Steve Ballmer: Microsoft’s incompetent youth

As most successful companies evolve and expand they develop some nostalgic sense of romance around their freewheeling early days. An exchange here at D with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggests that Microsoft is atypical in this regard. Perhaps one root of Microsoft’s paranoid corporate DNA — its collective sense that no matter how successful it is, the roof could cave in any minute — lies in an inferiority complex that goes back to its formative years.

Here is what Ballmer said, responding to a question from Walt Mossberg about managing such a huge company today: “Don’t think the early days of Microsoft, when I joined, were so great. We didn’t have great agility.”

Mossberg: “What, it was small but ossified?”

Ballmer: “The people we had weren’t as good — they just weren’t pushing as much.”

Mossberg: “Like Paul Allen?”

Ballmer: “Paul was good. Bill was good. Four out of 30 were good — and believe me, the rest are gone.”
[tags]steve ballmer, microsoft, d5, d conference[/tags]

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  1. I posted about this on C9, but of course the apologists started with the “It’s only because everyone hates Ballmer”.

    It doesn’t surprise me in the latest however that he said that – what surprises me is that he is *still* in charge.


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