Joachim Kempin, who worked at Microsoft between 1983 and 2002, overseeing the sales of Windows software to computer makers for part of that time, has written a book criticizing Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer’s leadership.
"They need somebody maybe 35-40 years old, a younger person who understands the Facebook Inc. generation and this mobile community. They don't need this guy on stage with this fierce, aggressive look, announcing the next version of Windows and thinking he can score with that," Kempin stated in his book.
In his book, titled 'Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft's "secret power broker" scheduled to be published on Tuesday, Kempin charges Ballmer with purposefully ousting any executives with potential to wrest him from the CEO seat, which he has occupied since 2000.
"For Microsoft to really get back in the game seriously, you need a big change in management," Kempin said, talking with Reuters by phone on Monday. "As much as I respect Steve Ballmer, he may be part of that in the end." Kempin’s criticism echoes that of investor David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, who called for Ballmer to step down in 2011.
Kempin himself, left Microsoft under a cloud in 2002 as some of the aggressive contracts he crafted with PC makers were seen as fodder for the U.S. government's antitrust prosecution of the company, which started in 1998 and was largely resolved by 2002.
To date, Kempin, who was a senior vice president in charge of a crucial part of the company's business with direct access to co-founder Bill Gates, is the most senior former Microsoft executive to write a book critical of the company, which is famous for the loyalty of its ex-employees.