Tag: ballmer

Inspector Ballmer investigates government spending

The shy and retired former executive Steve “there’s a kind of hush” Ballmer is apparently not interested in quietly retiring.

Ballmer owns the Los Angeles Clippers, teaches at Stanford and USC and now has created a new start-up called USAFacts.

The start-ups aim is to improve political discourse by making government financial data easier to access.

A small “army” of economists, professors and other professionals will be looking into and publishing data structured similarly to the 10-K filings companies issue each year — expenses, revenues and key metrics pulled from dozens of government data sources and compiled into a single massive collection of tables.

The nonpartisan site will trace $5.4 trillion in government spending under four categories derived from language in the US Constitution.

Défence spending, for example, is categorised under the header “provide for the common defence,” while education spending is under “secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity”. Spending allocation and revenue sources are each mapped out in blue and pink graphics, with detailed breakdowns along federal, state and local lines. Users can also search for specific datasets, such as airport revenue or crime rates, and the site includes a report of “risk factors” that could inhibit economic growth.

Apparently the idea came from a conversation with his missus Connie who was trying to get him interested in some of her philanthropic efforts.

He thought that since he seemed to be paying rather a lot in tax it should be the government who is providing all the aid and health care to the great unwashed.

She pointed out that it does not work like that because there are things government does not get to do in the US and he was missing out on knowing this.

Ballmer is not one to take that sort of comment lying down, or standing up, particularly there is a chair close to hand, so he sought to figure out what the government really does with the money.

He might not like the results. A big chunk of US tax money appears to go on defence and the rest goes to propping up American corporations.

His database will give more detail and answer questions like how many coppers are employed in various parts of the country and compare that against crime rates
Revenue is brought in from parking tickets and the cost to collect. The percentage of Americans suffer from diagnosed depression and how much the government spends on it.

Ballmer calls it “the equivalent of a 10-K for government,” referring to the kind of annual filing that companies make.

“You know, when I really wanted to understand in depth what a company was doing, Amazon or Apple, I’d get their 10-K and read it. It’s wonky, it’s this, it’s that, but it’s the greatest depth you’re going to get, and it’s accurate.”

Microsoft waking from its Ballmer inspired snooze

alainhippoSoftware King of the World, Microsoft has emerged from its 17-year snooze where it has been doing well but not as good as it should have been.

Vole has announced that its market capitalisation topped $500 billion for the first time since 2000 after the technology giant’s stock rose following another quarter of results that beat Wall Street’s expectations.

Shares of the world’s biggest software company rose as much as 2.1 percent to $65.64, an all-time high, in early trading, valuing the company at $510.37 billion.

The last time Microsoft was worth that was in March 2000, during the dotcom bubble when it had a market value of a little above $550 billion.

The Tame Apple Press has been reassuring everyone that Microsoft is still not as valuable as  its favourite company. Apple’s market capitalisation is $642 billion and Google’s is more than $570 billion.

Vole’s second quarter results last Thursday beat analysts’ average estimate for both revenue and profit, mainly due to its fast-growing cloud computing business.

The company’s profit and revenue have now topped Wall Street’s expectations in seven of the last eight quarters.

Chief Executive Satya Nadella has been trying to spruce up Microsoft since taking over the snoozing giant nearly three years ago, from the shy and retiring Steve Ballmer. He appears to have built more credibility around the company’s efforts in areas such as cloud-based services.

When he started work in February 2014, you could pick up a share in Vole for $34 and the company value was $315 billion.

At least 11 brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, boosting the median price target to $68.50 from $68.

 

Ballmer and Gates fell out over smartphones

ballmer_gatesThe shy and retired former Micorosft supreme dalek Steve Ballmer is claiming that he fell out with the Bane of the Mosquito Sir William Gates over building smartphones.

According to Fortune magazine, in 2010 Ballmer and Gates fell out over taking Microsoft into the hardware space.

Ballmer said there was a “fundamental disagreement” about “how important it was to be in the hardware business,” specifically phones.

