Ballmer Leaves Microsoft
Former Software CEO To Join KISS On Farewell Tour
(Redmond, Wash, Fluff & Fold) Microsoft today announced the resignation of CEO Steve Ballmer after just over two years in the top position. Ballmer will be be exiting the Microsoft executive suite to pursue a life-long dream of joining the rock group KISS. The announcement caused a flurry of activity on Wall Street this morning as investors unloaded Microsoft shares and bid up KISS paraphernalia on eBay.
"It's been a great thrill to work at Microsoft these 22 years," Ballmer said glancing at his watch, "There's been a lot of crazy, crazy nights, but it's two sides of the coin and now I've gotta choose. I love it loud and I want to rock and roll all night!"
In the past year, Ballmer has been handing more of the operational and strategic responsibilities over to Chief Operating Officer Rick Belluzo, whom he hired in 1999. Belluzo was saddened by Ballmer's departure. "We'll really miss him," he said as he looked around his new office in Building 8. "Get me some disenfectant will you? It smells like sweat in here."
Ballmer had thought of joining a rock and roll band for years and had gradually been bringing more musical energy to his performances at Microsoft. "It's such a thrill to get up on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans," he said. There's a kind of rush you get jumping around, screaming, dancing in front of so many people. I figured if I could do this at a Microsoft Sales conference, then why not with KISS?"
When Ballmer read that KISS guitarist Paul Stanley was undergoing hip surgery, he knew he needed to act quickly. "Basically, I made Gene an offer he couldn't refuse," he said. Steve "Monkey Boy" Ballmer will take over vocals and bass guitar from KISS founder Gene Simmons. Simmons, in turn will take over as Interim CEO at Microsoft until a replacement is found. "I can't wait to see Bill's reaction," he added. "He hates it when I reorganize things without telling him." Meanwhile, Ballmer has been busy writing original songs for the final KISS farewell including "Monkey Boy Blues", "Developers, Developers, Developers" and "To Heck with Janet Reno."
Gene Simmons, who founded KISS along with fellow New Yorker Paul Stanley in 1972, thinks Ballmer is good fit. "Hey, we tried adding a couple of new guys in the 1980s and that worked out. So why not a bald billionaire?" he asked. And if you think about it, Steve really picked up the whole sentiment behind 'Destroyer'. People thought it was about rock and roll, but it was really more of a corporate philosophy for me and Paul." Simmons admitted he had been looking for a similar change in recent years. "We've been trying to sell the KISS franchise since 1996. Once you put the makeup on, it could be anyone up there."
Microsoft Brain Drain?
Ballmer's departure adds to the perception that Microsoft is suffering from an executive brain drain in recent years. Key executives to depart Microsoft include Brad Chase, Nathan Myhrvold, Brad Silverberg, Pete Higgins, (Ed-- Yes, we get the idea) John Ludwig, Rich Tong, Greg Maffei, Paul Maritz, (Ed-- Look, cut it out) Peter Neupert, Bob Herbold, Chris Peters, Jonathan Roberts (Ed-- Enough Already!). None have been heard from since reporting into the Microsoft Federal Witness Protection Program.
Ballmer said that even he's through with high tech, he still wants to stay in the limelight. "I saw what Bill did to Adam (Bosworth) and Tod (Nielsen) when they founded Crossgain," he said. But why rock and roll? "Lets just say, I want to stay highly visible," Ballmer answered. "I don't want to disappear in the night."
Rumors swirled earlier in the day that Ballmer was fired when he told Chairman Bill Gates that he forgot to get Melinda's prenuptial agreement notarized back in 1994. However, Gates denied these allegations. "Melinda and I don't have a prenuptial agreement," he told the press. "And besides, notarizing documents is not something Steve would screw up. He'd figure out how to fix it, right Steve?"
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