Think of bad bosses and you typically think of either a) yours, or b) David Brent. But now there's a third bad-boss stereotype to disturb your peace of mind: Steven Anthony Ballmer.
Better known to the wider world as the tongue-out, sweaty pits, slightly disturbing Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer has just received the singular honour of being named by Forbes as without a doubt “the worst CEO of a large publicly traded American company today”.
Ballmer's antics don't exactly do him any favours. The way he charges around the stage and works himself into a breathless sweaty frenzy at Microsoft events isn't everyone's cup of tea – in fact, I've never actually met someone who is actually a fan of that sort of thing, and I'm not sure I want to.
But that doesn't make him a bad boss, it's just his style – or lack thereof.
What Forbes does focus on is far more damning, claiming Ballmer has “singlehandedly steered Microsoft out of some of the fastest growing and most lucrative tech markets (mobile music, handsets and tablets)” and in so doing sacrificed the growth and profits of not only Microsoft but also partners including Dell, HP and most recently Nokia.
When Ballmer took over in 2000, Forbes points out, Microsoft's stock was trading at $60. Two years later it had fallen to just $20, and is still only just the other side of $30 a share – in stark contrast to the staggering growth arch-rival Apple has enjoyed over the same period.
Under Ballmer's stewardship, Forbes claims, new products have consistently been delayed, and when they have arrived they've been “so lacking in any enhanced value that they left customers scrambling to find ways to avoid upgrades”.
Windows Vista, meanwhile, was a disaster, and while its successor Windows 7 was far better, its lack of flexibility to cater for tablets in anything other than the most basic sense has left Microsoft completely out of the loop of the biggest new product market to emerge in years – this after the company missed the boat on the last big new product market, touchscreen smartphones.
It means Microsoft's whole future, and those of its partners, is relying almost entirely on Windows 8 being a success. And with Forbes arguing that any success Microsoft has enjoyed has been despite Ballmer's efforts, not because of them, we shouldn't be holding our breath.