Steven Anthony "Steve" Ballmer (born March 24, 1956) has been the former chief executive officer of Microsoft Corporation since January 2000 to February, 4 2014.[3] As of 2010, he is one of the richest people in the world with a personal wealth estimated at US$14.5 billion in 2010.[4]

Early life

Ballmer was born in Detroit, Michigan to a Swiss-American father and a Jewish-American mother whose family came from the Eastern European city of Pinsk (today in Belarus). He grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan. In 1973, he graduated from Detroit Country Day School, a private college preparatory school in Beverly Hills, Michigan, and now sits on its board of directors. In 1977, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University [5] with a B.A. in mathematics and economics. While in college, Ballmer managed the football team, worked on The Harvard Crimson newspaper as well as the Harvard Advocate, and lived down the hall from fellow sophomore Bill Gates. He then worked for two years as an assistant product manager at Procter & Gamble, where he shared an office with Jeffrey R. Immelt, who would later become CEO of General Electric.[6] In 1980, he dropped out from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business to join Microsoft.[7]

Microsoft career

Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980[8] and became Microsoft's 24th employee, the first business manager hired by Gates. Ballmer loved working in Microsoft.[9] He was initially offered a salary of $50,000 as well as a percentage of ownership of the company. When Microsoft was incorporated in 1981, Ballmer owned 8 percent of the company. He has headed several divisions within Microsoft including "Operating Systems Development", "Operations", and "Sales and Support." In January 2000, he was officially named chief executive officer.[3] As CEO Ballmer handled company finances, however Gates still retained control of the "technological vision." In 2003, Ballmer sold 8.3% of his shareholdings, leaving him with a 4% stake in the company.[10] The same year, Ballmer replaced Microsoft's employee stock options program.

In 2009, and for the first time ever, he made the opening keynote at CES, since Bill Gates left Microsoft as full-time chairman.

Viral videos

Microsoft Windows 1

Microsoft Windows 1.0 with Steve Ballmer (1986)

Steve Ballmer promotes Windows in an early commercial for PC users who don't live in Nebraska.

Ballmer is known for his eccentric and over-the-top behavior.[11] For example, Ballmer's flamboyant stage appearances at Microsoft events are widely circulated on the Internet as viral videos. The most famous of these is commonly titled "Steve Ballmer going crazy" or "dance monkey boy".[12] Another video, captured at a developers' conference, features a sweat soaked Ballmer chanting the word "developers".[13][14]

On competition

Bill Gates

The Wall Street Journal has reported that there was tension surrounding the 2000 transition of authority from Bill Gates to Ballmer. Things became so bitter that, on one occasion, Gates stormed out of a meeting in a huff after a shouting match in which Ballmer jumped to the defense of several colleagues, according to an individual present at the time. After the exchange, Ballmer seemed "remorseful," the person said.

Once Gates leaves, "I'm not going to need him for anything. That's the principle," Ballmer said. "Use him, yes, need him, no."[15]

Free and open source software

He has referred to the free Linux operating system as a "[…] cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."[16] Ballmer used the notion of "viral" licensing terms to express his concern over the fact that the GNU General Public License (GPL) license employed by such software requires that all derivative software be under the GPL or a compatible license.


In 2005, Mark Lucovsky alleged in a sworn statement to a Washington state court that Ballmer became highly enraged upon hearing that Lucovsky was about to leave Microsoft for Google, picked up his chair, and threw it across his office. Referring to Google CEO Eric Schmidt (who previously worked for competitors Sun and Novell), Ballmer allegedly said, "I'm going to fucking kill Google," then resumed trying to persuade Lucovsky to stay at Microsoft. Ballmer has described characterizations of the incident as a "gross exaggeration of what actually took place."


