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Microsoft's Steve Ballmer named worst CEO

Dan Graziano
May 14th, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer is the worst CEO of any large publicly traded American company, according to Forbes. The executive sits atop of a list that contains the CEOs of other large companies such as Cisco, General Electric, Walmart and Sears. The publication highlights how Ballmer has “singlehandedly steered Microsoft out of some of the fastest growing and most lucrative tech markets (mobile music, handsets and tablets),” and in the process has sacrificed the growth and profits of other companies — Dell, Hewlett Packard and Nokia — within the Microsoft ecosystem. When Ballmer began his tenure as the software giant’s CEO in 2000, the company’s stock peaked at $60 per share. Within two years, the stock had tumbled into the $20-range and has just recently made a comeback to the low $30s.

“So today Microsoft, after dumping Zune, dumping its tablet, dumping Windows CE and other mobile products, is still the same company Mr. Ballmer took control over a decade ago. Microsoft is PC company, nothing more, as demand for PCs shifts to mobile,” Forbes contributor Adam Hartung said. “Years late to market, he has bet the company on Windows 8 – as well as the future of Dell, HP, Nokia and others. An insane bet for any CEO – and one that would have been avoided entirely had the Microsoft Board replaced Mr. Ballmer years ago with a CEO that understands the fast pace of technology shifts and would have kept Microsoft current with market trends.”

Microsoft, along with the four other companies named in the feature, are on the same route as Research in Motion, Best Buy and American Airlines according to the report, and unless the companies’ boards take action, they could end up seeing the same eventual fate.

“Mr. Ballmer should not be allowed to take such incredible risks with investor money and employee jobs,” Hartung wrote. “Best he be retired to enjoy his fortune rather than deprive investors and employees of building theirs.”

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