It turns out that all of Ballmer’s good qualities, especially when it came to maximizing revenue and profits, were also his worst qualities, especially as the consumer market came to dominate computing. And, to Microsoft’s short-term benefit but long-term detriment, the incentives Microsoft gave its employees to achieve Ballmer’s aims choked out the sensitivity to truly understand what’s next.
A really good, succinct way to put it, I think. From a pure bottom-line perspective, Ballmer was not only not a bad CEO, he was a great one. But bottom-line thinking and managing over-emphasizes the short-term to the detriment of the long-term. And it sure seems like only now is Microsoft starting to realize the potentially catastrophic effects of this.
I have to imagine if this totally absurd situation happened, it would end up with Ballmer cribbing this quote from Gil Amelio: "You know, Apple is like a ship, that ship is loaded with treasure, but there’s a hole in the ship. And my job is to get everyone to row in the same direction."