Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer is asserting that his leaving the company has nothing to do with its stock price, but as video of the CEO’s farewell address demonstrates, clearly that isn’t making his leaving any less difficult.
Video of Ballmer’s speech during Microsoft’s company-wide meeting surfaced over the weekend, and it clearly shows a distraught Steve Ballmer trying to hold it together as he prepares to say goodbye to the company he helped build.
Although this is certainly Ballmer’s last company-wide meeting, Microsoft hasn’t announced the exact day he’ll be leaving. This August’s announcement of his departure made it clear that he would stay on until a new CEO was found. So far, it seems that the company is still in the early stages of choosing its next chief-executive.
In answering shouts of “we love you” during his address, Ballmer responded by telling the crowd that, it wasn’t “about just one person.” Instead, he put a particular emphasis on the things Microsoft has been able to achieve, and boasted that it was always about fostering a company that was “forward-thinking” and that allowed its workers to live “great lives.”
Ballmer announced that he would be leaving the company this past August. At the time, Ballmer maintained that he wasn’t leaving because of the company’s stock price or third-place in mobile behind both Apple and Google. Instead, a letter written to all employees, and released publicly, indicated that Ballmer’s departure was more about timing, with Ballmer saying, “there is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company.”
With the perceived failure of Windows 8 and the company’s missteps in mobile communications, many industry outsiders have pegged Ballmer’s tenure at Microsoft as “the lost years,” something that completely flies in the face of the company’s consistent sales of Windows, Office and the business tools.
That can’t make up for the relatively stagnant sales of Windows Phones thus far, but it does put Ballmer’s legacy at Microsoft in the right perspective.