SAN FRANCISCO — When Michael Arrington asked Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff who the next CEO of Microsoft should be on stage this morning at TechCrunch Disrupt, Benioff had a one-word answer: “Gates.”
“I think that the only way to save Microsoft right now, because it is such a disaster, is he needs to come back, not forever, but for a specified period of time, maybe 36 months, because he has to push the reset button on two things,” Benioff said.
“He needs to push the reset button on his mantras that he installed in the company, like ‘Windows everywhere’ and all this. He’s got a bunch of mantras which are these processes that still run in the company, that aren’t doing the company any good.
“Number two, he needs to push the reset button on people. Not just get rid of Ballmer, but he’s got a lot of people in that company that he needs to hit the reset button on, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
When asked if he thinks Microsoft can be saved without Gates’s help, Benioff was cautiously pessimistic.
“Sure, of course, Microsoft will be around in ten years, but in what role?” Benioff said. “You know, ten years ago, they had command and control over our industry, and today they are just a very large company who likes to throw its weight around and try to be disruptive.”
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.