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The agony of Steve Ballmer: From Monkey Boy to mogul?

Associated Press
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer laughs as he talks at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Thursday in 2007. Back then, Ballmer compared Microsoft's search technology to a precocious toddler - one who would eventually grow up to rival nemesis Google.

No question, Steve Ballmer has always been a mogul, it just hasn’t seemed like it in the media. For instance, there’s all that “monkey boy” business on YouTube that so far has been watched 4,078,680 times.

Then there was the guy who made international news by calling for Ballmer to be fired.

Now, though, the love is on. In a long and humanizing article in Business Week today, Ballmer gets his due as the man at the top of a resurgent Microsoft.

First though, here’s the monkey boy thing (in case you’ve been in a cave):

And also, there’s the call for his ouster published everywhere, but quoted here from the Guardian:

“David Einhorn, the poker-playing hedge fund tycoon who made a fortune short-selling Lehman Brothers, has turned his fire on Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer, accusing one of the toughest executives in corporate America of being "stuck in the past" and calling for him to go.”

Now for the good news, as reported by Business Week;

“Microsoft can finally point to a slick version of Windows for smartphones; the Skype franchise it acquired last year; and a blockbuster gaming console in the Xbox that has given the company a lead position in the battle for the connected living room. On the corporate technology side, Microsoft’s data-center software division had sales of $17.1 billion last year; if that unit were a standalone software company, it would be one of the top five in the world. Microsoft’s cloud computing services—the broadest in the industry—now include an online version of Office. Later this year, the company will ship Windows 8, a dramatic revision to its core product that will unite all of its Internet-connected offerings. Which is all to say, after years of missing major market shifts away from the desktop, Microsoft has given itself a chance to compete for the future of computing.”

But can Ballmer take credit for that and will 2012 see the full transformation of Ballmer?

Here’s what Business Week says:

“History smiles on Jobs because Apple almost went under and came back stronger than before. Ballmer, you could say, never had the advantage of bouncing back from near-obliteration—he’s spent much of his time as CEO trying to expand beyond Gates’s vision. He’s not stuck in the past, he says, but learning new tricks.”

Do you think Ballmer will finally outlive his 'monkey boy' pseudonym?