Speaking at a conference in NYC, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer criticised Apple's pricing, saying; 'Now I think the tide has turned back the other direction (against Apple),' Ballmer said. 'The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment — same piece of hardware — paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be.'[17]


File:Steve ballmer.jpg

On March 6, 2008 Seattle's Mayor announced that a local ownership group involving Ballmer made a "game changing" commitment to invest $150 million in cash toward a $300 million renovation of Key Arena and were ready to purchase the Seattle SuperSonics in order to keep them in the City of Seattle. However, this initiative failed, and the Sonics have since relocated to Oklahoma City.[18]

Media portrayals


Ballmer is the second person after Roberto Goizueta to become a billionaire in U.S. dollars based on stock options received as an employee of a corporation in which he was neither a founder nor a relative of a founder. Ballmer is the 33rd richest person in the world according to Forbes, with an estimated wealth of $14.5 billion.[19] While CEO of Microsoft in 2009, Ballmer earned a total compensation of $1,276,627, which included a base salary of $665,833, a cash bonus of $600,000, no stock or options, and other compensation of $10,794.[20]


  3. 3.0 3.1 (2008-03-01)"Steve Ballmer: Chief Executive Officer". Microsoft. March 1, 2005. 
  5. "Microsoft’s Ballmer Makes His Pitch". Harvard Business School Alumni Bulletin. 
  6. "First job: Assistant product manager for Duncan Hines' Moist & Easy cakes and brownies. His cubicle mate was Jeffrey Immelt, now CEO of General Electric."David Lieberman (2007-04-29). "CEO Forum: Microsoft's Ballmer having a 'great time'". USA Today. 
  7. "After two years, Ballmer headed for Stanford University's MBA program for a better grounding in business. When the fledgling Microsoft ran into problems in 1980, Gates persuaded his friend to drop out and give him a hand. "Jay Greene, Steve Hamm, Jim Kerstetter (2002-06-17). "Ballmer's Microsoft". BusinessWeek. 
  8. "Information for Students: Key Events In Microsoft History" (doc). Microsoft Visitor Center Student Information. Retrieved October 1, 2005. 
  9. "Steve Ballmer: Chief Executive Officer". 
  10. MSFT: Major Holders for MICROSOFT CP - Yahoo! Finance
  11. Gavin Clarke (2009). "Ballmer garnishes Bing 2.0 with iPhone 'stomp': Return of the Kool-Aid kid". The Register. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  12. John Oates (2010). "Ballmer readies slate PC for CES: Monkey boy to hurl spoiler at Apple?". The Register. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  13. Ballmer Becomes lone voice at Microsoft's helm The Economic Times 30 Jun 2008
  14. Chris Ziegler (2010). "Ballmer's visage evoked for 'developers, developers, developers' demo app on Windows Phone 7 Series". Engadget. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  15. Robert A. Guth (2008). "Gates-Ballmer Clash Shaped Microsoft's Coming Handover". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  16. Microsoft CEO takes launch break with the Sun-Times, Chicago Sun-Times, June 1, 2001. Archived from the original on December 11, 2001. Retrieved December 18, 2009.
  17. "Apple is no more than a $500 logo". March 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-03.  SlashGear
  18. Mayor Nickels announces local effort to buy Sonics, renovate KeyArena
  19. Forbes topic page on Steven Ballmer. Accessed March 2010
  20. 2009 CEO Compensation for Steven A. Ballmer, Equilar

External links

  1. REDIRECT Template:Microsoft executives
Bill GatesPaul Allen
Board of directors
Dina Dublon · Bill Gates · Raymond Gilmartin · Reed Hastings · Maria Klawe · David Marquardt · Satya Nadella · Charles Noski · Helmut Panke
Senior Leadership Team
Satya Nadella (CEO) · Scott Guthrie · Amy Hood (CFO) · Harry Shum · Phil Spencer
Corporate VPs
Joe Belfiore · Richard Rashid (SVP) · S. Somasegar (SVP)
Engineering groups (Accessories · Mobile) · Digital Crimes Unit · Garage · Press · Research · Studios · .NET Foundation · Outercurve Foundation
Regional branches
Algeria · Egypt · India · Japan · Pakistan
Product families
Operating systems (Microsoft Windows· Software (Office · Servers · Visual Studio· Band · HoloLens · Lumia · Surface · Xbox
Web properties
Bing · Channel 9 · CodePlex · Developer Network · MSN · Office 365 · OneDrive · · Microsoft TechNet · Windows Store
Build · MIX · PDC · TechEd · WinHEC · WPC · OneDrive · · TechNet · Windows Store
Bundling of Microsoft Windows · iLoo · Internet Explorer · _NSAKEY · Windows · (2000 · ME · XP · Vista· Xbox 360

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.