updated 08:30 am EST, Sun November 17, 2013
Ballmer admits he may be holding the company back
Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal this week that his occupation of the top spot at the software giant may in fact be holding Microsoft back from a fuller move into the new computing paradigm. The Microsoft chief expressed his love for the company that he helped build and has helmed since Bill Gates stepped down as CEO, but he admitted that it was time for a new leader to step in. "Maybe I'm an emblem of an old era," Ballmer said, "and I have to move on."
According to Ballmer, pressure has been mounting within Microsoft to accelerate change in the company in order to counter mounting competition from Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Those two operating systems account for more than 90 percent of mobile devices shipped worldwide, and consumers are increasingly opting for mobile devices instead of the traditional PC form factors on which Microsoft's Windows platform runs.
"As much as I love everything about what I'm doing," Ballmer said, "the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change."
"At the end of the day," he continued, "we need to break a pattern... face it: I'm a pattern."
Ballmer says he contemplated a decision to leave the company in May of this year believing that Microsoft would better be able to adapt to the new computing era without him in the lead role. He announced his impending departure in August of this year, shocking the tech world by saying that he would be stepping down within a year.
In the running to replace Ballmer are Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Oracle president Mark Hurd, and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. The latter headed up the company that makes the majority of the Windows Phone 8 devices that are in consumer hands, and Microsoft bought Nokia's wireless division earlier this year for $7.2 billion. Reportedly, were Elop to step into the lead role at Microsoft, he would consider spinning off the company's Xbox division, as well as its Bing search engine, focusing instead on expanding the presence of its Office productivity suite on mobile devices.