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.

jbennet 1,618

bring back bill!

we need strong leadership to fix windows again

In my opinion, it is Yang who will be feeling the heat. Ballmer has said in his letter to Yang that he will not go ahead with the hostile takeover threat. Stocks of Yahoo rose in anticipation of a takeover from Microsoft. Now that Microsoft has walked away, it will be interesting how the shareholders of Yahoo will react after the stock value falls.

Thanks for the comment, WolfPack. In my experience, stock prices generally rise when an acquisition bid offers a premium over the stock price at the time, which was certainly the case here. IMHO, Yahoo is under no pressure to sell (as evidenced by its holding out for a few dollars more), and Yang is firmly in the drivers seat.

To jbennet- I'm no huge fan of Gates, but I respect and admire him a lot more than I do Ballmer. However, I believe that to fix Windows Microsoft would have to bring on someone more like Steve Jobs. :)

What you say about the stock prices rising is certainly true. And Yahoo WAS not under any pressure to sell. But from the shareholders point of view, the stock prices that could have been higher are lower, and Yahoo still has some serious catching up to do with Google. So something must be done by Yang to convince the shareholders that he has something up his sleeve for Yahoo's future. Unless he can do that, his days in the driving seat will be over very soon. Let's wait and see. :)

I have no particular liking on Ballmer either. He is not a programmer and I do not believe in non-programmers having the technological vision on running software companies successfully. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and to some extent Jerry Yang do, but not Ballmer. But in a business point of view, I do not see any face lost on Microsoft or Ballmer because of this failed acquisition bid. Going ahead on the hostile takeover would have.