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Steve Ballmer

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Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

Steven Anthony Ballmer (born March 24, 1956) is the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft since January 2000. Ballmer is the first person ever to become a (US dollar) billionaire based on stock options received as an employee in a corporation of which neither he nor a relative was the founder. In 2004, Forbes ranked him the 19th richest person in the world with an estimated wealth of $12.4 billion.

Contents

Biography

Steven Ballmer was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father Frederick Ballmer was a Swiss immigrant and mother Beatrice Dworkin, a Jewish American woman. He grew up with his younger sister in Farmington Hills near Detroit, where his father worked as a manager at Ford Motor Company.

Even as he studied in the Detroit Country Day School, he was the manager of the school's basketball team. In 1973, he graduated from school with a grade point average of 4.0 and was the valedictorian of his class. He scored a perfect 800 on the math SATs and got a scholarship to Harvard University by competing in math tournaments. In the freshman year, a close friendship developed between Ballmer and his dorm mate Bill Gates, which continued even after Bill Gates dropped out from Harvard and started his own software company. At Harvard, Steve Ballmer was the advertising manager for The Harvard Crimson and The Harvard Advocate. In 1977, He graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard.

He worked for two years at Procter & Gamble Co. as an assistant product manager and then joined Stanford Graduate School of Business to get an MBA degree but only to drop out of it a year later when Bill Gates invited him to work in his company. Ballmer joined Microsoft as a business manager and eventually got promoted to become the CEO of Microsoft in January 2000. Ballmer married Connie Snyder (a Microsoft employee herself) in 1990 and has three sons. The 1999 docudrama Pirates of Silicon Valley featured Ballmer as a major character; he was played by actor John Di Maggio.

Steve Ballmer at Microsoft

Ballmer is the longest-serving employee of Microsoft. Ballmer became the 24th employee of Microsoft on June 11, 1980 as the first business manager hired by Bill Gates. He was initially offered $50,000 as salary and some percentage of ownership in the company. When Microsoft was incorporated in 1981, Ballmer held 8% ownership of the company. Ballmer has headed several divisions within Microsoft such as Operating Systems Development, Operations, and Sales and Support. In July 1998, he was promoted to president and in January 13, 2000 he was named the CEO when Bill Gates stepped down from the role. While Gates handles the technological vision, Ballmer handles the company's finances. In 2003, Ballmer sold 8.3% of his shareholding leaving him with around a 4% stake in the company. The same year, Ballmer ended the Microsoft stock-options program that he himself was instrumental in setting up in the early 90s that made so many of its employees millionaires.

Personality

Steve Ballmer can be so zealous in expressing his enthusiasm that once his vocal cords required surgery after he screamed "Windows, Windows, Windows" continuously at a Japan meeting in 1991. When Microsoft celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2000, CEO Ballmer popped out of the anniversary cake to surprise the audience. His wild screaming and dancing on stage at an employees convention was caught on a widely-circulated video known as "Dance Monkeyboy." [1] (http://www.ntk.net/ballmer/mirrors.html) A few days later at a developers conference, a sweat-soaked Ballmer repeatedly chanted "developers" at least 14 times in front of the bemused gathering. Beyond his jovial image, this second cousin of famous comedian Gilda Radner is known to be a shrewd businessman with a flair to grab opportunities when they come.

Ballmer has also called Linux "communism" and "a cancer". He advocates Digital rights management and has said that "DRM is the future."

Unauthorised Biography

Bad Boy Ballmer : The Man Who Rules Microsoft (2002), Fredric Alan Maxwell, ISBN 0066210143

External links

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