Gossip site Daily Beast has published a an article that suggests that Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, is currently facing a mounting revolt from within the company. Executives are rumored to be looking at how to get rid of the very vocal CEO because they are unhappy about how the stock price has been performing as of late.
The article cites anonymous sources that recently attended the Microsoft global annual sales meeting in Atlanta (among others), where a tribute to Ballmer’s 30 years of work at Microsoft “rendered [him] completely speechless”… another goes on saying “It felt like it could have been a sign of [Ballmer’s] last [sales conference]”. There is also a lot of quotes from those who don’t like Ballmer’s management style, sometime comparing it to a “dictatorship”. Funny, bacause we know another successful company that is said to be managed like that.
Of course, the story here is the rumor itrself because the actual information is so thin that it’s already surprising that this was published to start with. That said, this bring an interesting point: with Microsoft’s stock being stagnant, is it time for a change and more importantly, is there a silver-bullet to fix Microsoft’s stock price?
First, it’s not clear who would succeed to Steve Ballmer. Secondly, the board and the shareholders would have to get along with the “revolt”. This is very far from being the case. Secondly, despite the recent successes like Windows 7, Xbox 360 and revenues that more than doubled in less than 10 years, the stock is sluggish. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the company is already huge and that we’re in the worst economic slump in recent history too.
For sure, Microsoft could have been better, especially with its SmartPhone division – but I’m not sure how getting rid of Ballmer will magically solve the problem. Microsoft is a big boat and structural and cultural problems are often as important that the CEO him/herself. There is no silver-bullet to fix the stock price. Right now, we feel that the odds are that Ballmer will be around for some time.