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Is Microsoft's Ballmer Out?

Wall Street Speculation Related to Flagging Stock Price`

There's speculation on Wall Street that Microsoft is going to dump CEO Steve Ballmer and hold him responsible for the company's ills like not being able to get its stock price to move off the dime. There's no speculation about who would succeed him yet, just a shiver of apprehension when Bill Gates' name comes up.

This speculation comes at a time when Microsoft is in on of its periodic "student body left" changes of direction, where it moves its metaphorical crosshairs to whomever is perceived as the latest Big Threat to its business. Microsoft, under the leadership of Ballmer and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, first pulled this trick against Apple, GEM, and the graphical user interface in the 80s, moved onto a suite of application software developers, vanquished Netscape (something Ballmer recently bragged about at a Churchill Club meeting in San Jose), and now has decided that Google represents the latest threat to its business.

The latest speculation comes at a time when one of the other great alpha executives, Scott McNealy, was notable by his absence at the recent JavaOne conference in San Francisco. McNealy's toothy exuberance and attitude was sorely missing at this year's event, during which Sun offered a very meek middle-of-the-road approach to the "open source Java" question, while doing nothing to allay investors' fears that it is not offering the price/performance edge in its bread-and-butter hardware anymore.

(The industry's other two great alphas, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison, appear to be getting on nicely these days. And despite concerns about a cyclical slack in the PC industry, an emerging magna CEO, HP's Mark Hurd, seems more than secure in his position as the company announced very strong results after Hurd's first year on the job.)

Note: The Ballmer news first appeared at Client Server News

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.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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