“I had pushed Surface. The board had been a little reluctant in supporting it. And then things came to a climax around what to do about the phone business.”

He said he would have moved into the hardware business faster and recognised that what we had in the PC, where there was a separation of chips, systems and software, wasn’t largely going to reproduce itself in the mobile world.

Vole did get into the phone market but was too late to take a forceful position in the market. Ballmer pushed for the eventual $9.5 billion-dollar purchase of Nokia handset unit, and most of the entire value of that deal required a write down.

Ballmer loves Linux and yoga now

src.adapt.960.high.Ballmer_082313.1405470366073The shy and retired former head of Microsoft Steve “there is a kind of hush” Ballmer says he loves Linux now and has become very calm since has taken up yoga.

For those who came in very late Steve upset a lot of people 15 years ago by quietly suggesting that Linux was a cancer.

Speaking on Wednesday night at a dinner hosted by Fortune magazine, Ballmer said he was right at the time, but the threat from Linux was now “in the rearview mirror”.

Microsoft made boatloads of cash from fighting that battle very well, he claimed. “It’s been incredibly important to the company’s revenue stream” to maintain its position with its own Windows operating system.

Vole has softened its anti-Linux position and even sells a Linux-compatible version of its SQL Server database software. Ballmer said he “loved” seeing the announcement, which prompted him to email current Chief Executive Satya Nadella in support.

One reason that Ballmer might have become a little more consolatory is that he has apparently Ballmer has taken up yoga, since leaving Microsoft.

“You get a lot of time to work out, meditate, take it easy. It’s a wonderful thing to do.”

One thing that Steve did mention is that he appears to be no longer close to his predecessor, Bill Gates. He said that the two “have gone our own paths”.

 

Microsoft is out of the Ballmer doledrums

steve-ballmer-tongue-540x334The software king of the world has finally broken free from its bad case of the Ballmers.

After being static for a while now, the software giant Microsoft has seen its figures go through the roof, thanks mostly to its cloud technology.

Microsoft reported better than expected quarterly adjusted revenue boosted by burgeoning demand for its cloud products. This sent the value of its shares soaring by 9.8 percent.

Chief Executive Satya Nadella has been shifting the company focus to software and cloud services as demand for the Windows operating system slows in a weak PC market. The figures seem to show he was right.

Revenue from Microsoft’s cloud business, which includes products such as Windows Server and cloud-based platforms such as Azure, rose 8 percent to $5.9 billion and is expected to reach $6.2-$6.3 billion in the current quarter.

Microsoft  has also been cutting costs and fired some of its staff, streamlining its operations to focus on more lucrative businesses.

“The job reductions were spread across more than one business area and country and reflect adaptations to business needs,” a spokeswoman said in an email. The cuts are in addition to the 7,800 jobs Microsoft said it would cut in July.

Excluding the impact of the strong dollar, revenue in the business rose 14 percent, accounting for about 29 percent of overall revenue in the quarter ended September 30.

The results were the first to include Windows 10, Microsoft’s first new operating system in almost three years..

Sales of Windows to computer makers fell six percent in the quarter – slowing from the double-digit declines seen in recent quarters.

The big test for Windows will be in coming quarters as Microsoft rolls out its latest devices, including its first laptop, a revamped Surface Pro tablet and new Lumia phones.

Revenue in the business that includes Windows, fell 17 percent to $9.4 billion, accounting for 46 percent of total revenue, and is forecast to hit $12.0-$12.4 billion in the current quarter.

Microsoft got about 54 percent of its revenue from outside the United States in 2015.

The company’s net income rose to $4.62 billion in the quarter, from $4.54 billion last year.

Adjusted revenue fell 6.6 percent to $21.66 billion. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $21.03 billion.

 

Ballmer owns four percent of Twitter

steve-ballmer-tongue-540x334The shy and retired former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer now owns a big chunk of Twitter.

Ballmer has a four percent stake in Twitter according to his spokesman, making him the third biggest individual shareholder in the social notworking outfit. In other news Ballmer has become so shy that he has hired someone else to do his speaking for him.

