Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella: Microsoft’s numbers are “Bull****”

Hey, Microsoft? Steve’s got nine words for you...

Ex-CEO Steve Ballmer has a huge holding of Microsoft stock. At yesterday’s shareholder meeting, he utterly tore into the company and its current CEO, Satya Nadella, loudly cursing about its financial reporting and bluntly saying a key part of its strategy “won’t work.”

Ouch. Far be it for you humble blogwatcher to repeat the actual naughty word Ballmer used. Let’s just say he was alluding to bovine excrement.

NSFW language aside, the ex-CEO seems unhappy about changes made to the Windows Phone strategy he put in place.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers settle in with some delicious popped corn. Not to mention: He loves this company...

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
[Developing story: Updated 7:26 am PST with more comment]

Let’s go fishing. Dina Bass casts this gem—Ballmer Chides Microsoft Over Cloud Revenue Disclosures:

One major Microsoft Corp. investor wasn’t the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

Microsoft reports an annualized revenue run rate...for its commercial cloud business. ... “They should report the revenue, not the run rate,” [Ballmer] said.

Ballmer said he has discussed the issue with the company and that after almost two years out of the CEO job, he can’t even guess what these numbers are.

Don’t hold back, Steve. Vlad Dudau tells us how he really feels, in Ballmer calls Microsoft's cloud numbers 'bulls---'; wants Android apps on Windows 10 Mobile:

Microsoft held a shareholder meeting yesterday. ... Ballmer, who left the company about two years ago, is still one of Microsoft’s largest shareholders and has a vested financial interest.

Revenue run rate...represents the company’s projected revenue if all things stay the same by the end of the year.

[It] obfuscate[s] shareholders’ and industry watchers’ efforts to understand how well...each of its divisions is actually doing. Or as Steve Ballmer put it, “It’s bullshit.”

The ex-CEO’s criticisms didn’t stop there. ... He went on to discuss Microsoft’s failing efforts in the mobile space. Ballmer believes...that Windows 10 Mobile needs Android apps if it is to have any chance.

It’s interesting to see one of the company’s longtime supporters, and ex-CEOs, be so openly critical.

Hey, Steve isn’t the only one who’s angry. For example, here's AngryChris:

I don't know about the rest of you but this...has my jaw on the floor.

I can't believe I'm hearing Steve Ballmer saying that Windows Phone should be running Android apps.

He was such a huge "proponent" of NIH syndrome at Microsoft.

Bowdlerize this! James Farrell gleefully reports the exact, uncensored, naughty word that Mister Ballmer used—An upset Steve Ballmer calls Microsoft’s revenue report “bull****” while criticizing Satya Nadella on Windows Phone:

Microsoft figures at its annual shareholder meeting in Bellevue, Washington. [But] Ballmer criticized the way in which those figures were reported...“They should report the revenue, not the run rate.”

In response...Microsoft’s general manager for investor relations, Chris Suh, said, “We enjoy a regular dialogue with Steve, and welcome his input and feedback, as we do from our other investors.”

Yikes. What are we to make of all this? It’s at times like this that we turn to badasscat1:

It’s kind of funny seeing the Ballmer camp trying to argue that he did much of positive note. His two biggest moves were Windows 8 and buying Nokia’s phone business, both of which turned into massive boondoggles.

I do agree with Ballmer that enticing developers to write universal apps is a tough sell [but] Ballmer’s the one who really screwed up Windows Phone. ... And without [it] one pillar of the entire Windows strategy falls.

Update: But are Ballmer’s complaints justified? Paul Thurrott dishes, in Steve Ballmer Has Some Harsh Words for the New Microsoft:

Ballmer was always plain-spoken and honest, and...apparently hasn’t changed a bit. [He] offered some overt criticisms that Microsoft should take very seriously.

Ballmer’s complaints echo complaints I’ve made about Microsoft during the Nadella era.

Microsoft reports a nebulous metric know as “run rate,” where you take a single quarter...and extrapolate that out over a year. It is, in effect, not a metric at all. ... Ballmer said he’s been complaining about this misrepresentation...since he left the firm.

It’s very clear that Microsoft’s reorganization moves under Satya Nadella hide poorly-performing businesses.

And Finally...

What’s that sound? It’s Steve Ballmer in happier times
[You’re fired -Ed.]

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.


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