Steve Ballmer - Microsoft


Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980, and became Microsoft's 30th employee, the first business manager hired by Gates.

Ballmer was initially offered a salary of $50,000 as well as a percentage of ownership of the company. When Microsoft was incorporated in 1981, Ballmer owned 8 percent of the company. During the subsequent 20 years, Ballmer headed several Microsoft divisions, including operations, operating systems development, and sales and support. In January 2000, he was officially named Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, Ballmer handled company finances, however Gates still retained control of the "technological vision". He served as President of Microsoft from July 1998 to February 2001, having previously served as Executive Vice President, Sales and Support since February 1992. Ballmer led Microsoft's development of the .NET Framework.

In 2003, Ballmer sold 8.3% of his shareholdings, leaving him with a 4% stake in the company. The same year, Ballmer replaced Microsoft's employee stock options program.

In 2009, and for the first time since Bill Gates left Microsoft as full-time chairman, Ballmer made the opening keynote at CES.

In May 2012, hedge fund manager David Einhorn called on Ballmer to step down as CEO of Microsoft. "His continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock," Einhorn said in reference to Ballmer.

In a May 2012 column in Forbes magazine, Adam Hartung described Ballmer as "the worst CEO of a large publicly traded American company", saying he had "steered Microsoft out of some of the fastest growing and most lucrative tech markets (mobile music, handsets and tablets)".

On June 19, 2012 Ballmer revealed Microsoft's new tablet device called Microsoft Surface at an event held in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Ballmer has also served as director of Accenture Ltd. and a general partner of Accenture SCA since October 2001.

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