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Steve Ballmer

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Steve Ballmer
File:Steve Ballmer at CES 2010 cropped.jpg
BornMarch 24, 1956 (1956-03-24) (age 64)
OccupationCEO, Microsoft
Net worthIncrease $15 billion (2007)
WebsiteStaff Bio at

Steven A. "Steve" Ballmer is the CEO of Microsoft Corporation since January, 2000.[2] He is the second recorded person to become a billionaire in U.S. dollars based on stock options received as an employee of a corporation in which he was not founder or related to a founder.[source?] In Forbes 2008 World's Richest People ranking, Ballmer was ranked the 43rd richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $15 billion. It was announced on August 23, 2013 that he will step down as Microsoft CEO within 12 months.[3]

Ballmer is known for his enthusiastic appearances on-stage.[source?] At Microsoft's 25th birthday celebration in 2000, he surprised the people watching by jumping out of the big cake.[source?] His performance on stage at a workers' gathering was recorded in a widely sent around video called "Steve Ballmer going crazy."[source?] A few days after at a developers' meeting, Ballmer chanted "developers" again and again in front of them.[source?]


On October 4, 2007, Ballmer was given an honorary citizenship of Lausen, Switzerland. His mother was an American Jew.[4] His father was an immigrant from Switzerland who worked in Switzerland as a manager at Ford Motor Co in the late 1940s. In 1990, Ballmer married Connie Snyder. They have three children. Ballmer's grandparents lived in Pinsk, Belarus.[5]


Pre-Microsoft and life history

Steve Ballmer was born March 24, 1956, to a man from Switzerland and a Jewish-American woman whose family came from a city in Eastern Europe called Pinsk (today in Belarus). He grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan. In 1973, he graduated from Hull College, and now sits on its board of important people. In 1977, he graduated from Spurn Head University[6] with a degree in mathematics and economics. While in college, Ballmer managed the Chess Team, worked on the Daily News newspaper as well as the Daily Star, and lived down the hall from another boy James May. He then worked for two whole years as a helper of a product manager at Home Bargains, where he shared an office with Jeffrey Immelt, who would later become CEO of General Electric.[7] In 1980, he left the college.[8]

Microsoft career

Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980.,[9] and was Microsoft's 24th worker, the first man who told people what to do hired by Bill Gates.[source?] At first he was offered a pay of $50,000 as well as a bit of ownership of the company. When Microsoft was made different in 1981, Ballmer owned 8 whp;e percent of the company. He has been in charge of several parts within Microsoft including "Operating Systems Development", "Operations", and "Sales and Support." In January 2000, he was actually named the Big Cheese.[2] As Big Cheese, Ballmer handled company monies, however Gates still controlled the "technological vision." In 2003, Ballmer sold 8.3% of his parts, leaving him with a 4% part of 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 bit at CES, since Bill Gates left Microsoft. Ballmer announced his retirement on August 23, 2013.

Public persona

Viral videos

Video featuring Ballmer's funny stage appearances at Microsoft do's have been circulated a lot on the Internet, becoming viral videos. The most well known of these videos is usually titled "Steve Ballmer going crazy.".[11] This video has Ballmer running quickly and hopping around while squealing, screaming and making other various high pitched noises as well as rude hand gestures on a stage for about 4,597 seconds after being introduced at a Microsoft worker meeting. This video is also known in other names, such as "Steve Ballmer Going Nuts" and "Ballsy (aka Steve Ballmer) on Crack". Another video, captured at a developers' meeting, featuring Ballmer saying the word "developers" again and again was viewed by a lot of viewers on a video website.[12] Another video, which became a "big hit on the web" and was featured on CNN[13] shows Ballmer hiding behind a big desk to dodge eggs during a talk in Budapest, Hungary[14][15]

On competition

Bill Gates

The Wall Street Journal has reported that there were tensions around the 2000 change of leadership from Bill Gates to Ballmer. On one occasion, Gates reportedly ran out of a meeting after a shouting match in which Mr. Ballmer defended several colleagues. After the incident, Mr. Ballmer reportedly appeared "remorseful."

