Having been surpassed by Apple in smartphones, tablet computers and even market capitalization, Microsoft is reportedly undergoing something of an internal crisis: Senior executives are said to want to push out CEO Steve Ballmer. Oh, the humiliation.
It's one thing to face a coup in the cutthroat waters at, say, Oracle, or to fail to impress the coldly efficient robotic PhDs at Google, or the hipsters at Twitter. But Microsoft is just straight ahead nerdy and at the company started by uber-geek Bill Gates, Ballmer has long been embraced for his quirks, including screaming and profuse sweating to pump up the troops at company events, and self-consciously cornball comedy skits.
But after 30 years, some of Ballmer's fellow execs are rising against him, says Peter Lauria at the Daily Beast, finding him to be the biggest misfit in a company of misfits. That level of uncool has to sting, especially when rival Steve Jobs at Apple is revered as a God not just by Apple staff and fanboys, but by Wall Street, too. Even when reporting record earnings, as he did today, Ballmer gets no respect. The CEO's underlings might have few practical options for pushing him out, as Jena McGregor writes at the Washington Post, but Ballmer has to miss the love he enjoyed from underlings when Microsoft was riding higher. And make no mistake: When you turn your back on Steve, it burns.
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