Steve Ballmer has stepped down as a board member of Microsoft.
“Microsoft has been my life’s work and I am proud of that and excited by what I see in front of the company and this leadership team,” the former CEO wrote in an open letter to Satya Nadella, who took over from Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft earlier this year. “There are challenges ahead but the opportunities are even larger. No company in the world has the mix of software skills, cloud skills, and hardware skills we have assembled. We draw talent as well as any company in the world. We have the profitability to invest in long-term opportunities and still deliver superior shorter term performance.
“Writing great software is a tremendous accomplishment and selling software has been a fabulous business,” Ballmer continued. “In the mobile-first, cloud-first world, software development is a key skill, but success requires moving to monetisation through enterprise subscriptions, hardware gross margins, and advertising revenues. Making that change while also managing the existing software business well requires a boldness and fearlessness that I believe the management team has. Our board must also support and encourage that fearlessness for shareholders to get the best performance from Microsoft.”
Ballmer recently hit the headlines following his purchase of the LA Clippers NBA basketball franchise. The 58-year-old confirmed that due to new commitments such as teaching and the beginning of the NBA season, his departure from the Microsoft board would be effective immediately.
“I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time,” he said. “I have confidence in our approach of mobile-first, cloud-first, and in our primary innovation emphasis on platforms and productivity and the building of capability in devices and services as core business drivers. I hold more Microsoft shares than anyone other than index funds and love the mix of profits, investments and dividends returned in our stock. I expect to continue holding that position for the foreseeable future.”
Nadella, who took over the role of Microsoft CEO in February, replied saying: “Thank you for all of your support during my transition this year and for the past 34 years. It’s been a great privilege to have worked with you and learned from you. Under your leadership, we created an incredible foundation that we continue to build on — and Microsoft will thrive in the mobile-first, cloud-first world.”
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