Anyone who describes outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s tenure as a “failure” is wrong. An annualized growth rate of 16 percent in a large, established company, selling into mature markets, is nothing to scoff at. Revenue tripled under his leadership; profits doubled. That’s some failure.
It’s also not the case that Ballmer was simply riding high on the Windows and Office monopolies he inherited. They played a part, certainly, but they’re not the whole story. During Ballmer’s time as CEO, Microsoft Dynamics (its suite of CRM and ERP software) went from non-existent to a billion-dollar-a-year business. So too did SharePoint. So did Xbox. So did the System Center suite. So did Lync (formerly Office Communicator). So did Office 365. So did the Windows Azure cloud platform.
Concurrent with this, established products such as Windows Server, Exchange Server, and SQL Server continued to show strong growth. This growth includes the introduction of new features such as Hyper-V that have enabled Microsoft to go toe-to-toe with market leader VMware.
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