If there is a secret coup brewing to get rid of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, its now the worst-kept secret in America.
The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that a group of executives has grown increasingly resentful of Ballmer whom they blame for the software giants stagnant stock prices and is planning to oust Ballmer. The report comes a day after Ballmer was brought close to tears during a tribute to him at this weeks annual Microsoft Global Experience in Atlanta.
It felt like it could have been a sign of his last [Microsoft Global Experience], an executive insider told The Daily Beast.
To be sure, Ballmer is on the list of mega-executives under pressure, a banker whos negotiated deals for Microsoft told The Daily Beast. If he was asked to leave the building, I suspect there would be more happy than unhappy people.”
Thats because Microsofts stock has remained in the mid-$20s for years, despite some important deals such as the search pact with Yahoo! and the new Xbox release, as well as the Vista-killing Windows 7 operating system. And even though Microsofts revenue has soared under Ballmers watch, share prices remain disappointing. Plus, the Redmond, Wash.-based company has had its share of technological embarrassments. It just shut down KIN smartphone sales, after a mere 48 days on the market, has failed to compete solidly against Google with the Bing search engine, and cant come close to iPod mania with its own MP3 player, the Zune. As one well-known tech CEO, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Daily Beast, Microsoft is irrelevant down in Silicon Valley.
But kicking Ballmer to the curb would be a daunting task. Microsofts board stands behind its man without question and there is no obvious person to succeed him.
Microsoft is scheduled to report its quarterly earnings later today.