CyberNotes
Microsoft Monday




When you hear the word Microsoft, who do you associate with it? For myself, I automatically think Bill Gates. Without Bill Gates there wouldn’t be Microsoft but there’s another person who, at this point is just as important as Bill Gates. His name is Steven Ballmer and while you’ve probably heard his name used here or there (especially with this whole acquisition thing going on with Yahoo), you probably don’t know a whole lot about him. Today we thought we’d give you a better idea of who Steve Ballmer is and what his role is at Microsoft. While he became CEO of Microsoft in January of 2000 and he certainly knows business, he also has a pretty wild and crazy side which we’ll talk about as well.

To get started on his early years, let’s first take a look at a commercial that aired a long time ago in which Ballmer was trying to sell Windows 1.0 (which launched in 1985). It’ll give you a good idea of what a quirky guy he can be.

The Early Days…

Steve Ballmer originally joined Microsoft back in 1980 before the launch of Windows 1.0.  At the time, Bill Gates brought him on to be the very first business manager of the company. Since then he’s had roles like manager of operation, manager of operating systems development, and manager of sales and support. In 1998 he was promoted to President and then finally in January of 200, he was named CEO.

Before Ballmer joined Microsoft…

  • he was born March 24, 1956
  • grew up near Detroit Michigan
  • in 1977 he graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics
  • before starting at Microsoft, he dropped out from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business

I Love this Company…

Steve Ballmer has a love for Microsoft that no one else has. It’s a love strong enough to get him to “go crazy” on the stage before a presentation given to Microsoft employees. The way he danced across the stage in the video below is absolutely crazy and eventually the video was titled “Dance Monkeyboy.”

In the comments for this video on YouTube, I noticed someone say “I’d dance like that too if I was rich like him” which leads us to our next topic… money.

Ranked the 43rd Richest Person…

The Forbes 2008 World’s Richest People list has come out and Ballmer is ranked 43rd on that list with an estimated wealth of $15 billion.

Here are some interesting facts about his cash compensation for Microsoft’s Fiscal Year ending June 2007:

  • Annual salary was $620,000
  • Bonus for FY 2007 was $650,000
  • $9,821 was earned through stock options
  • Total annual cash income was around $1,270,000

About his Family…

Ballmer’s Dad was originally from Switzerland but immigrated to the United States when he was 23. In 2006, Steve received an honorary citizenship of Lausen, Switzerland where is dad was originally from.

Like Gates, Ballmer met his wife at Microsoft.  She was working in the public relations department and they eventually married and have three children.

His Office…

I found this picture posted on the website for The New York Times.  Apparently this is what his office looks like…

ballmers office

For the CEO of Microsoft, his office is on the small side or “low-key”, wouldn’t you say? Although, he’s probably hardly in the office to make it worth giving him a larger one.

Other Interesting Facts…

  • As CEO, Ballmer handles finances of the company
  • He’s crazy about developers as you’ll see in the video below…
  • Quoting from Wikipedia… “On March 6, 2008 Seattle’s Mayor announced that a local ownership group involving Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a “game changing” commitment to invest $150 million in cash towards a $300 million renovation of Key Arena and are ready to purchase the Seattle Supersonics in order to keep them in the City of Seattle. [13] Ballmer would join fellow Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen (owner of the Portland Trailblazers) as an NBA owner.”

Developers, Developers, Developers…

Steve Ballmer has a lot of love for Developers. The video below is one of the most popular ones of him on YouTube:

Developers Part 2

At Mix 08′ this year, an audience member requested that Ballmer show some love for web developers in particular, since he’s always talking about “developers.” This is part 2:

Wrapping it up…

One of Ballmer’s most recent interviews with Guy Kawasaki at Mix 08′ really shows off his personality and what he really thinks of the MacBook Air. Ryan and I both watched the entire interview and really enjoyed it, but the segment about the MacBook Air and Vista was probably the best part. Take a look for yourself:

After putting together this article about Steve Ballmer, we realized just what a dedicated guy he is to Microsoft. We also realized that he’s done a ton of work for the company. Within the next year as Bill Gates completes his transition away from Microsoft, we’ll probably be seeing and hearing even more from Ballmer who undoubtedly gives some pretty energetic presentations and life to the company.