Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and the Management of Microsoft

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTA114
Case Length : 11 Pages
Period : 1990 - 2004
Organization : Microsoft Corporation
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Software

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Gates had traditionally managed Microsoft with a few key business principles in mind. He believed in keeping head count low, minimizing costs, and centralizing as much of the operation as possible. Gates wanted everyone to surpass their potential...

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Right from his childhood days, Gates had realized the importance of thinking and reflecting. This habit had remained even as Gates had gone on to become the most wealthy man in the world. Gates believed he had to get away from the day-to-day routines at Microsoft once in a while...

Ballmer & Gates: Redefining the Role

Microsoft had essentially been a one-man show for a long time after it was founded in 1975. In Microsoft's early years, Gates made all the decisions, large or small. He allowed no middle managers to create layers between him and his employees. Gates was Microsoft's chief visionary, chief decision maker, chief technologist, chief salesperson and chief dealmaker all rolled into one...

Managing Human Resources

Finding the right talent was crucial for a company like Microsoft. Gates had once mentioned that if the 20 best people were ever taken away from Microsoft, it would become an unimportant company...

The Road Ahead

After taking over as CEO in 2000, Ballmer had attempted to put in place systems and processes and impose profit-and-loss accountability on each business unit. Gates had all along shunned bureaucracy...


Exhibit 1: Microsoft Stock Chart
Exhibit 2: Income Statement
Exhibit 3: Segment Revenue and Operating Income, Determined in Accordance with U.S. GAAP


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