Today Steve Ballmer, the fiery CEO of Microsoft, bid a tearful goodbye to a crowded auditorium of 13,000 employees at the Seattle Key Arena as he hosted the annual company meeting; it is his last one heading the event before leaving the helm of CEO sometime next year.
And as usual, Ballmer didn’t pull any punches during his talk and took the time to not only sing the praises of Microsoft, but he also vilified the competition in classic Steve Ballmer style.
Changing the world
The bombastic Ballmer danced and jumped on the stage to the Michael Jackson tune, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ and enthusiastically shouted to the crowd that Microsoft will “change the world again!”
After the song ended he proclaimed:
“…the sound of Microsoft! …enjoy this for a minute…You work for the greatest company in the world, soak it in.”
Spectators in the audience saw visible tears streaming down Ballmer’s face as he was overwhelmed by the emotion of the moment.
In his hour-ling speech he lauded Microsoft as one of only a handful of technology companies that would be able to set the course of the future for the industry and the world:
“We have unbelievable potential in front of us, we have an unbelievable destiny. Only our company and a handful of others are poised to write the future. We’re going to think big, we’re going to bet big.”
While Ballmer’s speech uplifted the accomplishments of Microsoft and showed his deep love and respect for the company and its members, he also took the opportunity to flame the competition as only Ballmer can—with heated words and directness.
He considered Apple a lightweight in the industry and said that the company was “fashionable” or a firm without real substance. As to Amazon he referred to it as “cheap.” For Google he described the company as a business based on “knowing more.”
In comparison, he said Microsoft was a company dedicated to “doing more.”
A team effort
Many believe that Ballmer’s tenure as CEO of Microsoft led the company into a highly successful business which influences virtually every PC made in the world with products such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and of course, the Windows operating system.
But Ballmer said that the success of the firm didn’t reside with one individual, but with the many employees working for Microsoft.
“I want to say thank you…this isn’t about any one person. It’s about a company that’s important, that’s forward thinking, that’s innovative.”
The audience constantly cheered and screamed “We love you!” during Ballmer’s last presentation at the annual meeting. Ballmer was visibly moved by the warmth and enthusiasm of the crowd.
Ballmer will still be in charge of Microsoft at least until next year when he officially steps down from his position, but will exit earlier if a replacement is found for his job before then.
Although many people recognize Bill Gates as the founder of Microsoft, it was under Ballmer’s watch where the company grew.
But some industry pundits believe that Ballmer’s leaving is good timing because ironically, the very thing that Ballmer claims Microsoft is doing isn’t happening–and that is in the area of change.
Via BBC News