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Ballmer rumoured to plan Microsoft shake-up

Ballmer rumoured to plan Microsoft shake-up

Steve Ballmer is claimed to be about to launch a major reorganisation at Microsoft that will see the company given a whole new focus.

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.

33 Comments

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Hustler 24th June 2013, 12:01 Quote
Squeaky bum time at Xbox division as well?

I hope so, because the miserable shambles of the Xbox One launch is testament to just how far MS is misfiring these days.

Of course, Ballmer should fall on his sword as well, guy's a lunatic.
Corky42 24th June 2013, 12:04 Quote
I guess Ballmer wont be leaving, he reminds me of Les Grossman in tropical thunder
johnnyboy700 24th June 2013, 12:10 Quote
I think they might be better off with Les Grossman!!
Xir 24th June 2013, 12:28 Quote
Quote:
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.'
Oh good, I thought they were going to ask what their customers want from them for a change... ah well.
Cthippo 24th June 2013, 12:40 Quote
Sounds more like he's going to fire the good people and promote the people people who brought us the Windows 8 and X-Box one debacles. That's one way to break a monopoly
Xir 24th June 2013, 13:04 Quote
There are good people at Microsoft? :D
Snips 24th June 2013, 13:07 Quote
Fantastic idea by the man at the top. Those so called "good people" have sat around while those so called debacles have taken place and they've done nothing to prevent it.

Clear out the decaying dead wood and push the company even further ahead of the competition. With the passion of Mr Ballmer at the helm, it should keep all those whiners in print while it's still making huge profits for years to come starting with the successful launch of XboxOne later this year.
jon 24th June 2013, 13:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyboy700
I think they might be better off with Les Grossman!!

Boots with the fur!
Parge 24th June 2013, 13:56 Quote
Wait, they are *promoting* Don Mattrick after the PR disaster that is the Xbox One?

*Facepalm*
Corky42 24th June 2013, 14:03 Quote
I get the feeling from watching Ballmer and Mattrick that Microsoft values these kind of people.
Greenie 24th June 2013, 16:52 Quote
I hope they don't touch the Windows Server and System Center platform, just as they are going in the right direction and releasing some awesome stuff.
miller 24th June 2013, 17:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
Of course, Ballmer should fall on his sword as well, guy's a lunatic.

Why would you say that

wvsboPUjrGc
Nexxo 24th June 2013, 18:07 Quote
Might just work. Microsoft is too big, with too many cliques and in-fighting and the left hand not knowing what the right had is doing. It needs to be leaner, less fragmented and have a clearer direction.
Corky42 24th June 2013, 19:20 Quote
Isn't the in-fighting and different departments competing against each other the ethos Ballmer wanted to foster, or at least i was lead to believe from historical information leaks.
It would be good if Ballmer has had a change of tact as i personally don't believe you get the best from people in such a hostile environment.
Nexxo 24th June 2013, 19:37 Quote
In "Microsoft’s lost decade" Kurt Eichenwald lays the blame squarely on Ballmer and the bloated bureaucracy he fostered that rewarded successful infighting over innovation and design.
Quote:
Staffers were rewarded not just for doing well but for making sure that their colleagues failed. As a result, the company was consumed by an endless series of internal knife fights. Potential market-busting businesses—such as e-book and smartphone technology—were killed, derailed, or delayed amid bickering and power plays.

He describes the company’s 'stack ranking' system — where employees on a team are all graded on a curve no matter how well or poorly they actually perform. A bureaucracy of meetings, meetings about meetings, meetings about meetings about meetings... a chasing of fast profits on established cash-cows Windows and Office strangling innovation... Grim reading indeed.

