Steve Ballmer: A Profile

Published On: 14 Mar 2011

 | Last Updated On: 22 Mar 2011

Born on March 24, 1956 in Michigan in USA, Steve Ballmer is the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Corporation since January 2000. As of 2010, he is one of the richest people in the world with a personal wealth estimated at US$14.5 billion. 


In 1973, he graduated from Detroit Country Day School, a private college preparatory school in Beverly Hills, Michigan, and now sits on its board of directors. In 1977, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a B.A. in mathematics and economics. He then worked for two years as an assistant product manager at Procter & Gamble, where he shared an office with Jeffrey R. Immelt, who later became CEO of General Electric. In 1980, he dropped out of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business to join Microsoft.


Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980, and became Microsoft's 30th employee, the first business manager hired by Gates. Ballmer loved working at Microsoft. He 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. He has headed several divisions within Microsoft including "Operating Systems Development", "Operations", 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". 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 ever, he made the opening keynote at CES, since Bill Gates left Microsoft as full-time chairman. 


Ballmer is known for his energetic and over-the-top behavior. For example, Ballmer's flamboyant stage appearances at Microsoft events are widely circulated on the Internet as viral videos. Another video, captured at a developers' conference, features Steve Ballmer chanting the word "developers".


Together with Gates and the company’s other business and technical leaders, Ballmer is focused on continuing Microsoft’s innovation and leadership across the company’s seven businesses. Microsoft’s goal is to provide an integrated platform to enable a seamless experience across a wide range of computing and non-PC devices and services. Variously described as ebullient, focused, funny, passionate, sincere, hard-charging and dynamic, Ballmer has infused Microsoft with his own brand of energetic leadership, vision and spirit over the years.

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