie and Steve Ballmer

So Ray Ozzie announced  few days ago that he is leaving Microsoft and then followed up with a typical Ozzie blog post this weekend…. Yeah… Please make sure to clean out the office, we wouldn’t want you to leave any of your “vision” behind.

Sorry, I’m just not a Ray Ozzie fan. He made his name on Lotus Notes, which I admit has generated a lot of jobs. Given, it is mainly jobs for consultants helping companies get off of the platform but I guess beggars can’t be choosers. Groove was a hype machine that only succeeded in getting us to install it multiple times in hope that over the years they somehow made it hurt less. At least it had a rock solid uninstall function. That was was an improvement over Notes I guess.

This leaves us with Steve Ballmer, whom I happen to enjoy a lot. Not for his strategic moves or his understanding of technology but for his shear force of will. Seeing him on fire churns up images of The Jock grabbing The Geek by the privates and explaining the nuances of proper etiquette, with a squeeze. I would pay good money to see Mr. Ballmer beat the snot out of that narcissistic elitist prick heading Apple.

Ok, sarcasm and sniping aside I actually am a fan of Ballmer. He isn’t afraid to clean house when things are not working. That isn’t as easy as it sounds, often times executives hold on to their “people” simply because they can’t admit failure. Also, Steve is the perfect weight to balance the overly optimistic techie who thinks if they simply “build it and they will come”. The only problem is that I think he’s the wrong face for the company. They need a visionary technology guy to stand out front and leave Steve in the background kicking butt and getting things done.

If Microsoft is serious about changing things up they need someone who is willing to change fast, bring in concepts from the outside when they work and frankly look smarter than anyone else in the room. So come on Microsoft, start grooming Scott Guthrie. If you don’t know what you have in Scott Gu then you’re blind and your fate is predictable. 

UPDATE: Someone sent me this link from CNN that talks a bit about their vision problems. Personally I think they’re a little off the mark with XBOX, to say it was beat by the Wii is kind of unfair given that they came out at two different times and targeted two different markets. But generally I think they make some good points.


  • Thanks for the laugh!

    Steve Ballmer - the guy who said the iPhone would be a total disaster and Apple didn't have a chance of any market share in the mobile space.

    Who then took four years to wake up and smell the coffee, before announcing the iPad would be a disater.

    This time he waited a bit less time before admitting the ipad was a huge success. But don't worry, cos he knows the world wants a table with Windows 7. Not something that's "instant on" or with 10 hours battery life. The word "clueless" comes to mind.

    But not to worry, there's the amazing Windows Phone 7 ... oh wait, the launch has been a total damp squib here in the UK. But never mind, I'm sure there'll be interest eventually.

    Ozzie's problem is he isn't the second hand car salesman that Ballmer is. He had the temerity to point out that Microsoft couldn't rely on Windows and Office money-for-old-rope from a captive audience forever. He had the temerity to point out the world was changing. He was a marked man from day one.

    But heh, Steve can fake passion over crap products. Go Steve! Like I said, thanks for the laugh.

  • If you're saying Ballmer lacks tech vision, I totally agree. Like I said, not his strong point. He's got a kick you in the teeth kind personality which is great for whip cracking, not for vision. They need a visionary who gets people excited and gives something that Ballmer can crack the whip about. I want more viral videos of Ballmer going nutty, I love 'em. But I don't want him deciding what the "next big thing" is.

    As for the defense of Ray Ozzie... Name me something he has done? He's the Norv Turner of Tech, everyone seems to want him in spite of his lack of success.

  • The leader of the largest technology company not having a tech vision, is a big deal. The question for Ballmer and Co, which has been out there since iPhone 1.0, is how does MS transition to mobile computing.

    The reality is with any technology, it invariably moves to mobility and miniaturization. Netbooks are NOT the answer to the miniaturization of laptops; a whole new form factor is required, with a whole new OS implementation. Ballmer completely missed the point of the tablet; so much so that Apple is making boatloads of money on a technically UNINSPIRING "tablet" called the iPad.

    The pedestrian computer of the future IS THE MOBILE PHONE! That much is not in dispute. It is the mobile phone running some usable OS, with virtualization of all the other services i.e. graphics etc. The storage of the future is the cloud.

    Microsoft is VERY LATE to this party.

    It doesn't matter how zany Steve Ballmer's antics are, his vision of the future of computing, from Microsoft's perspective (Windows, windows and more windows), is dull, uninspiring.

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