Perhaps the biggest change we need is to get rid of Ballmer. :p
supermonkey 24th June 2013, 20:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
A bureaucracy of meetings, meetings about meetings, meetings about meetings about meetings...
I need to check my paystub, because that sounds suspiciously like my workplace!
LordPyrinc 24th June 2013, 21:00 Quote
If nothing else, Microsoft needs to get a better handle on their PR. Some of their own people's comments made recently absolutely reek of arrogance. No matter what side of the fence you come down on either product, Windows 8 and Xbox One certainly have spawned many divisive debates.
BlackMage23 24th June 2013, 21:47 Quote
Yeah, MS do seem to be a bit arrogance at the moment. Sony was the same when the PS3 launched and it cost them, but now they seem to be making the right moves to be the top dog again.
I think MS need to be knocked down so that they can then sort themselves out and come out with some really good stuff.
SAimNE 24th June 2013, 23:49 Quote
can agree microsofts arrogances is going skyward alarmingly fast and they could use some thinning of the fat.... also really hoping steam makes a few more leaps and bounds for linux gaming so i'll never even have to remember the name microsoft afterwards.
fluxtatic 25th June 2013, 07:10 Quote
Maybe Ballmer will throw us all for a loop and say the big shake-up is that he's resigning. Apparently he has something over everyone on the board, as he can't get fired, if Vista, Win8, the original announcements on XBox One, etc, etc, are anything to go by.

Wait, no - he's Ron Livingston in Office Space - he stopped giving a ****, and now he's more successful than ever.
Nexxo 25th June 2013, 08:13 Quote
Maybe he's the L. Ron Hubbard of the software world. Make **** up, believe in your own ****, proselytise your **** as a religion, get followers.

Or was that Steve Jobs? Or Larry Page? Damn, it's so hard to tell them apart these days! :p
johnnyboy700 25th June 2013, 09:56 Quote
Maybe they are all the one person! Did you ever see them in a room together? Thought not, see, its a global conspiracy and the Thetans are about to take over...
Corky42 25th June 2013, 10:13 Quote
The link about 'Microsoft’s lost decade' given by Nexxo made for some very interesting reading, all six pages of it

Some of the mistakes that stuck out to me was how profit trumped innovation and how if it didn't fit into the Windows/Office ecosystem it was shunned, Things like dropping E-book readers way back in 1998, and how the Zune and windows phone failed to get a market lead on Apple due to the constant in-fighting. The whole idea of a stack ranking that pits employees and groups against one another does nothing for teamwork or innovation.

Maybe this shake up will change things, but unless Microsoft put more importance on innovation and teamwork and less on profits and the stack ranking system it just seems we may get more of the same.

One thing i would like to see at Microsoft are teams setup to concentrate on developing existing products. but also to reopen Pioneer, the skunk works type department that was closed a couple of years ago. Running as a separate company able to make decisions on new products without the stifling bureaucracy of the Microsoft management.
Snips 25th June 2013, 11:56 Quote
At the end of the day, since profits have been a constant, no one felt it was needed.

Mentioning Sony here is an absolute joke. They've had no profits for years and had to make changes and only cross into a few of Microsoft's territories. Some need to remember this isn't a console blinkered website.
fix-the-spade 25th June 2013, 12:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMage23
Yeah, MS do seem to be a bit arrogance at the moment. Sony was the same when the PS3 launched and it cost them, but now they seem to be making the right moves to be the top dog again.
I think MS need to be knocked down so that they can then sort themselves out and come out with some really good stuff.
Phil Harrison, one of the men in charge of the PS3 launch, left Sony in 2008 and joined Microsoft, he's one of the men in charge of the Xbone launch, apparently having learned nothing in the intervening years.
Corky42 25th June 2013, 14:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
At the end of the day, since profits have been a constant, no one felt it was needed.

