Steve Ballmer Makes Last Companywide Meeting as Microsoft CEO Memorable

Image: Steve Ballmer Makes Last Companywide Meeting as Microsoft CEO Memorable

Friday, 27 Sep 2013 05:36 PM

By Robin Farmer

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Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft chief executive officer known for energetic and unique presentations, made sure thousands of employees remembered his last company meeting Thursday.

Ballmer, who is retiring soon, bade farewell with pumping rock music, animated dancing and a tear-stained face, Reuters reported.

"I believe in you, I believe in the mission," an emotional Ballmer told employees. "We've been a great company for years. We will be a great company for many more years."

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About 13,000 employees watched Ballmer live for the last time at the KeyArena in Seattle while another estimated 25,000 tuned in via webcast. Among the songs blaring was Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin,” which he played at the first annual meeting he held in 1983, Business Insider reported.

“I want to say thank you … this isn't about any one person,” Ballmer said, according to The Verge. “It's about a company that's important, that's forward thinking, that's innovative."

Ballmer’s presentations were legendary.

“I saw him present 7 years in a row,” wrote former Microsoft employee Kevin Lisota in a guest commentary on geekwire.com. “Some years were pure awesome, like when he came up from under the stage in a black trench coat and sunglasses, dressed as Neo from 'The Matrix.' Other years were bizarre head-scratchers, like when he sang an inspirational song from the musical 'Pippin.' Regardless, his enthusiasm was nothing but authentic. He put all of his emotions out there and never left a doubt about how much he loved the company.”

Reuters reported that Ballmer poked at rivals by saying that Apple is about being "fashionable," Amazon.com is about being "cheap," Google is about "knowing more." Microsoft, he said, is about "doing more."

Ballmer announced his decision to retire within 12 months in August.

Online reaction posted on The Verge article was mixed.

“I don’t think there will be anyone more enthusiastic than Ballmer,” wrote one commenter. “He did well for his time at Microsoft. The company and who ever will take his place, have been set up for an upward trajectory.”

Wrote another: “I just can’t ignore all the missed opportunities, me-too catch-up also-rans, poor execution, and arrogant shortsightedness, all while sitting on a mountain of cash from their glory days.

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Related stories:

Microsoft Needs a Game Changer — Fast!

Microsoft to Buy Nokia Phones, Patents for $7.2 Billion

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