Microsoft has been buying up smaller companies since it nabbed the software that would become PowerPoint in 1987, but its most robust period of acquisition is undeniably the post-dot-com bubble years after Bill Gates handed Steve Ballmer the CEO position in January 2000. Between 2005 and 2008, the software giant snatched up more than 10 companies a year and set a company record in 2006 by buying a whopping 18. During Ballmer's 13-year tenure, Microsoft devoured 149 companies.
Microsoft has been very successful building its business on the backs of developers and third-party manufacturers, what the industry calls OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Windows dominated the desktop with hordes of Windows-compatible machines from OEMs and tens of thousands of applications from developers selling into a huge market. It was the ecosystem that defined personal computing in the 20th century.
The formula hasn't worked out so well in the early 21st century. In the shift to mobile computing, Apple's iOS and Android have left Microsoft in the dust over the last five years. Now Microsoft is trying to … Read more
You might think Windows Phone makers would be peeved to find out they're now competing against the very company that provides them software. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has a different take.
In a conference call Tuesday with analysts and journalists, Ballmer said that he believes his company's $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's phone business "grows the OEM opportunity," adding that he's already spoken with OEMs -- an industry term for device makers -- who have shared their enthusiasm about the deal.
"I've talked to a number of OEMs who are more … Read more
In a comment that should surprise no one, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said Tuesday that Nokia's Stephen Elop is a candidate to replace him.
"Stephen will go from external [candidate] to internal," Ballmer told the Seattle Times, though he also said the Microsoft board will evaluate all candidates.
Elop led Microsoft's Microsoft Office division until he left to become Nokia's CEO three years ago. There, he hammered out the tight Microsoft-Nokia partnership around the Windows Phone operating system. Now Elop has stepped back to the role of executive vice president of Nokia's devices … Read more
The decision to sell Nokia's devices and services division to Microsoft for $7.2 billion was a difficult choice, but market dynamics meant it was the only practical one, the Finnish company's outgoing CEO Stephen Elop and interim CEO Risto Siilasmaa said Tuesday.
"We need more combined muscle to truly break through with consumers," Elop said in a press conference in Espoo, Finland, where Nokia has its headquarters. "I share the frustration that comes from being so far behind two very large competitors," he added, referring to Apple's iOS Google's Android, but … Read more
While Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's board of directors, and Bill Gates were deciding it was time for a change of CEO, the company had another blockbuster announcement in the wings.
A little more than a week after Ballmer said he was retiring and that a new CEO would be appointed within 12 months, Microsoft is acquiring Nokia's devices and services business and patents licenses for $7.175 billion. And, Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, former head of Microsoft's business software division and soon to be executive vice president of Nokia for lame duck CEO Ballmer, becomes a front runner … Read more
Bill Gates' passion for computing played in an indelible role in the development of the technology industry, and it will long be remembered. But, if you look at his disastrous final years at Microsoft before his retirement, it's clear that he's not the leader Microsoft needs to find a way forward in the 21st century. The company needs an outside perspective.
There's a good reason why journalists and historians rely on primary documents and multiple sources in order to discover the truth about events. It's because the way people remember things is tied much more to … Read more
The evaluations of Steve Ballmer's 33 years at Microsoft are winding down, with the focus shifting to who will replace him within the next 12 months.
It's a job that requires a rare combination of talents, experience and intellect. The odds maker Ladbroke has Stephen Elop, former Microsoft Office head and now best friend of the company as CEO of Windows Phone spearhead Nokia, as the leading contender, followed by current COO Kevin Turner. Several other current and former Microsoft executives are among the top 10.
Outside contenders in Ladbroke's betting pool include former Microsoft board member … Read more
It was one of the longest-running duos in the history of the technology industry. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Harvard classmates and later business partners running what once was the most dominant company of its era.
Now it's over.
On Friday, Ballmer issued a surprise announcement stating his intention to step down sometime over the next 12 months. Much of the subsequent commentary has focused on shortcomings in Ballmer's stewardship. But a close review of the record suggests a more complicated narrative, one in which it's clear that both Ballmer and Gates shared equally in the company'… Read more
Microsoft is in the market for a new CEO within the next year and while running a technology leader may be appealing the new captain may have a tougher time than outgoing chief Steve Ballmer.
On Friday, Microsoft surprised the tech industry by announcing that Ballmer was going to retire in a planned transition. Ballmer was a lightning rod, but the real shock was that he was stepping down -- especially as Microsoft just set itself up to be a services and devices company.
We have a short list of potential Ballmer successors and you can nitpick over Microsoft's … Read more