Former Microsoft Executive Joachim Kempin Says Ballmer Bullies Out Managers That Challenge His Authority

Posted Jan 22, 2013

Joachim Kempin is a former executive at Microsoft that has written a book about his time at the company between 1983-2002.  In the book, Kempin points out that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is not the right leader for the company, but he holds on to his title by forcing out managers that challenge his authority.

“For Microsoft to really get back in the game seriously, you need a big change in management,” stated Kempin. “As much as I respect Steve Ballmer, he may be part of that in the end.”  Kempin oversaw the sales of Windows to manufacturers during his time at the company.

Kempin’s book is titled “Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft’s ‘secret power broker’ breaks his silence.”  The book is scheduled to be published today.  Ballmer became CEO of Microsoft in 2000.  Kempin said that he saw Ballmer’s power trip begin when former HP exec Richard Belluzzo became the chief operating officer of Microsoft.  Belluzzo is credit with launching the Xbox game console, but he had left after only 14 months in the position.

“He (Belluzzo) had no room to breathe on the top. When you work that directly with Ballmer and Ballmer believes ‘maybe this guy could someday take over from me’, my God, you will have less air to breathe, that’s what it comes down to,” said Kempin.  Potential successors for the CEO of the company have departed including former Windows unit chief Steven Sinofsky, former Windows and online head Kevin Johnson, Office chief Stephen Elop, and Ray Ozzie.

“Is he a great CEO? I don’t think so. Microsoft’s board is a lame duck board, has been forever. They hire people to help them administer the company, but not to lead the company. That’s the problem,” added Kempin.  “They need somebody maybe 35-40 years old, a younger person who understands the Facebook generation and this mobile community.  They don’t need this guy on stage with this fierce, aggressive look, announcing the next version of Windows and thinking he can score with that.”

[Source: Reuters]