Your question for Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, “captured the lede in the Seattle Times,” a Seattle Rotary Club member e-mailed me.
Not only was the story on the front page of the Times on June 30, it was the most read story out of the paper’s top 10 online business stories last week.
What exactly was my question for Ballmer at the Seattle Rotary Club on June 29?
“Thank you for being here, Steve. Recently, I read somewhere … someone suggested, ‘It’s time for Microsoft to change its CEO. Steve Ballmer needs to go.’ What’s your reaction to that?”
It’s the first time Ballmer addressed the issue, which hedge fund manager David Einhorn raised at a May conference.
Now, some audience members thought I was being gutsy in asking the question.
But I didn’t even know he hadn’t responded to the issue yet. I simply needed answers having to do with the future of Microsoft. Many investors have a lot of money in Microsoft.
Ballmer’s reply, “You tell me if I lack energy or conviction or we’re not driving all the change we need to drive.” The guy does have a lot of energy when he speaks.
Hey, dude, running Microsoft is not about having enough energy or conviction — that goes without saying — it is about leadership for vision and implementation. The inadequate reply would not have satisfied shareholders, some audience members told me. ♦