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The king is dead, long live Microsoft

© August 2013 Anthony Lawrence


So, Ballmer is (wink, wink) "retiring".

Yeah, right. He's done his job and is going out on a high note, having successfully shepherded Microsoft through the ascent of tablets.

Microsoft has never been in a stronger position as eager consumers snap up their new offerings. In addition to the obvious success of the multi-faceted and highly profitable "Surface" line of tablets, Windows 8 has been a resounding winner, applauded unanimously by both technical writers and ordinary users. Sales are literally through the roof and I'm sure Mr. Ballmer is basking in the warm glow of satisfaction that comes from a job well done.

He says he's retiring, but I doubt it. The razor sharp mind responsible for raising Microsoft even higher that any of us could imagine will not be satisfied lolling around a golf course complaining about the damn Democrats. No, he will surely want to take on new challenges and find yet another company on the verge of failure and resurrect it to glory as he did with Microsoft after Bill Gates was stripped of his crown and tossed to the streets.

There are other struggling companies where Ballmer's magic touch might bring back the gold. Of course Apple and Google spring immediately to mind. Once household words, Microsoft's ascendancy in the past decade has reduced them to ghostly shells, impotent and seemingly without hope. Imagine if Steve were to take the reins at either of those companies and infused their pathetic "me too!" development philosophy with new life. Imagine the products that we might see!

But would he do that? Aside from the real possibility of a non-compete agreement, would Steve want to do anything to tarnish the magnificent edifice he is leaving behind at Microsoft?

Perhaps not. Perhaps Steve-o (he likes being called that) will turn his hand to public service as Bill did? But there he would be competing with Bill and I'm not sure the world is ready for so much creative innovation. Bill unleashed a swarm of mosquitos on an unsuspecting audience; perhaps Steve could wheel Ebola victims into the aisles or release a swarm of hungry crocodiles? I'm sure the man who envisioned Surface has much better ideas, of course!

Or maybe public service is in Stevie's future? Little Stevie goes to Washington is not a movie title yet, but it could be someday. Imagine how much better off we'd be with Steve as our leader, copying other countries laws, threatening with lawyers rather than bombs.. the possibilities are unimaginable.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Steve is satified with his myriad accomplishments. He may not have been the one to envision Microsoft Bob or Clippy, but he presided over equally world-changing innovation at Microsoft. Remember Longhorn? That was on Steve's watch. How about the beloved Vista that made so many of us willing to give up XP? Again, that was under Steve's guiding hands, and of course everyone knows of his involvement with the shining jewel of Win 8.

Maybe that's enough. Maybe Steve can retire and be happy.

Bask in your glory, Steve, You have certainly earned your place in our hearts!

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-> The king is dead, long live Microsoft

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