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Interesting Perspective on Ballmer, CES & Communications

Thought this was an interesting perspective on Ballmer’s leadership of Microsoft and the communications strategy deployed at CES. The basic message, if you believe you are the leader you are, don’t let others or the river of news dictate your communications agenda.

Ballmer was right not to make any major tablet announcement, showing off something that wasn’t ready. Any zealous tablet push would have led to bloggers, journalists and Wall Street analysts making iPad comparisons. By staying away from Apple and iPad, Ballmer kept the message pure, which is good marketing. Ballmer set the keynote agenda on his terms rather than taking the position of following a competitor. Surely there was temptation, and pressure, to directly respond to iPad. Ballmer showed leadership by waiting.

I was also surprised by the tone of the Muglia announcement. Ok, we tend to read too much into these things, but it really did two things – asserted who was in charge while demonstrating that assertion.

Bob Muglia and I have been talking about the overall business and what is needed to accelerate our growth. In this context, I have decided that now is the time to put new leadership in place for STB…In conjunction with this leadership change, Bob has decided to leave Microsoft this summer. He will continue to actively run STB as I conduct an internal and external search for the new leader. Bob will onboard the new leader and will also complete additional projects for me.

Here the message is clear. And the message isn’t just that someone is leaving. Too many companies miss this opportunity in their communications – that is, to say what is actually going on.

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