The Buzz

All markets and investing news all the time

Nadella blunder worse than any of Ballmer's

October 10, 2014: 1:47 PM ET
Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer had no idea that instant karma was going to knock new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella right in the head.

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer had no idea instant karma was going to knock Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella right in the head.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer did a lot of things that were pretty embarrassing when he was the CEO of Microsoft (MSFT). But none of them hold a candle to the ridiculous comments by his successor, Satya Nadella.

Nadella told attendees at a tech conference for women this week that female employees shouldn't ask for raises because it would be "good karma" to not do so. He also suggested that women should have faith that "the system" will compensate them over the long haul and that staying silent was even one of the "superpowers" for women.

You can watch the remarks in the video below, along with analysis from CNN's Maggie Lake and Laurie Segall.

Nadella later apologized on Twitter.

But the damage was done. The reaction on social media was swift and justifiably harsh.

Can Nadella recover from this? Probably. But it's a huge stain on his reputation, which up until now was unblemished.

Wall Street loves the fact that Nadella was the anti-Ballmer. He's more reserved and calm. He clearly gets where tech is going, and investors are excited by his emphasis on mobile and cloud computing. Microsoft's stock is up more than 25% since Nadella was named CEO in February.

Shares did fall Friday though, prompting me to tweet this unsolicited advice for Nadella before the market opened.

Still, Nadella's poor choice of words did make me nostalgic for some of Ballmer's zany antics. They seem quaint in comparison to Nadella's blunder. Let's stroll down memory lane.

There's the famous monkey boy dance.

Then there's his bizarre "Developers! Developers! Developers!" rally cry. (Although I sympathize with Steve regarding the sweaty shirt.)

I'm not sure why Ballmer and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ever decided to recreate "Night at the Roxbury" -- one of the least funny skits in "Saturday Night Live" history.

And there's this awesome promotional video for the first Windows way back in 1985.

The list goes on and on.

Ballmer laughed when asked about how well the iPhone would do after Apple (AAPL) first introduced it. Oops.

He dismissed the iPad as "just another PC" and joked that the Mac was more like a Mack truck while PCs were more elegant cars. Where's Britney Spears? Oops he did it again.

He cackled when someone asked him at a 2009 Microsoft developers (developers developers developers) conference about Google's (GOOGL) Chrome. "Who knows what this thing is?" Triple scoop of oops with a huge topping of wrong sauce.

But about the most controversial/offensive thing Ballmer ever did (besides not make Microsoft shareholders that much richer) was calling open source software Linux a cancer.

That was a stupid remark. But at least Ballmer didn't insult half of the U.S. population like Nadella did.

  • Apple who? Microsoft, Intel rule Dow

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.

    PCs aren't dead yet. Sure, you're probably reading this on a phone or tablet. Maybe you'll one day see stories right in front of your eyes on your Google Glass or Oculus Rift.

    But big businesses MORE

    - Sep 11, 2014 12:20 PM ET
  • Some companies go far to dodge shareholders

    Shareholders of Southwest Airlines (LUV) gathered Wednesday in Dallas -- the city where the company is located -- for Southwest's annual meeting.

    It's a scene every company knows well: That yearly reunion of corporate executives, faithful investors and, often, a few "gadflies" who want to vent their issues.

    Holding these annual shareholder gatherings is a requirement for publicly traded companies in the U.S. and many other countries.

    Most hold their meetings in the MORE

    - May 14, 2014 2:43 PM ET
  • BlackBerry is Black-Bear-y again

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.

    Just a few months ago, investors were head over heels (resisting the urge to throw in a YouTube clip of The Go-Go's ... or Tears for Fears ... #ilovethe80s!) for new BlackBerry CEO John Chen.

    Shares MORE

    - May 8, 2014 1:19 PM ET
  • 7 lucky tech stock bargains. Yes, they exist

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.

    Tech stocks have been a bit of a whirling dervish lately. And the Nasdaq was getting taken to the proverbial woodshed again Thursday.

    But repeat after me. This is not 2000! Tech stocks, writ large, are MORE

    - Apr 10, 2014 2:40 PM ET
  • Risk averse? Think tech. Really.

    This article was published in the March issue of Money magazine.

    By Paul R. La Monica 

    The tech-heavy Nasdaq index may be nearing its early-2000 levels, but the technology sector looks nothing like it did in the bubble years.

    For starters, these shares are no longer absurdly valued. In fact, they trade at lower price/earnings ratios, based on projected profits, than the broad market. And many old-guard names are downright unloved, making them targets MORE

    Mar 10, 2014 9:26 AM ET
  • Microsoft CEO should be ...

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.

    Microsoft is still searching for a new CEO to replace Steve Ballmer. But I have a suggestion. Hire Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.

    I'm a bit surprised that Narayen's name hasn't been mentioned at all.

    For one, Adobe MORE

    - Jan 23, 2014 2:08 PM ET
  • The 2013 Nasdaq is nothing like 2000

    It's been a banner year for stocks. The Dow and S&P 500 have been in record territory since March, while the Nasdaq has been trading at its highest levels since 2000.

    Though the robust gains have ignited some worries that stocks may be overvalued, most experts believe that a dose of skepticism is actually healthy and predict that stocks will continue to rise next year, albeit at a more MORE

    - Dec 22, 2013 9:00 AM ET
  • Will Google soon pass Exxon in market value?

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.

    Google's CEO wasn't the subject of an Academy Award-nominated movie. Google's CEO also didn't strike a pose for Vogue. (Thank goodness for that!)

    Larry Page seems like a pretty boring guy. I've listened to many Google MORE

    - Nov 26, 2013 1:01 PM ET
  • Adobe hacked. Wall Street doesn't care.

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.

    Adobe, the software company most famous for Photoshop and PDF converter Acrobat, has been in the news a lot lately ... for all the wrong reasons.

    The company disclosed last month that hackers were able to MORE

    - Nov 12, 2013 12:38 PM ET
Fear & Greed
Sponsored by

To view my watchlist

Not a member yet?

Sign up now for a free account
Stupid Stock Move of the Day
#StupidStock Move of the Day! Meg Whitman doing good job with lousy hand. But $HPQ up 4%? Sales must improve to justify more upside, right?
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 242 other followers