To put this in some perspective, Ballmer’s stake is worth more than $800 million based on Twitter’s $21 billion market value. Only co-founder Evan Williams and Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal have greater stakes.

Shares of Twitter rose 5.6 percent to $31.34 on Friday, hours after Ballmer tweeted he built up his stake over the past several months. After all, if Steve invested a pile of dosh in the outfit, it must have a future – just like Nokia.

Ballmer’s tweet praised Twitter’s new ‘Moments’ feature, which curates the best tweets of the day, and Dorsey’s appointment as permanent CEO last week.

“Good job @twitter, @twittermoments innovation, @jack Ceo, leaner, more focused,” the tweet said. “Glad I bought 4% past few months.”

Ballmer has $21.5 billion in his piggy bank, making him the 35th richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

Ballmer now owns more of Twitter than co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, who has a 3.2 percent stake. Williams is the largest individual shareholder with about 7.5 percent, followed by Alwaleed with about 5.2 percent.

It is an odd time to be optimistic about Twitter. Last week Twitter said it will lay off about eight percent of its workforce and on Wednesday, it hired Google executive Omid Kordestani as executive chairman.

FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi reckoned Ballmer’s stake could be indicative of widespread confidence in Dorsey and his strategy. Surprisingly this is not the kiss of death that many would expect.

Ballmer becomes motivational speaker

The shy and retiring former CEO of Microsoft Steve “there is a kind of hush” Ballmer could be about to embark on a new career as a motivational speaker.

Ballmer, serving as the commencement speaker for the 2014 graduating class at the University of Washington ditched the ceremonial graduation cap and launched into a rousing 15 minute speech that seemed to wake up the previously sedate audience of graduates and professors.

IN fact he managed to wake up most of Washington with his “Opportunity, Opportunity, Opportunity! It awaits you!” speech.

“It’s been a little low-key in here today for my taste,” said Ballmer, stalking the stage in the way familiar to many Microsoft keynote viewers over the years.

Ballmer took on a more serious tone when listing his three keys to success: Carpe diem (seize the day), have a point of view, and be hardcore.

He told the audience that he did not know what got him to drop out of business school and come to Microsoft.

“My parents thought I was a whack job. Neither one of them graduated college and they thought [Microsoft] was a wild idea. I was lucky, I seized the day,” he said.

Ballmer said he was in awe of the co-founder of Twitter and founder of Square, Jack Dorsey. He said the guy’s life proved that point of view creates opportunity.

He also called for people to hardcore – er like Nelson Mandela.

When Microsoft first decided it wanted to sell software into businesses, people said it couldn’t, Ballmer said. But the way around that was to be hardcore…

“Think of Nelson Mandela… The constant, non-stop, long-term fight against apartheid that finally paid off. Opportunity is about seizing what’s there. It is about having a point of view. But it’s also about patience and determination Opportunity is about seizing what’s there. It is about having a point of view. But it’s also about patience and determination,” he said.

Things will not necessarily come to you — ‘poof!’ — immediately and overnight. You’re going to have to be determined and long-term, he added to any poofs out there.

Ballmer said that it does not matter if you don’t know what you are doing after graduation.

“I am 58-years-old and I, too, don’t know what I’m doing again!” he said.

 

Ballmer buys a basketball team

Former Microsoft CEO Steve ” there is a kind of hush” Ballmer has finally found something to shout about – he has bought the LA Clippers, a basketball team in the NBA.

Apparently Ballmer’s will write a cheque of $2 billion for the team which is a new record price for an NBA team.

Ballmer left Microsoft this past February and has a net worth of $20 billion.

Ballmer has been in talks with the wife of the owner of NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers basketball team after Donald Sterling who bought the team in June, 1981, for $12.5 million, was ruled too insane  to stop the deal.

Apparently Sterling did not want to sell the team, however The Sterling Family Trust owns the team, with Donald and his wife Shelly each owning half. The trust spells out provisions and procedures related to the mental capacity of the trustees, and Donald Sterling did not meet the standard in a determination by experts, giving his wife sole decision-making power for the trust.