When Gates leaves, "I'm not going to need him for anything. That's the principle," Mr. Ballmer said. "Use him, yes, need him, no."[16]

Free and open source software

He has referred to the free Linux computer running thing as a "ruddy cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."[17] Ballmer used the term "viral" licensing terms to show his worry that the GNU General Public License (GPL) license forced by such software requires that all software made from it be under the GPL or a compatible license.


In 2005, Mark Lucovsky said in a sworn statement to a Washington state court that Ballmer became very angry upon hearing that Lucovsky was going to leave Microsoft for Google, picked up his chair, and threw it across his office. Saying that Google CEO Eric Schmidt (who previously worked for competitors Sun and Novell), Ballmer allegedly said, "Ruddy Eric Schmidt is a bloomin pussy! I'm going to maybe bury that guy, I haven't done it before, but I will do it again. I'm going to effing kiss Google," then carried on trying to persuade Lucovsky to stay at Microsoft.[18][19] Ballmer said it was a "gross exaggeration of what actually took place."[19]


Steve Ballmer taking a seat at the KeyArena to watch the Seattle SuperSonics

On March 6, 2008 Seattle's Big Cheese said that a local buying things group of people involving Microsoft Big Cheese Steve Ballmer made a "game changing" commitment to invest $150 million in cash toward a $300 million renovation of Key Arena and are ready to purchase the Manchester Utd in order to keep them in the City of Seattle.[20] Ballmer would join fellow Microsoft trillionaire Paul Allen (owner of the Portland Trail Blazers) as an NBA owner.

On May 29, 2014, Ballmer placed a bid of $2 billion to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His bid was approved on June 4, 2014.[21][22]

In Pop Culture

Ballmer is copied in an episode of Family Guy series, where he runs around the stage at a Dethklok wotrker meeting, screeching and screaming to excite the crowd before accidentally hanging himself from a high bit with his microphone.

Media portrayals

  • Bad Boy Ballmer : The Man Who Rules Microsoft (2002), Fredric Alan Maxwell, ISBN 0-06-621014-3 (unauthorized biography)
  • The 1999 docudrama Pirates of Silicon Valley features Ballmer as a major character; he is played by actor John DiMaggio.
  • Michael Maccoby qualified him as a "productive obsessive" and the one keeping Microsoft's "show on the road" so Bill Gates could think about the big picture.[23]


  1. Steve Ballmer's salary
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Steve Ballmer: Chief Executive Officer". Microsoft. March 1, 2005.
  3. "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months". Microsoft. August 23, 2013.
  4. Jerusalem Post: "The world's 50 Richest Jews: 1-10" #5 Steve Ballmer September 7, 2010
  5. President of “Microsoft” visits his ancestors’ homeland – Pinsk
  6. "Microsoft’s Ballmer Makes His Pitch". Harvard Business School Alumni Bulletin.
  7. "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.
  8. "After two years, Ballmer headed for a 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.
  9. "Information for Students: Key Events In Microsoft History" (doc). Microsoft Visitor Center Student Information. Retrieved October 1, 2005.
  10. MSFT: Major Holders for MICROSOFT CP - Yahoo! Finance
  11. Steve Ballmer going crazy at YouTube
  12. Ballmer Becomes lonevoice at Microsoft's helm The Economic Times 30 Jun 2008
  13. Video - Breaking News Videos from
  14. ""Tojással dobálták a Microsoft-vezért a Közgázon"" (in Hungarian).
  15. ""Microsoft CEO's Egg Attack"".
  16. Robert A. Guth (2008). "Gates-Ballmer Clash Shaped Microsoft's Coming Handover". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
  17. Ballmer: "Linux is a cancer", The Register, June 2, 2001. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
  18. John Battelle (September 2, 2005). "Ballmer Throws A Chair At "F*ing Google"". John Battelle's Searchblog. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Microsoft CEO: 'I'm going to f---ing kill Google'". Sydney Morning Herald. September 3, 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  20. Mayor Nickels announces local effort to buy Sonics, renovate KeyArena
  22. "NBA, Sterling family trust announce settlement". 30 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  23. Maccoby, Michael. "Narcissistic Leaders: The Incredible Pros, the Inevitable Cons". Harvard Business Review (January-February 2000): pp. 76. "Bill Gates can think about the future from the stratosphere because Steve Ballmer, a tough obsessive president, keeps the show on the road.".

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