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TheStreet Open House

Salesforce's Marc Benioff Rips Microsoft Surface

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Horrible. Terrible. And the keyboard doesn't work. That's at least what Salesforce.com (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff thinks of the new Microsoft (MSFT) Surface.

You've got to love guys like Benioff. They're the polar opposite of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

They're competent, confident, and they shoot straight.

As TheStreet's Chris Ciaccia asked today on Twitter, how in the world does Ballmer keep his job?

It's obvious what's going on here.

Sinofsky likely couldn't take it anymore.

After watching the CEO erratically navigate the early stages of the Windows 8 launch, could you bite your tongue any longer?

In multiple breaths, Ballmer rips Apple (AAPL); in the next errant gasp, he speaks of a "modest" ramp up of Microsoft's Surface tablet.

Maybe Sinofsky spoke up and quit. Or he spoke up -- one too many times for Ballmer -- and the CEO pulled a Tim Cook power play, called Bill Gates and had Sinofsky exiled.

But that's neither here nor there.

What really matters is that a guy like Benioff feels compelled to speak up about how absolutely awful the Surface tablet is. Relative to Apple's iPad, it's a piece of plastic. It will go nowhere fast in the consumer marketplace and, if Benioff is any gauge (and I think he is), it will die only a slightly slower death in enterprise.

Getting rid of Sinofsky wasn't a bad move, provided you had a viable plan B such as heaving a real, true fireball at Apple and bringing Scott Forstall on board. But that's not what Ballmer wants.

He got rid of the assertive, aggressive Sinofsky and put people in place he obviously perceives as lesser threats.

Bold move.

If you're a MSFT shareholder -- and it's one widely held name among retail and institutional investors -- you should be demanding that Ballmer's head rolls.

It shocks me that (A) there hasn't been that much outrage prior and up to this point and (B) Bill Gates is apparently taking Ballmer's side as he butchers Microsoft's apparent mobile rebirth.

Rocco Pendola is long AAPL.



This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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