To be fair, Steve Ballmer is a very rich man. Hanging around Microsoft for 34 years tends to enhance personal wealth. Ballmer has more Microsoft stock than co-founder Bill Gates. So, why should Apple hire this man?
Can’t Count, Can’t See
There are plenty of reasons why no technology company would hire Steve Ballmer. There are even more reasons why Apple would not hire anyone of his ilk.
For example, the recently deposed Ballmer says Microsoft has had two and a half tricks during his term at the company.
One was the Windows and Office duopoly. The second was Windows Server. The half is Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system.
The problem here is Ballmer’s math. Windows and Office are cash cows, yes. Two tricks. Windows Server is still just Windows. Xbox is a failed platform and has never and will never provide Microsoft with a return on the investment (much like Bing, et al).
Ballmer’s math problem continues with his insult of Apple being only a two-trick success. The Mac. And iOS mobile devices (iPhone and iPad).
Microsoft’s recently dismissed CEO might think the Windows maker made the PC industry, but Apple was there long before Windows with Apple II, Lisa, and the Mac. Then there was the iPod, countered by the failed Zune. iTunes is the world’s largest media store. The iPhone set the standard for smartphones. The iPad showed Microsoft how tablets should be built, despite Ballmer’s company having a 12 year head start.
Why Hire Ballmer?
So, why should Apple hire Steve Ballmer? Companies hire visionary leaders all the time, and even Apple needs to know how the future could play out, and, despite his inability to count, and his well documented miss on mobile technology, Ballmer has an opinion that matters.
First, Tim Cook should hire Ballmer to read the tea leaves for technology and Apple’s future products (without actually showing him what Apple’s current plans really are) and tell Cook and other Apple executives what they should be doing.
Second, Apple should publish Ballmer’s list of which products and business segments Apple should create and enter but only to employees, not the general public. Apple’s already high morale would grow, despite a few days lost to the resulting hilarity among staff in Cupertino.
Third, Apple should avoid going into any business segment highlighted by Ballmer, and avoid building or even bothering with R&D for any product recommended by Ballmer.
Then, what’s the point?
Good visionaries can see where the present is headed into the future. Steve Jobs did it with regularity. Steve Ballmer never had a clue. Apple would save billions in Research and Development costs by not going in any direction advocated by Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer is the anti-visionary, an executive puppet clown, who not for a chance meeting with Bill Gates, would have been selling cars, shoes, or at best, insurance. Apple needs to hire Ballmer not for what he knows, but for what he does not know, and cannot do. Any technology company executive who has missed so many trends in technology is a beacon, a lighthouse for where a company should not go.