AAPL Stock: 118.03 ( -0.85 )

Printed from

Microsoft CEO taps engineers as execs to take on Apple, more

updated 10:50 pm EST, Mon February 7, 2011

Ballmer promoting senior engineers as top staff

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was said on Monday to be overhauling the company's executive structure in a bid to better compete against Apple and Google. The plan would promote senior engineers that would have experience in areas where Microsoft has historically been weak, such as in cloud computing, phones and tablets. The move tipped off to Bloomberg would likely be to get an understanding of what would truly be possible for future projects.

The swaps could take place as soon as this month.

Some of the vacancies may have already been cleared out. Server division head Bob Muglia was effectively tossed in January as Ballmer wanted someone that could compete on better terms with Google. Suspicions have also been raised that executives such as J Allard and Robbie Bach may have also faced pressure to leave over projects like the Courier tablet, although that has been publicly denied.

Ballmer has been pushed by Microsoft's board of directors to make conspicuous changes that disrupt a longstanding corporate culture. Many of the CEO's closer advisors have been long-serving veterans of the company whose direction may have led to the company's current state. New staff would both get top management out of its conventional thinking and reassure the board that the company wouldn't repeat its familiar path.

In addition to losing hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter in an unsuccessful attempt to challenge Google in web apps, search and tools, Microsoft has shown little sign of success with its recent mobile turnaround. Windows Phone 7 has yet to reverse share losses to Android, the iPhone and the iPad. The company's tablet strategy is also in a holding pattern and isn't expected to recover until a touch-native Windows 8 is ready in 2012. Executives that could more closely guide OS strategy could theoretically move faster and get many features closer in step with competitors.

by MacNN Staff



  1. aduffbrew

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Best of Luck Microsoft

    Microsoft is still a wildly successful company but they sure haven't fired the imagination in a long while. With the amount of resources still at Redmond's command, you'd think they'd still be leading the industry instead of running neck and neck or playing catch-up on so many fronts. Sadly, it isn't for a lack of talent... it seems management and corporate culture are the root causes.

    I don't know Ballmer personally but he sure doesn't engender my trust. Still, here's to a more vibrant and innovative Microsoft. Strong competition is a win for every fanboy no matter which side of the divide they find themselves!

  1. Cronocide

    Joined: Dec 1969


    But that's what MS does.

    They don't invent. They don't create.
    They copy. They duplicate. They rename.
    They think differently - 10 months later.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why would Microsoft need to take on Apple?

    Microsoft has 90% desktop market share and claims that Windows and the Windows strategy is far better than Apple's. Microsoft says that corporations will continue using Windows because it is more suited for business use. The Wintel alliance allows Windows to be put on every type of hardware under the sun (you can't get much better than that). Apple supposedly has no software that can compete with the likes of Microsoft Office which is the cornerstone business application of all corporations. Microsoft has the Xbox 360 and Apple doesn't even have a gaming console. Jeez, Apple doesn't even have a darn search engine like Microsoft. For years, Microsoft successfully blocked Apple from being allowed to participate in a corporate environment.

    What the heck is Microsoft so worried about? They're into far more things than Apple is already, so what else are they going into. Are they going to start making their own hardware or build their own iTMS? Microsoft's greed is immense.

  1. SwissMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What Ballmer's really saying...

    Sounds more like "Help me! I haven't a clue!"

  1. peter02l

    Joined: Dec 1969


    CEO taps engineers as execs

    It seems he should start with his job, and hire an engineer for the CEO position.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I like their strategy. I like it a lot.

  1. ASathin8R

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Times they are a changing...

    Business textbooks of the future will be writing about Microsoft as the classic example of a company that became entrenched in its ways and which lured itself into self-belief that it had a business model that could never, ever fail. As such, with the technology and software landscape shifting under it, it is now caught in an identity crisis and does not know which way to turn. It seems too busy being reactive, rather than pro-active.

    And these problems start at the top. How many times has Apple released a product in the past few years that Ballmer has decried, only to see Microsoft scurry around trying to play catch up?

    Ballmer is not a visionary. His vision is to see what competition he can acquire and then shutter them in order to stifle innovation so that it could continue its Windows monopoly.

    Wildly successful Microsoft might be, and for some time to come. But what we are seeing now could be the beginning of the end - at least while Ballmer is still "leading" the organisation.

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Go back to selling used cars... it's about the only thing you're (maybe) qualified for.
    Tech is not for you... not even close.

  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Profits and inspiration

    Balmer will be at the helm of Microsoft until the company's profits really begin to shrink. It's that simple in the corporate world, is our company profitable enough. How does a board choose a person with vision when they don't really have vision themselves. Balmer is a top manager only and not apparently since Gates departure, someone with a game plan. Keeping the goose alive that lays the Windows and Office eggs is top priority having a clue to the future of computers is not in his DNA. It's all about the bottom line in business and Balmer will be around till the day that changes, which will too late for Microsoft's future.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Joe05

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I love these little posts, Microsoft is an engineering driven company, as for cloud computing, they're absolutely kicking Google's a** in cloud computing, They actually have businesses that pay for cloud services, 300 million paid users and counting versus Google's we have 25 million users of Google apps,which are terrible to begin with without ever giving actual numbers of paid customers.

    Windows Azure, a "cloud operating system" is a success and continues to grow, servers and tools, Office2010 is the fastest selling version to date, Windows 7 is a success with 350 million copies in use right now and growing.

    Windows Phone 7 is a fantastic Mobile OS, faster with better programing tools that Android and IOs4 very early in it's cycle and will take time to build momentum.

    Microsoft has never stated they needed executive level engineers to take on Google/Apple,thats a personal opinion and carries very little weight.

    Google is the leader in search, and Apple gets credit where credit is due, they are the leaders of the consumer space and I love some of their products.

    But seriously, get a clue.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented