Tag: executive

Gentle Ballmer meekly suggests the competition is doomed

Modest Microsoft CEO, the shy and retiring Steve “There’s a Kind of Hush” Ballmer has displayed his usual understated charm at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco.

Speaking about mobile, the market Microsoft re-entered successfully after making a laughing stock of itself, Ballmer took a swipe with his clumsy bear paw in an attempt to knock Android and Apple off their pedestals.

He gave a nod to a competitor which was a “sea of icons” (read: Apple) and, Information Week reports, that Android is an operating system for “computer scientists”.

Ballmer gave no mention to the computer scientist’s OS of choice landing him and MSFT a hefty royalty cheque for each device sold.

Meanwhile, Google is being trounced in the cloud, according to the unassuming CEO.  He said Microsoft is “all in, baby” in cloud storage, not sounding too dissimilar from, say, the WWF’s Ultimate Warrior.  

Not only that, but Information Week reports he believes Microsoft is “winning, winning, winning” for applications in the cloud, at least 98 percent of the time.

What isn’t quite winning, winning, winning is Ballmer’s bonus. Again.

Crucially, Ballmer also confirmed that the expensive shopping trip to Skype’s headquarters was about the social web. AKA, Facebook

China puts right corrupt China Mobile exec with murder threat

China has decided to make an example of a vice chairman found guilty of taking bribes, an analyst has said.

Former vice chairman and executive director of China Mobile, Mr. Zhang Chunjiang, was sentenced to death after a North China High Court found him  guilty of taking around $1.5 million in bribes for the period of 1994 to 2009. That was while he was deputy director of the Liaoning provincial postal administration, GM of China Netcom Group, as well as the deputy general manager of China Mobile.

Although the sentence has been suspended for two years – and, mercifully, could be cut to just life imprisonment if Mr Zhang behaves – other execs found guilty of corruption might not be so lucky.

According to an industry watcher under condition of anonymity, this is because the Chinese government has decided that there should be a public clampdown on corruption in both its government and state business. It had decided to make an example of Zhang, which should serve as a warning to others, while the public facing image is that corruption is dealt with seriously in the country.

“Of course, this isn’t the first time corruption has been found in a Chinese company. However, like in South Korea, the government has tried to cover up and the law make excuses,” our man tells TechEye.

“Simarlarily to South Korea, China has now decided that – what I’ll call ‘silent corruption’ – won’t do.

“So, like with Samsung over in South Korea, it has decided to show businesses where it stands and show that as a nation it won’t stand for corrupt practices.

“It’s trying to show that it will no longer take a softly, softly approach against those who practice these corrupt methods and those who are found to be guilty face more than prison. 

“After all, it’s clear that China desperately needs the trust of other countries to do business, especially with competition from other nations. “

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese President Hu Jintao made a speech earlier this month warning that the country faces a dire struggle against corruption. He was quoted as saying:  “If corruption cannot be effectively stamped out, the Party will lose the trust and support of the people”.

When Mr Zhang, who joined China Mobile in 2008, stood court earlier this month, he was also also accused of helping bribers receive business contracts as well as recovering debts.

However, there were no more further details of his wrong doings. Mr Zhang pleaded guilty and paid back all the money.

There is opportunity to set further examples, as the courts have confiscated the passports of several separate mid-level managers .

Microsoft planning management shakeup

Microsoft is planning a management shake-up that will concentrate on replacing many of its executives with fresh people who have an engineering background.

The changes are being sought by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, according to two unnamed sources close to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Ballmer has already been replacing people in the company, last month getting rid of its server division president, Bob Muglia, who had been with the company for 23 years. Ballmer said that the company needed new leadership in this area to focus on cloud computing, an area which is expected to boom over the next few years.

The changes in other key positions are likely to be in the smartphone and tablet sectors, areas which Microsoft arrived considerably late at after the success of Apple’s iPhone and iPad and Google’s Android platform. The appointments are expected to be made this month, although these plans were not intended to be public.

One of the reasons cited by the sources for the shake-up is mounting investor criticism, which has been focused on Microsoft slipping behind main rivals, particularly with Windows Phone 7, which received good critical reception but had a very late market entry. The dramatic failure of the Kin phone also received stern criticism from shareholders.

The focus on finding engineering people to fill the key positions suggests that Ballmer has lost faith in his marketing team. He already replaced Stephen Elop with Kurt DelBene, an engineering chief, instead of a marketing executive, which was widely expected.

The fact that an engineering background is a prerequisite for the positions suggests that Microsoft’s current management lacks this kind of knowledge to a degree, which rivals like Google and Apple have been using to push product lines. 

How about Steve himself? He’ll probably be clinging on.