Steve Ballmer is an American businessman and investor, best known for serving as the CEO of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014. During his time as CEO, Ballmer helped to steer Microsoft through a period of significant change, including the transition from traditional desktop computing to the era of mobile devices and cloud computing.
Steve Ballmer was born in Detroit, Michigan to Beatrice Dvorkin and Frederic Henry Ballmer, who worked as a manager at Ford Motor Company. His father was from Switzerland and arrived in the United States in 1948, while his mother was the daughter of a Russian Jewish merchant who immigrated to the United States in 1914. Ballmer is a second cousin of the late actress and comedian, Gilda Radner, through his mother. He grew up in the wealthy community of Farmington Hills, Michigan and also spent three years in Brussels where he attended the International School of Brussels.
Ballmer excelled academically, attending college prep and engineering classes at Lawrence Technological University in 1973. He graduated as valedictorian from Detroit Country Day School with a perfect score of 800 on the math section of the SAT. He was also a National Merit Scholar. After graduation, he became a member of the school’s board of directors.
Ballmer attended Harvard University where he was involved in several activities such as managing the Harvard Crimson football team, working on the Harvard Crimson newspaper and the Harvard Advocate, and living in the same dorm as Bill Gates. He performed exceptionally well in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, outscoring Gates. He graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics in 1977.
Before joining Microsoft, Ballmer worked as an assistant product manager at Procter & Gamble for two years. He shared an office with Jeff Immelt, who later became the CEO of General Electric. After a brief stint trying to write screenplays in Hollywood, he started pursuing his MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business but dropped out in 1980 to join Microsoft.
Ballmer married his wife, Connie Snyder in 1990, and they have three children together. The family resides in Hunts Point, Washington.
Steve Ballmer is an American businessman and investor who served as the CEO of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014. He is now the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team in the NBA.
Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980, hired by Bill Gates. He eventually became president in 1998 and took over as CEO in 2000. He retired as CEO in 2014 and stepped down from Microsoft’s Board of Directors later that year to focus on teaching.
His time at Microsoft as CEO has received mixed reviews, with the company experiencing growth in sales and profits, but also missing out on important technological advancements in the smartphone market.
In addition to his work at Microsoft, Ballmer is also known for his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He became the team’s owner in 2014, after purchasing the team for a then-record $2 billion. Ballmer is known for his enthusiastic support of the Clippers and for his courtside antics at games.
History with Sports
On March 6, 2008, a local ownership group led by Steve Ballmer made a commitment to invest $150 million in a proposed $300 million renovation of KeyArena in Seattle, with the aim of purchasing the Seattle SuperSonics from the Professional Basketball Club LLC in order to keep the team in Seattle. However, this initiative failed, and the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In June 2012, Ballmer was involved as an investor in a proposal to build a new arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood and bring the SuperSonics back to Seattle.
In 2013, Ballmer led a group of investors in an attempt to purchase the Sacramento Kings and relocate them to Seattle for an estimated $650 million, but this attempt also failed. Following the Donald Sterling scandal in 2014, Ballmer was the highest bidder in an attempt to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers for a reported price of $2 billion, which was confirmed on August 12, 2014.
Ballmer banned the use of Apple products, such as iPads, by the Clippers and replaced them with Microsoft products. He has also been reported to have banned the use of iPhones by his family. In March 2020, Ballmer agreed to buy The Forum in Inglewood, California, which would allow him to build the Intuit Dome in the nearby area. In a survey conducted by The Athletic in December 2020, Ballmer was voted the best owner in basketball.
Ballmer has also been active in a number of philanthropic ventures, including the Ballmer Group, which focuses on improving economic mobility for families in the United States. He is widely regarded as one of the wealthiest people in the world, with an estimated net worth of over $100 billion.
In 2014, Ballmer and his wife Connie donated $50 million to the University of Oregon. The funds would support the university’s $2 billion fundraising effort, with a focus on scholarships, public health research and advocacy, and external branding/communications. On the following day, it was announced that Ballmer would donate an estimated $60 million to Harvard University’s computer science department, allowing the department to hire new faculty and increase its national stature. Ballmer had previously donated $10 million to the same department in 1994, in a joint gift with Bill Gates.
In 2022, Ballmer made a significant contribution of $425 million to the University of Oregon to establish a new institute for children’s behavioral health.
Ballmer is also a member of the World Chairman’s Council of the Jewish National Fund, which recognizes individuals who have donated over $1 million to the JNF.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ballmer’s personal wealth is estimated at around $90 billion, making him the 8th wealthiest person in the world.
Steve Ballmer has received many awards and recognitions for his work and his philanthropy. Here are some notable accomplishments.