Ballmer rumoured to plan Microsoft shake-up

June 24, 2013 // 10:45 a.m.

Tags: #bill-gates #business #micro-soft #microsoft #monkey-dance #paul-allen #reorganisation #steve-ballmer

Microsoft is rumoured to be going through a major restructuring that will see its incumbent chief executive Steve Ballmer conduct a massive shake-up of the organisation.

Ballmer joined software giant Microsoft back in 1980 after his friends Paul Allen and Bill Gates proved their decision to drop out of university - Washington State for Allen, Harvard for Gates - had been sound by growing the tiny Micro-Soft (as the company was then styled) to a significant force in the burgeoning computing business. The company's 30th employee, and first business manager, Ballmer has since made a name for himself with a bombastic personality often verging on the ridiculous - starting with an 'enthusiastic' advert for Windows 1.0 and going right through to the infamous howler monkey dance, claims of chair-throwing during meetings and threats to 'f***ing kill Google.'

More recently, Ballmer has been working to change the company's direction away from pure software and into what he described in October 2012 as a 'devices and services company.' The first fruits of that - tighter focus on the Azure cloud platform, for example, and the launch of Microsoft's own-brand Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets along with rumours of Surface Phones to follow - are becoming evident, but thus far Ballmer has been working largely alone on his vision.

That is all to change, unnamed sources 'close to the situation' have told AllThingsD. As soon as the beginning of July, Ballmer is expected to reveal a major reorganisation to senior executives that could see some of the company's longest-serving employees let go in favour of fresh blood.

The shake-up, which sources have indicated will include executive departures, will be the largest shift at the company since the Ballmer-led reorganisation of 2008 that saw the company pointed firmly in the direction of rivals Apple and Google - the answer to which was Surface and Bing respectively. This time, however, some major necks are rumoured to be on the line - although others will find themselves in charge of expanded business divisions.

Names tipped for larger roles include Satya Nadella, the current president of the servers and tools division, and Don Mattrick - the man who perhaps ill-advisedly told those angered by plans to require a 24-hour network-based check-in to play games on the upcoming Xbox One console, since scrapped, to buy an Xbox 360 instead.

Microsoft has, as you might expect, refused to comment on the claims - but with the company's employees on edge, Ballmer would be wise to get the announcement over with sooner rather than later.

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