Ballmer's successes and failures extended far beyond Windows 8, as even critics have acknowledged. Microsoft's revenue tripled in his 13 years at the helm and its profit more than doubled. He oversaw the creation of new $1 billion businesses within the company, like Azure; the creation of the Xbox and the formation of a powerful entertainment unit; and the debut of Office 365, the first major software-as-a-service (SaaS) from the company.
"That's what a lot of people miss. Microsoft will remain strong and remain in place," said Cearley.
"You have to say what Ballmer was good at," said Moorhead. "He was good at diversifying a company from PC-centric to an enterprise software company. Through organic growth and acquisition, he did a good job insulating the company from the failures of Windows. He has to be commended for that."
But Windows 8? That may be what people remember about the Ballmer era.
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