Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fake Steve Jobs on Real Steve Balmer

FSJ may be fake, but his insights are real. Here's his take on the Microhoo! buyup plan. Brilliant.

[...] here's the really dark part of all this. He knows it won't work. He has to know this. He's not stupid. The cultures will never fit together. And the deal is too big. It's not manageable. And it's completely anathema to Microsoft. It's totally out of character for them. It goes against everything the company has ever stood for. Ballmer knows this, and he's doing it anyway. Because this is exactly what every old-guard CEO does when all else fails. I mean it's right there in the official playbook that you get in business school. And ultimately, smart as he is, Ballmer is an old-school kind of guy. He's not really a tech guy. He has a mindset that was formed in Detroit, where he grew up. He's a Big Three automaker kind of guy. And this is a Big Three move. It's Ford buying Jaguar and Land Rover and Volvo because they can't think of anything else to do.

So if the deal happens -- and I'm not convinced it will -- Ballmer will have bought himself maybe two years before it becomes clear to the entire world that it has failed. By then maybe Ballmer will be gone and someone else will have to mop up the mess. [...]

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