Ballmer threatened to quit if Microsoft Board did not back his pursuit of Nokia

Ballmer’s relations with the board hit a low when he shouted at a June meeting that if he didn’t get his way he couldn’t be CEO, people briefed on the meeting said. The flare-up was over his proposed purchase of most of Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), and part of an ongoing debate: Should Microsoft be a software company or a hardware company too?

Several directors and co-founder and then-Chairman Bill Gates — Ballmer’s longtime friend and advocate — initially balked at the move into making smartphones, according to people familiar with the situation. So, at first, did Nadella, signaling his position in a straw poll to gauge executives’ reaction to the deal. Nadella later changed his mind.

This is certainly not the first clash Ballmer had with the Microsoft Board, but it had to be a contributing factor to the splintering of that relationship.



  • James Hughes

    And they didn’t let him????

  • willo

    Nadella might be a great visionary and leader, but Ballers mistakes destroyed the Windows franchises and which I believe is beyond repair at this point.

    When a soccer team manager sells the best players, and the team starts losing – they fire the old manager and hires a new one but the “new team” still loses because it´s now full of B-players. In order for Nadella to save the team, he has to come up with a new winning team. In a sense he has to come up with another success story as Windows, and quite frankly that is highly unlikely to happen.

    • SockRolid

      And Xbox won’t be that success story. As a legacy, non-mobile, living room-anchored entertainment device, it will never generate enough revenue to prop up the company.

  • SockRolid

    I can imagine the Board discussing Ballmer’s outburst:

    “Better to let him have his way. It’ll look bad if he quits. We’ll kick him out later. On our own terms. After all, it’s what Wall Street expects.”

  • Winski

    They should have FIRED Bomber 10 years ago. Microshaft may have had a chance to survive, but no longer… So, good for Bomber AND Microshaft. They BOTH go down in a sheathing lump of trash.

  • Faye Gazave

    It might have been his only smart move. I just got a Dell Venue 8 Pro to use for an application port from a netbook to a tablet (touch experience). WOW, the first thing you notice is the crappy display. Maybe if they had control of the hardware, they would be motivated to fix the glaring shortcomings of Windows 8.X.