Sterling was caught insulting African-Americans in a secret audio recording, prompting the need to find a new owner of the basketball team as a result.

Under the deal Ballmer gets all of the team, though Shelly Sterling still could be involved in the franchise in some other capacity.

The deal is apparently tentative, as 29 other NBA owners need to offer their approval as well, but that shouldn’t be a problem as long as Ballmer reaffirms his commitment of keeping the Clippers in Los Angeles and agrees to stop shouting for a minute. 

Nokia boss denies he was Ballmer’s plant

As Nokia started to snuggle up to Microsoft, the dark satanic rumour mill claimed that the Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was a Trojan Horse who had been planted in the phone company to subvert it to the way of the Vole.

The theory was that Elop, who used to work at Microsoft, would slowly turn the outfit into a Microsoft subsidiary which would later be bought out by Steve Ballmer. The theory gained some traction when Elop dumped Nokia’s Symbian business and moved to become a Windows only shop. At the time, Windows was nowhere on the telephone world stage.

Now that Elop is back working at Vole and Nokia is part of the glorious Volish empire, people are starting to ask “was he really a plant” and part of Steve Ballmer’s cunning, but evil, plan to take over the company.

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley wrote that former Nokia CEO and current Microsoft exec Stephen Elop was quizzed about this during a question-and-answer session.

He was asked if he was a “Trojan Horse” at Nokia whose job was solely to bring the company’s value down enough for Microsoft to buy it on the cheap. Elop defended his decisions.

“We could not see a way that Symbian could be brought to a competitive level with, for example, the iPhone that had shipped three years earlier!” Elop wrote in defending his decision to unceremoniously axe Symbian, which at one time had been the world’s leading mobile operating system.

“As for the Trojan horse thing, I have only ever worked on behalf of and for the benefit of Nokia shareholders while at Nokia. Additionally, all fundamental business and strategy decisions were made with the support and approval of the Nokia board of directors, of which I was a member.”

Some shareholders at Nokia’s general meeting last November openly bashed Elop while describing his tenure at the company as a “triple-A flop” that put Nokia on “the road to ruin” and led to “the funeral of Nokia phones.”

However to be fair to Elop, the company was tanking.  We can remember writing stories working out how long Nokia could last before its cash ran out.  Elop was in damage limitation mode most of the time. Leaving Symbian was a no brainer and if he had gone to Android he would have been competing against nearly everyone.  He would also have to pay royalties to Microsoft to use the IP installed in Android. Elop’s first move to save Nokia was collecting $1 billion from Microsoft to run its operating system which was clever – sadly it was not enough. 

Microsoft sued over Internet Explorer fiasco

Software’s supreme dalek, Microsoft’s board faces a lawsuit over the way it handled an error with its Internet Exploder which cost it a $731 million fine by European antitrust regulators.

Shareholder Kim Barovic thinks that the only way for Vole’s board to pay for the cock-up was to be fined further by shareholders.

She has called into court Bill Gates and former Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, and said they failed to manage the company properly and that the board’s investigation was insufficient into how the miscue occurred.

In March last year, the European Union levied its largest ever antitrust fine against Microsoft for breaking a legally binding commitment made in 2009 to ensure that consumers in Europe had a choice of how they access the internet, rather than defaulting to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.

But there was a software glitch on the Windows 7 which stopped a “ballot” screen from appearing.

An EU investigation found that updated software issued between May 2011 and July 2012 meant that 15 million users were not given a choice. It was the first time the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust authority, handed down a fine to a company for failing to meet its obligations.

Barovic says she asked Microsoft’s board to investigate how that mistake occurred and to take action against any directors or executives that had not performed their duties.

However, Vole replied that it found no evidence of a breach of fiduciary duty by any current or former executives or directors. It apparently saw no need to fire anyone over the mistake.

Well, not everyone went unpunished because of the fiasco. Ballmer, who was CEO at the time, and Steven Sinofsky, then the head of the Windows unit, both had their bonuses cut in 2012 because of the mistake. Steve Ballmer is 58.