Science and Tech


Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer said he's leaving the board of directors and offered tips on how the company can be successful.
Posted at 7:47 PM, Aug 19, 2014

Newly-installed Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer was turned up Monday, sharing with fans his excitement for the team's future through a decibel-heavy appearance. 

"Nothing gets in our way! BOOM! Keep coming, hardcore!"

But Tuesday morning, it was all business as the former Microsoft CEO announced he's stepping down from the company's board of directors, citing his "new commitments" as the reason for his departure.  

In an open letter to current CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer wrote, "I bleed Microsoft — have for 34 years and I always will. I continue to love discussing the company’s future. ... Count on me to keep ideas and inputs flowing." 

Ballmer said teaching, civic contributions and, of course, the Clippers are going to take up his time, but the letter wasn't just a farewell. 

He also made suggestions to Nadella as to how the company can move forward and instill confidence in its shareholders. 

"Success requires moving to monetization through enterprise subscriptions, hardware gross margins, and advertising revenues. Making that change ... requires a boldness and fearlessness that I believe the management team has."

In the six months he's been CEO, Nadella has shown that boldness mentioned by Ballmer. He announced plans to layoff 18,000 employees — a decision that received mixed reviews. But in spite of that decision, it seems Nadella has left a good first impression. A tech research firm spokesperson told The New York Times“I think this is a jolt to the culture, which is really needed. It was frozen in place, and lacked new creativity and innovation.”

A PCWorld writer notes Ballmer was criticized in his last few years at Microsoft "for not responding quickly and effectively enough to the explosion in smartphone and tablet adoption, and to the popularity of cloud computing." Nadella has openly said he's interested in a culture shift and concentrating on "mobile-first and cloud-first" products. 

Ballmer worked at Microsoft for 34 years and is not completely severing his tie to the company. He is still Microsoft's largest individual shareholder and said he plans to "continue holding that position for the foreseeable future."

This video contains images from Getty Images.