SEATTLE — Less than a week after Steven A. Ballmer’s sudden decision to step down as CEO of Microsoft Corp. within a year, a company search committee announced that they may have found his successor: Steve Jobs, the recently deceased co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but right now we’re desperate,” Ballmer said in a memo announcing the committee’s interest in Jobs. “The value of Microsoft’s stock has lost 36 percent over my tenure. In that same time, Apple’s stock has increased over 785 percent. Now is the time to think outside of the box if we are to turn this company around, even if that means looking inside Mr. Jobs’s casket.”
Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder and current chairman, noted that “Steve Jobs was never one to let adversity hamper his creativity. Being dead is, without a doubt, a major hurdle, but it’s something that the board of directors is confident Jobs can overcome.”
This is not the first time Microsoft has looked to Apple for direction. In 1998, what was then Apple Computer, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, claiming that it had stolen the graphical user interface from the Macintosh. While Apple lost almost all of its claims, many features from the platform continued to appear in various Windows releases.
As CEO of Microsoft, Jobs will be free to continue this trend completely aboveboard—from underground. According to internal documents, Windows 8 may be renamed “Sabertooth Tiger,” the infamous “Blue Screen of Death” will soon feature crisper fonts, and Clippy, the Microsoft Office assistant, will be reintroduced as a spinning beach ball that ignores all commands from the user. Microsoft’s stock rose sharply following the announcement, with many investors agreeing that even a cadaver could run the company better than Ballmer.