Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement within the next year on Friday.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has endured some failures and embarassments during Ballmer's tenure as CEO, from Windows Vista to Zune to Windows 8 and more. Then there are all the Xbox One policy reversals, including Microsoft's stance on used games, DRM and more. So it's become fashionable to bash both Microsoft and Steve Ballmer for every misstep they make.
To be fair, though, under Steve Ballmer, Microsoft has become a powerhouse in the gaming industry. The Xbox and Xbox One were and are massive successes. The Xbox sold more than 24.6 million units and the Xbox 360 more than 78.1 million, according to VGChartz.
What's more, the Xbox 360 has sold just half a million fewer units than its main competitor, the PlayStation 3. In fact, the Xbox 360 is still selling well despite its age. As of last month, the Xbox 360 continued a 30-month streak as the top-selling video game console in the U.S..
Ballmer will still be CEO when the Xbox One launches this November, assuming that Microsoft doesn't announce an Xbox One release date delay. Considering that Microsoft has already announced Xbox One delays in Europe, we wouldn't be surprised by an Xbox One delay for the U.S. or any other countries as well.
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What does Ballmer's impending departure mean for the Xbox One? Based on the sales history of the Xbox and Xbox 360, the Xbox One will likely be a huge success as well, despite the company's stumbles during Ballmer's reign. The embattled CEO does deserve credit for the success of the Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live and related products and services.
That's not to say that Steve Ballmer deserves all of the credit for the success of the Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. Much of the praise must go to Microsoft's managers, engineeers, developers, testers and anyone else who had a hand in the conception of the products. What we're saying is that if you're going to bash Ballmer for Windows Vista, Zune, Windows 8 and other gaffes, you have to also give him credit for the successes that Microsoft has enjoyed while he has been at the helm.
What do you think? What do you think of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer retiring? Sound off in the comments below.