Ballmer is the first person ever to become a (US-dollar) billionaire based on stock options received as an employee in a corporation of which neither he nor a relative was not the founder.
He is a graduate of
Due to his wild exuberance, particularly in a widely circulated video clip in which he screams and dances onstage at a conference, he is know as 'Monkey Boy'.
Steve Ballmer was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father, Frederick Ballmer, was a Swiss immigrant; his mother, Beatrice Dworkin, was Jewish. Ballmer grew up with his younger sister in Farmington Hills near Detroit, where his father worked as a manager at Ford Motor Company.
During his studies at the Detroit Country Day School, Ballmer was the manager of the school's basketball team. In 1973, he graduated from school with a grade point average of 4.0 and was the valedictorian of his class. He scored a perfect 800 on the math SAT and competed in math tournaments. Ballmer won a scholarship to Harvard College and in his freshman year, Ballmer developed a close friendship with his dormmate, Bill Gates, a friendship that continued even after Gates dropped out of Harvard to start his own software company, Microsoft. At Harvard, Ballmer was the advertising manager for both The Harvard Crimson and The Harvard Advocate. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in applied mathematics and economics in 1977.
After graduation, Ballmer worked for two years at Procter & Gamble as an assistant product manager before joining Stanford Graduate School of Business to get a Master of Business Administration degree. He dropped out of Stanford a year later when Gates invited him to work at Microsoft. Ballmer became Microsoft's 24th employee on June 11, 1980, the first business manager hired by Gates. He was initially offered a salary of $50,000 as well as a percentage of ownership of the company. When Microsoft was incorporated in 1981, Ballmer owned 8 percent of the company.
Ballmer has headed several divisions within Microsoft, including Operating Systems Development, Operations, and Sales and Support. In July 1998, he was promoted to president, and on January 13, 2000, he was named chief executive officer when Gates stepped down from that position.
While Gates retains control of technological vision, Ballmer handles company finances. In 2003, Ballmer sold 8.3 percent of his shareholdings, leaving him with a 4 percent stake in the company. The same year, Ballmer ended the Microsoft stock-options program, a program he himself was instrumental in setting up in the early 1990s which made so many of its employees millionaires.
Steve Ballmer is currently the longest-serving employee of Microsoft. Ballmer married Connie Snyder (a Microsoft employee) in 1990 and has three sons.
Steve Ballmer has been known to be very passionate in expressing his enthusiasm. Once his vocal cords required surgery after he screamed "Windows, Windows, Windows" continuously at a meeting in Japan in 1991. When Microsoft celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2000, Ballmer popped out of the anniversary cake to surprise the audience. His wild screaming and dancing on stage at an employees convention was caught on a widely-circulated video known as "Dance Monkeyboy." A few days later at a developers' conference, a sweat-soaked Ballmer repeatedly chanted "developers" at least 14 times in front of the bemused gathering.
Ballmer has also called Linux "communism" and the GNU General Public License "a cancer,"  as well as more recently claiming that the most common format of music on iPods is "stolen". He advocates digital rights management and has said that "DRM is the future."
This Steve Ballmer Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub