On Friday, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO for 13 years now, announced his plan to retire from the company within 12 months. It came as a shock to all of us, and some might argue that Ballmer’s departure comes earlier than even the CEO himself originally had planned. It’s no secret that Ballmer’s tenure has received a great deal of negative feedback, with some outlets flat out saying he failed.
Ballmer is leaving during a time of uneasiness. The world has yet to accept Windows 8 as the next greatest operating system. Microsoft’s first foray into hardware with the Surface tablet quickly flopped. And don’t even get us started on Windows RT. Ballmer is not leaving the company in a better place than when he took over from Bill Gates 13 years ago.
Still, with all that said, when we heard Ballmer was going to be leaving his position as Microsoft’s CEO, we couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness. No, it wasn’t because we had hope for Ballmer and thought, with just a little more time, he could really turn the company around. No, it’s because of Ballmer’s crazy antics that we love to ogle over (and then re-watch for years to come when we’re having a bad day).
Though we highly suggest checking out some of Ballmer’s best moments caught on tape (seriously, if you haven’t seen the Get On Your Feet video, or the Developers video, stop what you’re doing and watch these now), we thought that the year leading up to Ballmer’s departure should be filled with as much Ballmer as possible. That’s why we pulled together 12 of our favorite Ballmer expressions for you to look at year round. You can even print these photos and make a Ballmer 2014 calendar out of them. Here’s some of our favorites.
1. What better way to start a Ballmer calendar than with a dramatic operatic pose?
2. “I have never, honestly, thrown a chair in my life,” Ballmer said in a 2005 interview with CNET. Has that changed in the last eight years? We don’t know for sure.
3. Print this one and tape it on your cubicle. Even if you’re not a developer, you’ll be inspired by Ballmer’s enthusiasm. Taken from one of his most memorable moments at his presentation at Microsoft’s 25th Anniversary event in September 2000, Ballmer, awkwardly sweaty, chanted the words “developers” over and over on stage. Unfortunately for Ballmer, that video was uploaded to YouTube and spread like wildfire. Also unfortunate, this was one of his first, and sweatiest, moments in the spotlight as Microsoft’s CEO.
4. This is one CEO who likes to use a lot of hand gestures, as you’ll see in the following photos. At the Web 2.0 Summit in 2011, Ballmer said you don’t have to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone, but you do to use a Android phone. Agree to disagree.
5. Remember Windows Vista? Ay, fuhgeddaboudit!
6. In his retirement, Ballmer may be seeking the Ringo Starr route of “peace and love,” (and no fanmail). Though we can’t find the source of this photo, in reality, Ballmer’s likely dismissing SkyDrive competitor Dropbox as a “fine little startup.”
7. Whoa, whoa, whoa. What do you mean Windows Phone isn’t doing well? In an interview with CBS in February 2013, Bill Gates said Microsoft’s former cellphone strategy was “clearly a mistake.” Ouch.
8. During Ballmer’s baller phase, the CEO tried rapping for a brief moment.Or maybe this was during his shaman phase. Other possibilities: Ballmer was shakin’ it like a Polaroid picture, or he’s showing off his manicure. Your guess is as good as ours.
9. Taken at Build 2012, Ballmer is looking extra Coneheady in this photo. There’s no doubt that Ballmer’s attitude at Build 2012, promoting the new Windows 8 OS, Windows Phone 8, and Surface tablets, was a lot different than this year’s Build when the company explained the changes to the OS in its 8.1 update that intend to fix many of the problems users have with Windows 8.
10. Don’t ask us to explain it, but Steve Ballmer really likes to stick his tongue out. We think it’s his way of showing excitement, much like dogs do when you hold the leash up and jingle your keys.
11. We’re not really sure what’s up with this one, either, but we think Ballmer could either be showing us his best Gene Simmons impersonation, or showing us that his clean tongue is a sign of good oral health. Take your pick.
12. After Ballmer made $769 million in stocks by announcing his retirement on Friday, we have a feeling that this is what he was doing in his office (and what he’ll be doing when he leaves the CEO position for good in the coming months).
Do you have more Ballmer photos you think should be put in the running? Send us the link!