Success Story of Steve Ballmer: How He Transformed Microsoft into a Global Powerhouse

Success Story of Steve Ballmer

The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential. – Steve Ballmer

 Steve Ballmer the man who transformed Microsoft

Steve Ballmer is one of the names that is very popular due to his pivotal role in the enormous growth of Microsoft. Microsoft is an American computer technology corporation that was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975. Steve Ballmer became the CEO of Microsoft in January 2000 and remained until February 2014. During his tenure as CEO, there were many developments that took place. The Harvard graduate is one of the most influential CEOs to run a technological company with his leadership, vision, and innovation. Steve Balmer was the first business manager of Microsoft, which was just a start-up at the time. Steve Balmer, with a net worth of $126.7 billion, is currently the 10th richest person in the world.

Education and early life

Steve was born on March 24, 1956, in Michigan, to Frederic Henry Ballmer and Beatrice Dworkin. His father, Frederic, was a manager at Ford Motor Company. He was raised in a middle-class Jewish family. Steve was his class valedictorian at Detroit Country Day School. He was a very intelligent child and scored 790 on his SAT. He pursued a bachelor of arts in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard University in 1977. He graduated as magna cum laude. He worked at Procter & Gamble as a product manager for two years. Eventually, he attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business to pursue an MBA, but he dropped out in 1980.

Microsoft and Steve

While studying at Stanford, he was invited by Bill Gates, his former Harvard classmate, to join Microsoft. Here, he became the first business manager and the 30th employee of the company. He was initially offered a 10% stake in Microsoft and a salary of $50,000. His share was eventually reduced to 8% in 1981 after the incorporation of Microsoft. He eventually sold his 4% share for $955 million and was later left with 4% ownership of the company in 1992. He was promoted to executive vice president of sales and support at Microsoft. In July 1998, he became the President of Microsoft, and on January 13, 2000, Steve Balmer was officially selected as the CEO of the company. Steve was the one who hired Brian Kevin Turner to be Microsoft’s chief operating officer. In 2012, Steve was responsible for the acquisition of Skype by Microsoft. During his tenure as CEO, Microsoft’s annual revenue increased from $25 billion to $70 billion. He was also responsible for creating a dozen new products, such as Xbox, Microsoft Exchange, Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint, dynamic CRM, etc. It was during his period at Microsoft as CEO that Microsoft focused on technologies such as smart screens, wristbands, smartphones, etc. In 2012, Microsoft introduced its first tablet, the Microsoft Surface, and in 2013, Microsoft purchased Nokia’s mobile phone division. He remained the CEO of Microsoft until 2014. Later, on February 4, 2014, Satya Nadella succeeded him and became the next CEO.


Steve Ballmer married Connie Snyder in 1990 and has three sons. He and his wife believe highly in philanthropic work. Together, they had donated $50,000 to the University of Oregon. Due to their strong belief in supporting the education system, he donated $60 million to Harvard University’s computer science department in 2014. Later on, he also donated around $25 million to fund a new institute for children’s behavioral health at the University of Oregon in 2022. He and his wife co-founded the Ballmer Group, which was aimed at helping children, especially those from poor economic backgrounds.


Even though he transformed Microsoft into a global powerhouse, he faced various criticisms, from being added to the list of the top 10 worst CEOs by the BBC in 2013 to being listed on the Forbes list of five CEOs who should have already been fired in 2012. Still, with all of this, no one can deny his monumental contribution to the growth and development of Microsoft.


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