Microsoft is still amazingly profitable and has more money than God. But what it lacks is vision. The Visionary in Waiting, Ray Ozzie, got tired of waiting for Ballmer to relinquish his throne and bailed out of the company almost exactly one year ago. If Microsoft has a plan B, it's been doing a remarkable job of keeping that a secret.
Over the last few months we've seen a remarkable changing of the guard at the top of the tech world. Apple's Steve Jobs stepped down; Eric Schmidt gave way to Larry Page at Google; Carol Bartz got kicked to the curb at Yahoo. But Ballmer soldiers on.
Personally, I'm not convinced that "Hey Windows 8 supports touch input and aren't these live tiles something?" is going to be enough to pull the Redmondites out of their innovation rut. If Microsoft wants to be a player in this brave new post-PC world, they need a new man or woman at the top. I'm betting that will happen sooner rather than later.
Who should succeed Ballmer at Microsoft? Nominate your candidates below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "Steve Ballmer: Have you seen this man?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.