Nostalgia: Steve Ballmer, why so serious?

It's been a long road for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, he was just a business-savvy best bud of Bill Gates -- long before he spent his days explaining why Microsoft's stock was at risk.

Nostalgia: Steve Ballmer, why so serious?
It's been a long road for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, he was just a business-savvy best bud of Bill Gates -- long before he spent his days explaining why Microsoft's stock was at risk.

A friend of mine at newsblog empire The Huffington Post, Business and Green editor Dave Burdick, remembers the light.

He remembers when Steve Ballmer was less known for taking swipes at competition and better known for selling us a creamy plastic box called a "personal computer" by pointing at us, CNBC Mad Money Jim Cramer-style, his ill-fitted, checked sack suit flapping in the exhaust winds of a 4.77MHz CPU.

Actually, he was selling us Microsoft's Windows, "all for just...how much did you guess? $500? $1,000? Even more-NO! It's just $99! That's right! It's just $99! It's an incredible value but it's true!

"It's WINDOWS from MICROSOFT! Order today!"

So, after a week of severe cutbacks from Best Buy, Google, Circuit City, Sun, Yahoo...even speculation about Microsoft itself, I thought I'd serve up a hot plate of Ballmer nostalgia.

Go on, dig in: it's delicious.