My satirical look at what Ballmer's retirement announcement to Microsoft employees should have looked liked:
To: All Staff
From: Steve Ballmer
I am writing to let you know that I will retire as CEO of Microsoft within the next 12 months, after the next sucker is chosen. There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but I figure after screwing up the company for more than a decade, now was as a good time as any. That and the fact the board basically forced me into it, but I figured it would look better to "retire" than be booted out after more than 20 years of service.
Regrets, I've had a few, but then again too few to mention. Oh heck, actually I have a bunch of them and why wouldn't I after watching the company stumble and bumble under my watch for 13 years from one failed project to the next.
Hey as one of Microsoft's largest shareholders, I have to admit I was ready to fire me too. I considered stepping aside after The Zune. I mean that was a disaster from Day One, but Bill liked the idea, so what I could I do? Sure, I screwed up the release of Windows 8, the Windows phone and the Surface hasn't gone as well as I hoped -- alright we're giving them away to schools sales are so dismal --but hey the XBox is selling really well.
Please don't make me talk about Microsoft stores. I know they're empty and nobody shops there.
But I'm proud of this company. It's an amazing place, at least it was when Bill ran it and forced manufacturers to buy Windows. But hey, my company didn't get sued by The Justice Department under my watch. We can be proud of that.
Sure it's emotional to be leaving after 20 years, but I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams in spite of a dismal performance doing my job, so what do I have to complain about? As for you employees, many of you will probably be laid off during the transition and the company will never be the same, no matter who takes over, but you have nobody to blame but yourselves for making crappy products nobody wanted to buy.
So what if I lacked the vision thing? Did I mention I'm rich?
I would like to tell you that I'll be all in for the transition, but that would be a lie. I've actually already checked out. I don't even show up at the office most days.
I would like to leave you with some kind and calming words to get you through this change, but I really got nothing. So I'll leave you with a Douglas Adams quote instead, "So long and thanks for all the fish."
~StevePhoto Credit: Kevin Krejci on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license.