I am sure Friday’s surprise announcement of CEO Steve Ballmer’s departure sometime over the next year, caused a buzz in the Microsoft world over on the ‘east side’. (A reference to the main campus in Redmond and the city of Bellevue east of Seattle across Lake Washington). Ironically, with the jump in the stock price, Mr Ballmer saw some $700 million added to his net worth. Yes, the juggernaut is struggling to transition to a ‘devices and services’ company, and Windows 8 has not found traction so far. But for fiscal 2013, Microsoft reported revenue of $77.85 billion, 6% increase over the previous year. It sits on a $68 billion pile of cash. They still have their operating system sitting on 91% of workstations(45% Windows 7, and 37% Windows XP : a product that is now 12 years old to the day). Will it be a sales guy that replaces Steve Ballmer, or a product guy* (as the late Steve Jobs was)? I would say the latter, but time will tell.
*I should say person and not guy. For example, there is Meg Whitman leading the charge on Hewlett-Packard’s long comeback trail.