Billionaire Steve Ballmer: Early Life, Career, The Clippers, and his Net Worth

" Computer science is the operating system for all innovation."

Steve Ballmer

Steven Anthony Ballmer is the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA, former CEO of Microsoft who led the company from 2000 to 2014. He has a net worth of US $64.63B (as of May 27, 2020) and is known for his audacious marketing skills. The 63- year old is an American businessman and investor who ranks as No.7 on the Forbes 2020 World's Billionaires list.

Early Life and Education

Steven Anthony Ballmer was born on March 24, 1956, to Beatrice Dworkin and Frederic Henry Ballmer (Fritz Hans Ballmer). His father Fred was a swiss immigrant who was the manager at the Ford motor company and predicted his son's Harvard affiliation. As a child, Ballmer was usually shy even while in Hebrew school

From 1964 to 1967 Ballmer lived in Brussels, where he attended the International School of Brussels.

In 1973, he attended college prep and engineering classes at Lawrence Technological University. He graduated valedictorian from Detroit Country Day School, a private college preparatory school in Beverly Hills, Michigan, with a score of 800 on the mathematical section of the SAT becoming a National Merit Scholar sitting on the school's board of directors.

In 1977, he graduated magna cum laude with B.A in Mathematics and Economics from Harvard University where he was a manager for the Crimson football team, a member of the Fox Club, and also worked on the Harvard  Crimson newspaper and Advocate, living down the hall from fellow sophomore Bill Gates.

In 1980 Steve dropped out of the Stanford graduate school of business before finally beginning his career at " P & G".

Career History

Procter and Gamble

In 1977 immediately after college, Ballmer joined Procter and gamble where he worked as assistant product manager for a period of two years sharing office with Jeffrey Immelt (now CEO of General Electric) before he left Stanford Graduate school of business in 1980, to work as a business manager for his friend - Bill Gates, who had dropped out of school to start Microsoft.


Starting as the 30th Microsoft's official employee and the Company's first business manager, on June 11th, 1980 Ballmer received the offer of a salary worth $50,000 with about 8% ownership share of the company at incorporation in 1981. This share dropped to 4% after he sold about 39.3 million Microsoft shares later on in 2003.

Ballmer held various posts over a  period of two decades as Microsoft evolved into one of the most powerful and profitable companies in American history. Ballmer headed departments such as the operations, operating systems development, and sales and support.

In 1992, he became Executive Vice President, sales and support where he led the development of the  .NET framework before he got promoted to become president of Microsoft in July 1998, a position he held for two years.

On January 13, 2000, he was officially announced CEO of the company and he became a major deciding factor of the Microsoft brand. He addressed matters ranging from company finances to daily operations, with Gates retaining control of the "technological innovations" as chief software architect and as chairman. Ballmer at this point as CEO required added detailed business advantages in order to approve new products, to ensure that product innovations are not just an appeal to trends but also a profitable business venture.

One of his first call as CEO was the resolution of the government and states lawsuit against Microsoft which could have gone longer if not for his intervention.

In 2005, he recruited B. Kevin Turner from Wal-Mart, to lead the company's sales, marketing, and services group while instilling process and discipline in the company's operations and salesforce.

Bill Gates stepped down as chief software architect in 2006, he relinquished daily activities while staying on as chairman, giving Ballmer volition to make major management changes at Microsoft. These changes include:

-"A dramatic shift away from the company's PC-first heritage"

-Replacement of most major division heads in order to break down the bulky departmental divisions into smaller and specialized fronts and this was reported on Businessweek that the company "arguably now has the best product lineup in its history".

- Driving Microsoft's connected computing strategy, with procurements such as Skype

- Ballmer built half a dozen new businesses such as the data centers division, the Xbox entertainment, and devices division (worth $8.9 billion) which served as a deterrent to Sony PlayStation and other gaming consoles seeking to undermine Windows. He built an enterprise worth $20 billion, consisting of new products and services such as Exchange, Windows Server, SQL Server, etc. each of which initially faced an uphill battle for acceptance but emerged dominant in all their categories.

His lack of focus on developing the Windows Mobile Market in the early 2000s  left Microsoft in a distant third in the current smartphone market and this was criticized.

A report made May 2012 Forbes magazine column quotes Adam Hartung describing Ballmer as "the worst CEO of a large publicly traded American company", saying he had "steered Microsoft out of some of the fastest-growing and most lucrative tech markets (mobile music, headsets, and tablets)".

This problem faced him up against an already competitive hardware market, on June 19, 2012, Ballmer revealed Microsoft's first-ever computer device, a tablet called Microsoft Surface at an event held in Hollywood, Los Angeles. His last major acquisition for Microsoft as CEO was the purchase of Nokia's mobile phone division in September 2013.

In August 2013 Ballmer announced his retirement, after losing billions of dollars in acquisitions on the Surface tablet. He was later succeeded by Satya Nadella in February 2014.

Personal Life

Steven grew up in the affluent community of Farmington Hills, Michigan. In 1990 he got married to Connie Snyder and have three sons. They live together in Hunts Point, Washington. He is a known Philanthropist having given over $2B worth in charity.

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