After months of speculation about whether Microsoft's CEO should be shown the door, Steve Ballmer has finally addressed the issue publicly. And his fiery denunciation of the idea should leave no doubts as to his opinion.
Ballmer was directly asked what he thought about public calls for his ouster. But the question came from an unexpected place: a Seattle Rotary Club meeting on Wednesday, where Ballmer gave a short talk and answered some questions. Waiting for some nervous laughter to subside, Ballmer adopted his infamous booming delivery and responded, "YOU TELL ME if I lack energy or conviction, or we're not driving all the change we need to drive!" This declaration was met by loud applause.
Ballmer also provided a clue to the software giant's coming annual revenues announcement (the company's fiscal year ends today), underscoring why he feels he's doing a great job. "There's a reason why we'll do almost $70 billion in revenue this year, and we'll make over $20-whatever, $26-27 billion in profits. There are reasons. We made the right bets and we're making the bets for the future."
In Microsoft's previous fiscal year, the company delivered $62.5 billion in revenues and $18.8 billion in profits. So those figures, if accurate, represent a major year-over-year improvement, given the maturity of Microsoft's business. Microsoft will announce its FY and FQ4 financials on July 21.
In a related exchange at the same gathering, another questioner asked Ballmer how important Windows 8 was to the future of the company. "How important is it?" he repeated. "We increasingly are only working on things that are actually very important. The day and age of idle, smaller things [at Microsoft] is a little bit behind us. We're putting more energy behind fewer things than we have historically."If you cut me open and saw what was inside," he continued, "[It's] Windows. Windows. Windows. Windows. Our company was born on the back of Windows. Windows underpins a huge percentage of all of our success, all of our profitability, all of the important things that we do. So, how important is it? 'Very' would be a very fair answer."