NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Steve Ballmer was employee number thirty at Microsoft (MSFT) , hired as the company's first business manager who would later become CEO for more than a decade. This week he also gave up his seat on Microsoft's board of directors, fully embracing his roll as full-time owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers among other roles.
His legacy at Microsoft will be debated for decades to come and his business decisions will be studied by future generations of business students.
Ballmer was the ultimate Microsoft pitchman, known for his outrageous statements and salesmanship. For instance, a very young Ballmer doing his best Crazy Eddie impersonation, as he tried to sell an early version of Windows:
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He will also be remembered for what happened at the company during his reign as CEO, both the good and bad. On the plus side, there there was the introduction of Xbox, as it took on Sony's (SNE) successful PlayStation brand, Nintendo (NTDOY) 64 and others.
Software (which includes operating systems), where Microsoft generates the majority of its revenue, has been a mixed bag. Ballmer's Microsoft has done its best to squeeze everything it could out of its legacy titles like Windows and Office. Windows 7 deserves singling out too. It was Microsoft's finest 21st century operating system, simply because it worked. The company is still having a hard time getting users to upgrade to Windows 8, and perhaps the company will have better luck with Windows 9.