In honor of Steve Ballmer’s decision to retire from Microsoft, we look back on some of the zaniest and craziest moments of the Microsoft CEO caught on tape. Ballmer has always been something of an enigma — intense, fervent and enthusiastic to the point of hilarity, he is a sharp contrast to his predecessor, Bill Gates.
Enjoy some of Ballmer’s most interesting moments caught on film, starting from before his tenure as Microsoft CEO.
Ballmer Sells Windows 1.0
An early taste of Ballmer at his peak energy, this Windows commercial casts the future CEO as an overeager and zany salesman. Ballmer’s signature energy comes through in his goofy and ridiculous pitch for 1985’s Windows 1.0, selling the product in a way that only he can.
Steve Ballmer Monkey Dance
The story behind the Monkey Dance has become stuff of internet legend. At Microsoft’s 25th anniversary, the newly-minted CEO burst onto the stage, waving his arms and legs and screaming at the top of his lungs. Ballmer, clearly on a high from the fanfare, is at his most manic — and most memorable. This video tore through the internet and remains one of Ballmer’s most famous moments as CEO.
Developers! Developers! Developers!
Also from that fated 25th anniversary conference, Ballmer leads a silly, immortal chant. Developers, developers, developers! This, along with the Monkey Dance, solidified Ballmer’s reputation as a presence in any room he entered, no matter how large. You always remember the first time you met Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer on the iPhone
Since they are constantly pestered to make statements about the future, technology CEOs are bound to eat crow every once in a while. Watch as Ballmer scoffs and guffaws at the debut of the iPhone in 2007, giggling about the phone’s $500 price tag (which, to be fair to Ballmer, Apple was forced to later reduce through carrier subsidy deals). Although he half-mockingly indicates that he “doesn’t know the future,” his incredulity at the technology is a major example of how profoundly Microsoft missed this sea change in mobile computing.
Ballmer on the PC vs. Tablet vs. Mobile (“What are you gonna push?”)
But every once in a while, tech CEOs say something insightful about the technology landscape. Back in 2010, Ballmer assessed the mobile landscape after Apple dropped the iPad in April of 2010 in a thoughtful and important way that accurately pegs the current tablet market. He deftly separates the PC, mobile and tablet market in a way that rings true in 2013. The difference between the computer on the desktop, the tablet in the bag and the phone in the pocket is still very much alive — Ballmer, for all his craziness, somtimes does know what he’s talking about.