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The Best of Both Worlds: Steve Ballmer’s Journey From Microsoft CEO To The Owner Of L.A. Clippers




Steve Ballmer has always been the top player in whatever he puts all his energy into, from Microsoft to the NBA. He had worked with a lot of famous and influential people throughout his career. Noe behind all the glitz and glamor, Steve Ballmer is just a simple man. A simple man who made a difference on the lives of Americans and the people around the world.

Who Is Steve Ballmer?

Steven Anthony Ballmer or most popularly known as Steve Ballmer was born on March 24, 1956, in Detroit, Michigan, to Beatrice Dworkin and Frederic Henry Ballmer. He has a sister, Shelly. His father was a manager at the Ford Motor Company and his family was wealthy. Ballmer is of Swiss and Jewish ethnicity, his father was a Swiss immigrant and his mother was Belarusian Jewish. Ballmer also lived briefly in Brussels from 1964 to 1967, where he attended the International School of Brussels. He attended the Detroit Country Day School on a scholarship and graduated with a perfect score of 800 on the mathematical section of the SAT. Then he enrolled at Harvard College from where he graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in applied mathematics and economics, in 1977. While studying there he became friends with Bill Gates. Ballmer loved sports and was a manager for the Harvard Crimson football team while he was in college. He also worked on The Harvard Crimson newspaper as well as the Harvard Advocate.

In 1980 Ballmer dropped out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business to join Bill Gates in establishing Microsoft. In 1990, Ballmer married Connie Snyder and have three sons together. Now, they live in Hunts Point, Washington.


After completing his education he joined Procter & Gamble as an assistant product manager, a post he held for two years. In 1980, Ballmer left the Stanford Graduate School of Business and joined Microsoft in June, becoming the first business manager to be hired by Gates. One of his earliest roles was to recruit competent employees for the growing firm. Despite not being a programmer himself, Ballmer has the knack to identify potential talent. Soon after, Microsoft signed a contract to create an operating system for IBM’s new line of personal computers. The co-founders of the company, Gates and his partner Paul Allen, busied themselves with the technical aspects of the company while Ballmer was assigned the responsibility of handling the business matters of the company.

He re-organized Microsoft’s partnership into a corporate structure. Gates later come to hold 53% of the equity and Ballmer 8%. He also developed a stock option plan for the employees. During the early 1980s, Allen became ill with cancer and left the company in 1983. Now it was just Gates and Ballmer in charge of the corporation. Ballmer led the development of the operating system, the core of the company’s business, in the 1980s.

The year 1986 marked an important point in Ballmer’s career. Microsoft became a publically held company and Ballmer became a multimillionaire. The success of the company was primarily driven by the success of the Microsoft Office suite of applications, comprising word-processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software.

Over the next several years he held many important positions in the company and in February 1992, he was made the Executive Vice President, in Sales and Support. In this position, he led the development of the .NET Framework.

In July 1998 he was appointed to be the President of Microsoft while in 2000, Ballmer has officially named the Chief Executive officer of Microsoft. As the CEO, he handled the company finances and daily operations. Under his leadership, Microsoft diversified its product range to include products such as the electronic game console system Xbox and the Zune family of portable media players.

Microsoft registered a phenomenal increase in profits during Ballmer’s tenure as CEO. The corporation’s annual revenue surged from $25 billion to $70 billion, while its net income increased 215% to $23 billion. Ballmer announced his retirement in 2013 and stepped down from the position of CEO in February 2014. He stepped down from the company Board of Directors in August 2014.


Following the Donald Sterling scandal in May 2014, Ballmer was the highest bidder in an attempt to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers for a reported price of $2 billion, which is the second-highest bid for a sports franchise in North American sports history (after the $2.15 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012). After a California court confirmed the authority of Shelly Sterling to sell the team, it was officially announced on August 12, 2014, that Ballmer would become the Los Angeles Clippers owner.

Entering his sixth year as chairman, the Clippers hold a 250-160 (.610) record during his tenure. Ballmer passionately believes in leading the Clippers forward with a focus on on-court success, a fan-first philosophy, and consistent improvements in all aspects of team business, positively impacting the communities we touch. Along with his wife Connie, Ballmer serves as Co-founder of Ballmer Group, which supports efforts to improve economic mobility for children and families across the United States who are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty. They focus this philanthropic work deeply in Los Angeles, Washington state, and southeast Michigan where Steve grew up.

Philanthropical Works

Steve Ballmer was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor in Paris by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Both Ballmer and his wife are active on the philanthropic front and were reported to have donated $50 million to the University of Oregon in 2014.

In 1994, Ballmer and Bill Gates jointly donated $10 million to Harvard University’s computer science department. In 2014, Ballmer again donated money to Harvard University’s computer science department to enable it to hire new faculty. He also donated $50 million to the University of Oregon for the purpose of scholarships, public health research and advocacy, and external branding/communications.

3 Tips From Steve Ballmer

“Ultimately progress is measured sort of through the eyes of users.”

“You get some success. You run into some walls…it’s how tenacious you are, how irrepressible, how ultimately optimistic and tenacious you are about it that will determine your success.”

“The lifeblood of our business is that R&D spend. There’s nothing that flows through a pipe or down a wire or anything else. We have to continuously create new innovation that lets people do something they didn’t think they could do the day before.”

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