Whatever else you might think about Steve Ballmer’s reign at Microsoft, there’s no doubt that he’s helped the company maintain its position as an absolute cash cow with a thriving enterprise software and services business. In an interview with Fortune, the outgoing Microsoft chief distills his philosophy as CEO into five simple words repeated three times: “How do you make money? How do you make money? How do you make money?”
On the eve of his exit as chief executive officer of Microsoft, after more then a decade on the job, it is more evident than ever that Steve Ballmer’s image does not always reflect reality. As anyone who has ever seen him speak at a conference (or portrayed on television, as he was in cartoon form on the animated series South Park this year) knows, Ballmer is a larger-than-life kind of guy. His public persona is brash, bombastic, and, at times, bordering on boorish. To most people, he is known more for his manner than his management.