Ex-Microsoft Exec Says CEO Steve Ballmer Forces Out Internal Execs That Challenge Him

Steve Ballmer, the outspoken and oft times animated CEO of Microsoft, might not always be the easiest boss to work for. It all depends on who you ask, and if you sit down for a spell with Joachim Kempin, who worked at Microsoft from 1983 to 2002 in a high-level position, he'll paint Ballmer as a bully who forces out employees who dare challenge him.

Kempin airs Redmond's dirty laundry in his new book, Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft's "Secret Power Broker" Breaks His Silence, published today. He spoke with Reuters about the tell-all book, alleging that Ballmer purposely gets rid of executives who might have enough power to unseat him as CEO.

"For Microsoft to really get back in the game seriously, you need a big change in management... They need somebody maybe 35-40 years old, a younger person who understands the Facebook Inc generation and this mobile community," Kemp said. "They don't need this guy on stage with this fierce, aggressive look, announcing the next version of Windows and thinking he can score with that."

Ballmer was appointed CEO of Microsoft in 2000, though for the first several years Bill Gates retained control of the technological vision as chief architect. It wasn't until 2009 that Ballmer made the opening keynote at CES.

This isn't the first time Ballmer's leadership style has come into question. After Steven Sinofsky stepped down as President of Microsoft's Windows division, there were rumors that he and Ballmer had clashed on a number of issues.