Hedge fund guru says Ballmer must leave Microsoft

Hedge fund guru David Einhorn believes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is “stuck in the past” and must leave Redmond immediately.

According to the outspoken Einhorn, Ballmer is guilty of “Charlie Brown management” for allowing Apple to take the lead in mobile and failing to prevent Bing from becoming a fast-growing “sinkhole” which lost more than $700m during the last quarter.

“[Ballmer] has allowed competitors to beat Microsoft in huge areas, including search,” Einhorn said in remarks quoted by the UK’s Guardian.

“Even worse, his response to these failures has been to pour tremendous resources into efforts to develop his way out of these holes.”

Einhorn called on Microsoft to give another CEO a chance,” as Ballmer’s continued presence is the “biggest overhang on Microsoft’s stock.”

He added that because of Ballmer’s leadership, Redmond wasn’t “getting credit for some of its [legitimate] achievements and prospects.”

However, a member of Microsoft’s board of directors told CNBC Ballmer still retains the board’s support.

And as McAdams Wright Ragen analyst Sid Parakh points out, such support is obviously key for the controversial CEO. 

“Clearly, some people are calling for a change. If you look at the financial performance, that’s been fine. But I think the issue is broader than that,” Parakh told Reuters.

“If you look at search, mobile, tablet, these are areas they should have been investing in, and they have – but they weren’t able to get it right… If there was any reason to believe the board was not with Steve, it would be a different situation. But the board seems to be behind Steve.”