LOS ANGELES – Steve “I’m Goin’ Crazy” Ballmer may have finally shown the business acumen that was missing for over 13 years as head of Microsoft Corp (Ticker MSFT).
The former Microsoft CEO became the Los Angeles Clippers new owner when he purchased the basketball franchise from the embattled Donald Sterling for an eye-popping $2 billion back in August- a sum equal to about four times the next highest franchise price ever paid.
Naturally, most observers thought it was just another in a long line of bad ideas stretching back through his Microsoft days (think MSN smart watch, Windows Vista, Windows CE, Zune, and even ‘Clippy’, that horribly annoying paper-clip cartoon that would pop up every time you attempted to do one thing in an MS Office application).
But all that skepticism was unwarranted it turns out. According to a recent article in the Financial Times, Ballmer will likely be able to get $1 Billion in tax breaks on his Clippers deal over the next 15 years owing to some sneaky, little understood accounting treatments. Continue reading
Why is Sterling smiling? Because he’s got Windows 9.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Microsoft (ticker MSFT). On top of CEO Satya Nadella’s recent remarkable foot-in-mouth act over women in the workplace, there’s the strange case of the missing Windows 9 operating system. Before the introduction of Windows 10 two weeks ago, Microsoft had last introduced a new operating system back in 2012 with the unveiling of the unpopular Windows 8, a sequence of events that raises questions about Windows 9. Where is it? A Microsoft employee who briefly worked on the Windows 9 project, which was codenamed RobTheCustomer, or RTC for short, has told Bud Fox News that the mystery goes back to Donald Sterling’s sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Sterling was the owner of the Clippers until his delicate flower of a lady friend V. Stiviano released an audiotape of Sterling exercising his right to free but unpleasant and incoherent speech in a way deemed unacceptable by the NBA. Steve Ballmer bought the team for $2 billion, a record price for an NBA franchise (the prior record, set weeks before the Clippers sale, was $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks). Continue reading