Ex-Microsoft Exec Says Steve Ballmer Forces Out Rivals

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Joachim Kempkin calls for younger replacement to replace Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a new book

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft uses bullying tactics to eject anyone he deems to be a threat, says a book by a former senior Microsoft executive, which calls for him to step aside.

Joachim Kempin, who worked at Microsoft between 1983 and 2002, made the allegations in his new book, Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft’s secret power broker’ breaks his silence, which is published today.

Although Kempin respects Ballmer, there are limits to his abilities and a management change is  necessary if Microsoft is to continue to remain competitive in the technology industry, he told Reuters.

Steve Ballmer allegations

ballmer santa hat christmas microsoft - IMAGE Beanstalk SEOKempin left Microsoft in 2002 after some of the contracts that he made with PC manufacturers were used in the US government’s antitrust prosecution of the company. Ballmer was made CEO in 2000, and since then has made several moves to protect his position.

Richard Belluzo, a former HP executive who oversaw the launch of the Xbox game console and was eventually appointed Chief Operating Officer, but lasted just 14 months in the role. Other potential successors Kevin Johnson and Stephen Elop were also forced out according to Kempin.

Most recently, Steven Sinofsky departed the company only weeks after the launch of Windows 8. Ballmer thanked Sinofsky for his service, but Microsoft gave no reason for his departure, other than saying a management shakeup was necessary for the company going forward.

Kempin said he raised his concerns with Ballmer about the direction and management style at Microsoft two years ago, but has witnessed no real changes. He added that he has sent a copy of the book to both Ballmer and Gates, but has received no reply.

Potential replacements

microsoft phone failIn his book, Kempkin writes about how Microsoft predicted many of the major developments in technology in the last decade, such as tablets, smartphones and social media, but failed to capitalise on any of them. He added that the decline in sales of PCs is partly due to Microsoft’s management of manufacturers, many of whom have publically declared their unease about the Redmond-based company’s move into hardware.

Kempkin suggests that any potential replacement should be between 35 and 40 and able to understand the Facebook and mobile generation.

“They don’t need [Ballmer] on stage with this fierce, aggressive look, announcing the next version of Windows and thinking he can score with that,” he is quoted as saying.

In May 2011, Greenlight Capital hedge-fund manager David Einhorn suggested that it was time “to give someone else a chance,” adding that Ballmer’s continued presence at the company was the single biggest overhang on Microsoft stock.

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