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Ballmer worst CEO of US public company: Forbes

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is the worst chief executive of any public company in the US, the Forbes website claims.

In an article titled "Five CEOs who should already have been fired", the site puts Ballmer at the head of a queue that also comprises the heads of Sears Holding (Edward Lampert), Walmart (Mike Duke), GE (Jeffrey Immelt) and Cisco (John Chambers).

Writer Adam Hartung does not mince his words; his opening sentence about Ballmer reads: "Without a doubt, Mr. Ballmer is the worst CEO of a large publicly traded American company today."

As evidence, he cites the fact that Microsoft's stock has now fallen to a value in the low $US30s, from a high of $US60 in the year 2000.

Ballmer, he says, has singlehandedly been responsible for guiding Microsoft out of the biggest growing and most lucrative markets - mobile music, handsets and tablets.

Not just Microsoft, Hartung said, Ballmer had also endangered the fortunes of other companies like Dell, Nokia and HP which are part of the same ecosystem.

Windows Vista, the biggest screw-up by any technology company, was launched on Ballmer's watch.

Now, says Hartung, Ballmer has bet the company's entire future on one technology - Windows 8. And he says the future of HP, Dell and Nokia, not to mention a host of other companies, also rests on this decision.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.