Steve Ballmer is emerging as the key operations man at Microsoft, after taking full credit for the firm?s restructuring scheme - and without a word of contradiction from his boss, Bill Gates.
Ballmer said the restructuring resulted from his evaluation of Microsoft?s internal operations, a task he undertook on becoming president of Microsoft last July (see related story). The executive is a 42 year old Harvard graduate, who joined the company in 1980 and is credited with building up its sales operation.
When he was promoted eight months ago, Microsoft announced that one of his tasks would be to increase the software giant?s customer focus, but few suspected at the time that this would lead to a complete reworking of its structure.
Ballmer is now believed to have taken over much of Microsoft?s day to day management, however, with Bill Gates taking on an increasingly background role as a technology strategist and company visionary.
According to Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group, the new Microsoft structure further reinforces Ballmer?s position. "I think he?s more in control now. The team is in large part hand picked by him," he said.
And he believes that Gates is, in fact, relinquishing control. "I think Gates realised that he wasn?t the right person for the next phase of the company. That?s quite unique," he added.
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