I’ve never liked Steve Ballmer very much as president of Microsoft. I don’t know the man personally, of course, and I could never quite put my finger on my reasons for disliking him. Until today, that is, when I read an Associated Press story that included allegations that the Microsoft CEO once said he wants to “kill Google.”
If I heard about the quote—from which I’ve removed an obscenity—in Sept., 2005, when he supposedly said it, I must have forgotten, because it came as news to me. And it seemed to epitomize my disdain for the man who in some circles has come to be known as Monkey Boy for a ridiculous-looking dance he once did on stage at a Microsoft employee meeting.
Competitive zeal is one thing, but to publicly vilify a competitor is simply unprofessional. And for it to come from the president and CEO of a company that has behaved as badly as Microsoft is laughable. As Microsoft’s marketer-in-chief, Ballmer certainly doesn’t put himself or Microsoft in a very good light with this kind of bravado.
And now Monkey Boy is engaged in more chest-beating with the latest wrinkle in his ruthless fervor to acquire Yahoo. Having his US$42 billion cash and stock offer rebuffed, Ballmer is now faced with the decision of walking away (and losing face) or mounting a hostile takeover.
My guess would be the latter, and my hope would be for it to fail. Because in my opinion, it would probably be best for Microsoft, which has remained a distant third in search advertising despite unlimited resources, not get its hands on Yahoo. The man who allegedly referred to Google as a “house of cards” obviously lacks an understanding of how to build and sustain this type of business, and could himself bring about the collapse of Yahoo.