See here. Kevin Johnson, a sales guy who rose to run the Borg’s Windows and Web operations, is de-borging and will become CEO of Juniper Networks. Johnson (above left, dancing like a halfwit with a fellow Borgtard at the Vista announcement) not only crafted the Yahoo merger strategery but he also oversaw Vistaster. Talk about a deadly twofer. At most companies either one of those things would be enough to get you canned. (Although at Sun either one would get you promoted. But I digress.) I mentioned Johnson in a recent Forbes article, citing him as an example of the kind of lackluster talent who will be running the company now that Gates is gone. Money quote:
Smart guys. Great guys. But not a pack of wild-eyed visionaries operating at Internet speed. Take a look at that photo of Gates and his crew in 1978, looking like the Manson family. Those are the kind of crazies who change the world. Sure, Microsoft will participate in the Internet revolution, just as IBM played a role in the PC revolution. But IBM ultimately abandoned PCs and now chugs along on its mainframe franchise and services business. Not exciting, but not a bad business, either.
I think Microsoft will play defense from here on out. Its army of M.B.A.s will milk the monstrous franchise around Windows and Office for all it’s worth and try to cushion a decline in originality and create a soft landing. The future for Microsoft looks lucrative, predictable and boring. No doubt Bill Gates realizes this. That, I suspect, is why he’s checking out.
No word on whether Ballmer hit Johnson with a chair before he booted him. Also no word on whether Johnson created that Vista slogan, “Bringing clarity to your world.” It sure brought clarity to his, didn’t it?