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Ballmer’s Balls-ups – 5 Misguided moments of Microsoft’s CEO

Andrew Williams


Ballmer’s Balls-ups – 5 Misguided moments of Microsoft’s CEO

Steve Ballmer today announced that within a year he will retire from his role as CEO of Microsoft. And we won’t be forgetting him any time soon.

A man of almost pathological enthusiasm and the stage presence of an irate rhino, he has become a minor YouTube sensation thanks to this array of frankly bizarre appearance and quotes. Here are a few of our personal favourites

Steve slags off the iPhone

Ballmer was never going to give the iPhone too much praise, but his words following its launch in 2007 now appear hilarious. He dubs the iPhone the ‘most expensive’ phone ever, and appears to think a phone without a keyboard can’t be any use as an email device. Microsoft now commands just three per cent of the phone market. Oh, Steve.

Steve’s on-stage nervous breakdown

Almost certainly the most-watched video featuring Microsoft’s CEO is Ballmer’s entrance to a Microsoft BUILD conference. You might think that a middle-aged, overwight head of a global tech giant wouldn’t dance around a stage, whooping like an overexcited teenager who’s just scored a goal. But you’d be wrong.

Windows 1.0 Promo

From scary to terrifying, in Steve Ballmer’s promotional video for Windows 1.0 it feels as though he’s about to reach through the screen and strangle you. This was way back around 1985, a full 15 years before he became Microsoft’s CEO. With moves like this in evidence from his early days, you do have to wonder sometimes how he got there.

Steve’s second on-stage meltdown

Once wasn’t enough. Steve went a bit ‘angry sports coach’ on us again on-stage at a Microsoft conference in 2009. At points it looks like Steve’s ready to punch through a wall, or perhaps the poor interviewer’s face.

Steve threatens to kill Google

Eric Schmidt

Not all of Ballmer’s questionable antics are caught on video. The man’s unnerving presence comes across even in newsprint. After hearing that one of his colleagues was to move to Google, Ballmer reportedly lost the plot, chucked a chair across the room and exclaimed of Google’s Eric Schmidt, “I'm going to f---ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again… I'm going to f---ing kill Google.” To this day, Ballmer says he’s never thrown a chair across a room.


August 24, 2013, 1:54 pm

an excellent compilation.. I really don't know whether his visible extreme enthusiasm is the reason people hate him so much, or is it that he really got many things wrong.. as for the Apple iPhone misjudgement, come on - even Bill Gates got the kb/Mb thing wrong initially.

Barry Wombleton

August 24, 2013, 3:00 pm

The early Ballmer selling Windows, was that a spoof? A MS gag reel? Talk about a snakeoil sales pitch. You're right asking how the hell did he end up as CEO?

Joey Noodle

August 25, 2013, 1:02 am

You guys need to do a little more homework - I'm no Ballmer fan but In terms of enthusiasm, you certainly cant knock the guy. He does not have the presentation skills of Steve Jobs but...
His comments on the iPhone were spot on - It WAS too expensive and a month after his comments, Apple dropped the IPhone price by 20%.
Microsoft is without doubt one of the most technically challenging companies to run in the world and Ballmer is technically knowledgeable about each and every one of the divisions be it Xbox, Bing, Azure or any of the enterprise or consumer products. That's a wide skills range and you would be hard pushed to find any CEO with that breadth of skills and in depth knowledge about actual products. Not many people (including Steve Jobs) can manage a company of 100k employees with such a wide product range. He's a tech titan and has been with the development of the modern computing industry since day 1.
The 'fanboys' hate Microsoft with such a vengeance that prove just how effective this guy was. He brought in Windows NT (Have a read of Showstopper). The most used operating system in the world.
As much as Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer has earned his place in IT history.


August 25, 2013, 8:43 am

"The 'fanboys' hate Microsoft with such a vengeance that prove just how effective this guy was."
I am no fanboy but "effective"?? Give us a break !


August 27, 2013, 5:49 pm

I can't believe you forgot this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

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