See the Kudlow and Company gang here. Skip through the stuff about oil at the beginning and you’ll get to the love for Apple and the utter hatred for Microsoft. I mean these dudes really unload on the Borg. One dude bashes Ballmer for not completing the Yahoo deal. Kudlow talks about having “computer rage almost on a nightly basis” because his Windows machine sucks so bad. “I’m sick of it,” he says, and then says he’s fed up and is going to switch to a Mac.
There’s something really scary in the voices here. It’s in the tone. You know what I’m hearing? It’s disgust. Nobody comes out and says it, but these guys are fed up with Microsoft. They’re not even angry. They’re just fed up. They’ve had it. They stuck by the company during the DOJ trial and the antitrust mess, because hey, what investor doesn’t love a monopoly. The guys on Wall Street don’t care if you lie, or cheat, or bully your rivals — as long as you’re winning, and making money, and as long as the stock keeps going up.
What they won’t stand for is fuck-ups. Incompetence. Mistakes. And the Borg has been nothing but fuck-ups for what — three years? Listening to these investor dudes talk I’m reminded of a time in the late 1980s when Wall Street guys began ranting about Digital Equipment Corp. For years DEC had been their darling. Ken Olsen walked on water. But suddenly Ken Olsen was a doofus, an idiot. The company which once had been so powerful and so admired almost overnight came to be seen as a loser that couldn’t adapt and change.
You know what? I just realized something. Ballmer is a dead man. Maybe not right now. Not this week. Maybe not even this year. But he’s a dead man. The only thing keeping him around right now is that they don’t have anyone else who could take over for him. Mundie? Ozzie? Please. But the fact is, Ballmer’s investors have lost faith in him. And they will drive him out. Yes, Steve and Bill go way back. Doesn’t matter. At this level, when there’s this much money at stake, hurt feelings don’t matter. As a Wall Street guy once told me, during my time of darkness, “You need a friend? Get a dog. You need a shoulder to cry on? Hire a shrink. After what we’ve paid you, you can afford it.”