Is Mr. Ballmer Preparing To Exit, Stage Left?

That’s what several articles are asking this morning. It is an interesting thing to ponder, for those that want to see the course of Microsoft change, like me, or simply want to see how much actual control Ballmer exerted on the movements of Microsoft.

The story in InfoWorld begins with the opener -

Steve Ballmer recently sold $1.3 billion in Microsoft stock and has filed to sell another $700 million, sparking talk that he is following Bill Gates’ exit strategy and preparing to leave Microsoft.

But right after relating that the motivation given by Ballmer himself is purely financial, as a move to save himself money in taxes, we are given the word that this, other than spelling out a tax advantage, was exactly the method used by Bill Gates as he began his move away from Microsoft.

The difference is that Gates had a life of philanthropy waiting for him after Microsoft, and we knew that. Ballmer seems to have nothing, other than the possible full time job of counting his money.

What’s the man going to do? Where will he hold court so that people can see the Monkeyboy dance?

The article also mentions that Ballmer might be leaving partly due to the fact that with Mr. Ozzie gone, the line to the top spot at Microsoft would be cleared of the candidate that Gates had more or less given the seal of approval. The succession would now move along the lines that Ballmer decided, which might be Steve Sinofsky.

The possible move, for a person watching from the sidelines can be very exciting. I would like to see what happens right after Ballmer leaves, because I believe that it could only be good things. I believe that Ballmer is solely focussed on the bottom line, and if he could put out a service pack once a year, call it the next version of Windows, and get people to buy it, he would be satisfied completely.

What I want to se is a visionary, and to be completely honest, one that has the vision I do, which is one of Windows that doesn’t put the lid on a version that is still viable, as Windows XP was, when they decided to leave it behind. The rumors for a couple for years have been to decouple (once again) the enterprise and the standard desktop, as it was once before.

Though that is more work, I believe it is a very good idea. I’d also like to see things get prodded along by a perfectionist at the helm, which has never happened, as anyone ever using Windows can attest to.

I realize these are lofty goals, and probably won’t happen, but if Mr. Ballmer can do the Monkeyboy dance without being pulled of the stage, I should be allowed my dreams, too, right?