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Growth and Value Too Much to Expect From Microsoft

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- TheStreet columnist Rocco Pendola continues to get slammed for offering his 10-year outlook yesterday on  Microsoft  (MSFT - Get Report). You may not have liked Rocco's straight-to-the-point delivery style, but was he completely off base?

I still recall the excitement and high-fives when Steve Ballmer announced he was stepping down as CEO. Immediately the stock shot up by as much as 10% on seven-times the volume.

Critics had finally gotten their wish. The Street never cared for Ballmer, and made no secret of it. Ballmer, in my opinion, was the biggest impediment to Microsoft's growth. Microsoft's board soon came to this conclusion.

In fairness to Ballmer, he never received the credit he deserved for strategically positioning Microsoft in areas like enterprise software and services. As bad as things may have seemed at times, Microsoft's "death" was always exaggerated.

Fairly or unfairly, what people will remember the most are Ballmer's failures in the mobile realm, particularly against Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG). And that's when they're not bringing up the fact that Microsoft lost roughly half of its value on his watch.

None of this matters today. Ballmer's legacy is already scripted and there won't be any edits. But that doesn't mean Microsoft will be in any better shape going forward. There are still deficits the company must overcome. Not to mention, considerable execution risk.

The Street should know by now that turnaround stories are hard. This is regardless of how much you want to love a company. New CEO Satya Nadella has said all of the right things. Nadella has also begun to reorganize the structure of his leadership, including creating room for Stephen Elop, the former boss of Nokia (NOK).

It is believed that Elop will assume the top position of Microsoft's Devices and Studios segment. Given Elop's experience with Nokia, this move makes sense. But Elop certainly wasn't a pillar of success at Nokia. Now he's coming on board to help close Microsoft $7.2 billion buyout of Nokia's handset division - a deal he brokered for Nokia as CEO.

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