The big man on campus will eventually exit the building. That’s right Steve Ballmer has announced that he will leave the company in 12 months time after the board picks a successor. We may all ask ourselves why is this happening? But, the unfortunate reality is that Microsoft has failed to capitalize and lead in smart phones, search engines, browsers, and tablets. To top all of that off, Microsoft has also had a problems with direction. The company has been stigmatized with bad messaging and restrictive products. This includes the XBOX One fiasco which initially comprised of the following: an always-on connection requirement; Kinect has to be connected to the XBOX One; no used games DRM; pricing of the system; and questionable hardware (GPU has 50% less shaders when compared to the PS4).
In addition, to those failures, another unfortunate blunder for Microsoft is Windows 8. Microsoft has faced low adoption rates and they have taken a lot of flak over the changes they have made with their new operating system. Some have praised the new Metro tablet interface, but most have found it’s place questionable on the desktop, for the interface is far from intuitive when using a mouse and keyboard. Additional complaints of may consumers also includes the lack of an option for a traditional start menu, the fact that metro takes up the whole screen, and the fact that many tasks actually take a bit longer to complete such as the basic task of shutting the computer down. Not to mention that Windows 8 is capable of launching two separate instances of the same program such as internet explorer (one desktop version and one metro version could be open at the same time and waste resources). All of this lead to consumer confusion and irate customers with many enthusiasts/PC gamers sticking to Windows 7.
Furthermore, Lenovo recently decided to include a start menu by default using a third party program called Pokki. This move by Lenovo most likely represents the backlash from the changes present in Windows 8 and confusion among their customers. Considering Lenovo is currently the number one PC retailer, this change can say a lot about Microsoft’s current UI changes in Windows 8. MS has recently started to reach out for new blood in the entertainment section by hiring a former Valve employee that worked on Steam.
So, maybe it is time for a new figure head. Many may miss Steve Ballmer, and who knows maybe he could turn Microsoft’s dilemma around within the rest of his stay. But, it could be time to pass the touch on to someone else who can drive the company into a better direction.