Everyone by now has heard that Microsoft's CEO has announced he will retire from Microsoft within the year. There is a lot of speculation on why and was it sudden or not. In any event, he has given his life to the company and it has paid off well for him. The question is, how well did it pay off for the company.
Of course, Microsoft is the only company to make a real dent into Google's search engine market share with Bing and their partnership with Yahoo.
But what I found interesting was a Hacker News thread which talks about Microsoft ties to several Israeli adware companies. One person said in the thread:
Let me tell you an anecdote why I think Ballmer was incompetent and largely responsible for the sorry state that Microsoft is in at the moment. Yesterday there was a long article in the Israeli newspaper Globes about the success of the Israeli adware companies. Israel has in recent years become a world leader in software that installs unwanted toolbars on your elderly dad and mom's PC and "monetizes" them until they get their son or daughter to come over and fix it.
The list of such companies includes some really big ones, like Babylon and Conduit. These companies are making their profits by degrading Windows users' experience. Not only didn't Ballmer do anything to fight them, Microsoft actually has affiliate agreements with these companies to take a slice of the profits. Screwing your own customers like that cannot end well for Microsoft.
The article this person is referencing is in Hebrew but at a well respected Israeli newspaper named Globes.
What is even more interesting to me is that Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, responded saying:
Interesting story; thanks for posting that.
Forum discussion at Hacker News.