So standing still is seen as progress ?
In fact while Microsoft have been standing still there competitors have seen massive growth.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/apr/28/microsoft-falls-behind-apple
Hakuren 25th June 2013, 15:45 Quote
IMHO Ballmer should be put to the sword just for releasing hopeless and miserable product called W8 [and certainly not only '8']. Some of his arrogant & clueless comments are just mark of small minded man.
Alecto 25th June 2013, 20:03 Quote
Don't forget that idiot Sinofsky, he was mainly responsible for the W8 disaster and was fired for it. Time to have some more idiots follow him and bury that metro crap once and for all.
Corky42 25th June 2013, 20:17 Quote
Don't forget Sinofsky was also responsible for Windows 7

And he wasn't fired *cough* his departure was described by both parties as a mutual decision.
But was widely seen externally as the result of a power struggle or friction between himself and Ballmer.
Snips 26th June 2013, 11:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
At the end of the day, since profits have been a constant, no one felt it was needed.

So standing still is seen as progress ?
In fact while Microsoft have been standing still there competitors have seen massive growth.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/apr/28/microsoft-falls-behind-apple

In a declining market yes it was. Let's not forget Apple's growth start was in an area Microsoft was not dominating as it couldn't compete in Microsoft's territory.

Ballmer at the top is the only way to go forward and get rid of the idle old guard who have remained silent and just looked after themselves whilst collecting a pretty decent paycheck.
Corky42 26th June 2013, 12:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
In a declining market yes it was. Let's not forget Apple's growth start was in an area Microsoft was not dominating as it couldn't compete in Microsoft's territory.
Best not let your investors hear you say that, they will want to know why you didn't see it coming
And lets not forget that the reason Microsoft main market is declining is because of people switching to tablet, etc.
Microsoft had there chance with the Windows phone, Windows CE and the Microsoft Tablet PC but due to way the company was run the constant in-fighting meant they failed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
Ballmer at the top is the only way to go forward and get rid of the idle old guard who have remained silent and just looked after themselves whilst collecting a pretty decent paycheck.

Not sure on the Ballmer must stay part. But i do agree on getting rid of the old guard part, not because they remained silent though as it was totally the opposite they actually put the block on some very good ideas.
Snips 26th June 2013, 12:42 Quote
No, sorry you misunderstood or I didn't convey it properly. Industry profit's as a whole were in decline while Microsoft's profits were a constant.
Nexxo 26th June 2013, 19:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
The link about 'Microsoft’s lost decade' given by Nexxo made for some very interesting reading, all six pages of it

Trust me, I'm as critical of Microsoft as the next guy. The reason I jumped to Windows 8's and Surface's defence is because it is the first time in a long time that Microsoft actually took a risk and did something innovative, instead of cynically squeezing maximum profit out of the same old cash cows. Windows 8 is by no means perfect, but it is daring for once. That alone deserves some support.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Some of the mistakes that stuck out to me was how profit trumped innovation and how if it didn't fit into the Windows/Office ecosystem it was shunned, Things like dropping E-book readers way back in 1998, and how the Zune and windows phone failed to get a market lead on Apple due to the constant in-fighting. The whole idea of a stack ranking that pits employees and groups against one another does nothing for teamwork or innovation.

Maybe this shake up will change things, but unless Microsoft put more importance on innovation and teamwork and less on profits and the stack ranking system it just seems we may get more of the same.

One thing i would like to see at Microsoft are teams setup to concentrate on developing existing products. but also to reopen Pioneer, the skunk works type department that was closed a couple of years ago. Running as a separate company able to make decisions on new products without the stifling bureaucracy of the Microsoft management.

Here's hoping. There is some real innovation going on in Microsoft; it just rarely gets to see the light of day. Gates and Ballmer got hooked on the old success of Windows and Office and simply could not move on from that comfort zone. Apple and Google are constantly trying out new ideas. Microsoft needs to do that --and commit to them. Zune could easily have competed with the iPod if it had been marketed to the same extent. The Courier could have competed with the iPad --if they had given some more thought to balancing the hardware.

And I think Ballmer's got to go. There have been some good organisational changes, but in the end he is part of the old guard and therefore part of the problem, not the solution.
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