Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

Summary: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is reportedly looking to shake things up at the top by bringing in senior managers with more tech and engineering backgrounds, according to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources. The move, on the surface, is supposed to accelerate Microsoft's push into tablets, smartphones and other categories where the company has fallen behind.

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TOPICS: CXO, Microsoft
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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is reportedly looking to shake things up at the top by bringing in senior managers with more tech and engineering backgrounds, according to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources. The move, on the surface, is supposed to accelerate Microsoft's push into tablets, smartphones and other categories where the company has fallen behind.

But dare I say again that the problems with Microsoft have more to do with senior managers not having the technology and engineering know-how that's needed to keep one of the pioneers of technology ahead of the game? You see, the root of the problem is not product managers. The root of the problem goes much higher than that - all the way to the CEO's office.

It's Ballmer's job to steer that massive ship known as Microsoft. But Ballmer is a business guy, not so much a techie the way Bill Gates was. Sure, the company continues to perform well financially as it rides the wave of Windows, Office and even XBox. But where's the plan of attack for business segments that are growing leaps and bounds without Microsoft?

Mary Jo Foley: More engineers at the top: Just what the doctor ordered for Microsoft?

It took forever and a day to get a competitive smartphone OS launched - but the headstart that Apple and Google had in gaining ground has largely left Microsoft on the sidelines of what's perceived to be a two-man race (OK, maybe three if you count Blackberry.)  The same goes for the tablet strategy, the cloud strategy and so on.

Microsoft, once a leader in technology innovation, has fallen far behind on those fronts - and it will take something out-of-this-world to push Microsoft back into the forefront. Sure, maybe there's plenty of blame to go around - and once you realize that, you start shaking things up, just as Ballmer is reportedly about to do. But if we're pointing fingers, let's place blame where blame is due. After all, Ballmer is the guy at the top, the exec who's sitting in that big office where the buck finally stops.

I blasted Microsoft after Ballmer's pathetic keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month. Thanks to a presentation that offered nothing new and only seemed to recap last year's products and technologies that the company hawked, it was clear that change is needed at Microsoft.

A shake-up at the top is certainly overdue. Perhaps the board should be taking over the reins of the shake-up and kick it up a notch to the top rung of the ladder.

Topics: CXO, Microsoft

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  • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

    "Microsoft, once a leader in technology innovation, has fallen far behind?
    Thanks for the good laugh, Microsoft has never been a leader in technology innovation. only a leader in stealing other?s IP
    Rick_K
    • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

      @Rick_K Not an argument. Stealing the right IP at the right time is innovation. Don't confuse innovation with invention.
      haraldf
      • theft is not a new idea

        @haraldf
        Definition of INNOVATION

        1
        : the introduction of something new
        2
        : a new idea, method, or device

        i could be wrong but i believe theft goes back quite a few years.
        sportmac
      • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

        @haraldf So you define innovation as taking others? work and claiming it to be your own? Here?s an innovation, sign a contract, do not live up to your part, and then change the terms unilaterally. That has been the Microsoft way for over 30 years.
        Rick_K
    • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

      @Rick_K hear, hear. MSFT has NEVER been a technology company. It was and is a MARKETING company. And if you actually talk to the insiders, off the record, they'll tell you the same thing - I've had that talk in the past. Their part in the word innovation, is innovating ways to package and sell the stuff they beg/borrow/steal/buy from others.
      And while Gates is more attuned to (I'd hate to say knowledgeable about) technology, he's definitely orders of magnitude better at it than Balmer.
      dabble53
    • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

      @Rick_K

      You mean like how Apple ripped off Xerox and PARC for the Macintosh? Both the interface and the mouse came from PARC.

      As someone else has already said, knowing what to do with what is currently available is innovation.
      dcristof
      • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

        @dcristof <br><br>I was at the bleedimg edge of trying to pay and but the XEROX stuff for a paid project to no avail, because they were not interested in selling it. The fact that Apple has borrowed the technology is a tribute to Apple and not Xerox.<br>The XEROX stuff has now been passed over and become irrelevant and so to go back and weigh down Apple with a guilt trip it pretty pathetic.<br><br>GROW UP
        desilvav
      • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

        @dcristof is true. ORacle ripped-off IBM for it's great RDBMS !
        so rip-off is name of the game.
        sguslan
    • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

      @Rick_K You got that right starting with stealing the DOS code that got him started and in Albuquerque NM. Where he ripped off some of the businesses there with false claims. Also things like their first Defrag tool that he stole from a company. I could go on and on having lived through all those days when he was "developing" DOS and Windows. If any of us had done the same thing we would have been bankrupted or in jail.
      tj2430251
      • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

        @tj243025@...
        Not to forget that MS stole the 'Windows' idea from Apple.
        dickseng1
      • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

        @dickseng<br><br>That's OK, Apple ripped Preemptive multitasking from everyone else in the world... <br><br>What would you have had microsoft do, rather than stealing the idea of windows? Just not build a GUI? Nearly every GUI for a large screen is windowing, with the exception of a few tiling ones (which is an inferior technique).

        When we're talking about concepts like windowing, preemptive multitasking, big picture things, I think it's difficult to say it was "stolen". It's more like it was invented somewhere, and the world adopted it rather than simply stand still. The alternative to using that would have been only Apple having a window-based GUI, which they didn't patent anyhow. I think with the big picture ideas like a window based GUI can't really be stolen.
        snoop0x7b
    • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

      @Rick_K There was a show several years ago with a tell all of how he ripped off and stole from everyone, but somehow after it aired one time it disappeared and can't be found anywhere. If anyone knows what happened to it I would love to get my hands on it.
      tj2430251
      • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

        @tj243025@...

        Check out the PBS show "Triumph of the Nerds"...all your misconception of Microsoft stealing Apples GUI which was stolen by Xerox PARC will be cleared.
        http://www.amazon.com/Triumph-Nerds-Bob-Cringely/dp/B00006FXQO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306476577&sr=8-1
        DontBeEvil
    • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

      Gawd...Zdnet's talkback app sucks.
      bmonsterman
    • Microsoft's shakeup should start with letting Loverock Davidson go

      He has caused Microsoft to loose over 10,000,000 users because of his fud. :-)
      Over and Out
  • (Donald Trump) OK that's it. Sam Diaz. I'm sorrry. You're fired.

    That's the last time he'll bad mouth MS. He'll never work in this town again...
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • Bad mouthing Windows is one thing

      But I'm getting tired of the whole "Ballmer sucks" type of crap that happens so often on this site. They changed office software with the ribbon, they changed their OS to a more stable base, they're going to move to ARM, they made a good UI for a phone, there's the Kinect.

      All of these things under Ballmer's reign.

      This guy even goes on to say that the CES showed nothing new. Real Windows and Office running on ARM isn't new? The announcement for the soon-coming WP7 improvement isn't something new? I really did respect Diaz, but I'm starting to respect him less.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Microsoft's management shakeup should start with CEO

        @goff256
        For what it's worth, I was at the CES keynote. That demo of running Windows and Office on ARM was a major "Oh, by the way..." at that speech. Clearly, Ballmer was more interested in avatars for Kinect and a big-stage sales pitch for Windows Phone 7. Sharing news about running Windows and Office on ARM came across as one of those "Oh wait. We forgot to tell you something else" kind of announcements.
        sldiaz
      • That's more of a problem with him

        not being a very good speaker than the direction of Microsoft itself. Now, if you were to say that Microsoft needs to have somebody better give the speeches? I'd be behind you 110%.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • He has made some leaps and bounds, yes.

        @goff256

        But I am in agreement. Ballmer needs to go. Plain and simple.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion