Microsoft: Hitting Ballmer Out of the Park

The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, August 24-25, 2013

HEARD ON THE STREET: Financial Analysis & Commentary

Microsoft:  Hitting Ballmer Out of the Park

“Merely by announcing his retirement, Steve  Ballmer can more than pay for it.

Shares in Microsoft leapt more than 7% Friday when the software giant announced its chief executive will retire within 12 months.  Owning 333 million shares of Microsoft, Mr. Ballmer’s personal net worth increased by about $800 million on the news.

Microsoft needs a change in leadership.  After establishing dominance in the personal-computing market 30 years ago, the company whiffed badly on two of computing’s next three megatrends:  the internet and mobile…

Luckily, there was a third big trend where Microsoft has done just fine:  the switch from mainframes to the ‘client-server’ set-up people often use at work.  This model, whereby powerful desktop computers access data from servers somewhere else, isn’t sexy.  But in the fiscal year that ended in June, Microsoft’s Server and Tools business saw operating profit rise 13%,to $8.2 billion, nearly as much as Windows…

Mr. Ballmer will be remembered for a series of consumer missteps…Still he leaves his successor a formidable enterprise-focused business, with plenty of scope to reshape Microsoft’s business.”

Comment:  Hitting out of the park is part of a metaphorical complement from baseball;  the other is in the park.  If a baseball is hit out of the park it’s a home run.   As metaphors, out of the park is the best, but the headline seems to have two meanings: yes, Ballmer will be gone, but the stock is up, so, in a way, he and Microsoft have an out of the park hit, as Stever Ballmer’s net worth has gone up as well as Microsoft’s.


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