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Microsoft rumoured to have forced Ballmer to retire due to $900 million Surface RT loss

News   •   Aug 27, 2013 16:24 BST

Microsoft, company behind Windows Phone (OS running in devices such as the Nokia Lumia 925), is looking for a new CEO as Steve Ballmer has announced his retirement. Word on the street is he was forced to retire by the Microsoft board due to the $900 million Surface RT tablet loss.

In an interview with Computerworld, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, Patrick Moorhead, said, “He was definitely pushed out by the board. They either drove him out, or put him in a situation where he felt he had to leave to save face.”

He added, “What could have precipitated the quick move? It was the $900 million write-down. That caught the attention of the board, and based on Ballmer’s over-enthusiastic public commentary on Windows RT and Surface RT, they lost a lot of credibility. So did Ballmer. How can you be that far off what consumers want? Was it that you’re not listening to your team? Was it because the team was afraid to give him advice? Was it because the team saw a different reality? Or was it that the team lacked the skill set to anticipate the failure?”

Microsoft had to blame someone. Sadly, this someone turned out to be Ballmer. “The buck stopped with Ballmer,” Moorhead said.

Not all, however, agree. Gartner’s David Cearley said, “He has been looking for the right time to retire for a long time, the right person to hand the reins to. I think it’s very likely that Ballmer’s decision [to retire] is part of a broader strategy within Microsoft as expressed by the reorganization in July that is geared toward shifting the corporate culture.”

He added, “They came to the decision that this overall strategy required bringing in a new CEO who can execute from the beginning to put their own imprint on that strategy.”

Was Steve Ballmer forced to retire by Microsoft, or was it strategy? Let us know what you think through a comment.

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