Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shocked employees earlier this week when he officially changed his name from Steve Ballmer to Steve Jobs in the hopes that such a move would boost company morale, and subsequently help Microsoft reclaim much of the luster its lost to Apple ever since it first introduced the iPod.
But the decision to take on Jobs’ name was by no means an obvious decision. “Look,” Ballmer stated in an interview earlier today, “Google and Apple are both kicking our ass, and I’ll be frank with you, it sucks. It sucks big time. So while I knew I wanted to legally change my name, I really couldn’t decide if I wanted to change it to Eric Schmidt or to Steve Jobs. Also, I had been playing a lot of GTA IV and briefly considered changing my name to Niko Bellic.”
After a little bit of soul searching, however, the answer was an obvious one for Ballmer.
“So the other day I’m checking out the Zune Marketplace on my new Windows 7 laptop when it hit me like a ton of bricks. We’ve been copying Apple for years and it’s worked wonders for us. Hell, that strategy made me a friggin’ billionaire. So why fix what ain’t broke? From there, it was just a matter of getting the proper paperwork signed and processed.”
But that’s not to say that everything went off without a hitch. When Ballmer first came up with the idea a few weeks ago, he wanted to have the name change official by Christmas. But he was soon shocked to learn that the process would have to wait until 2010 due to the fact that he wanted to change both his first and last name, a more involved and lengthier process. After a 3 day bender that consisted of Ballmer drowning his sorrows in Rum and RC Cola cocktails and yelling the word “developers” incessantly in public, a Microsoft employee sheepishly informed Ballmer that he only really needed to change his last name since his first name was already Steve.
“That was definitely an lol moment for me,” said Ballmer. “I was so caught up in changing my name to Steve Jobs that I completely forgot that I was already halfway there. It reminded me of this time when I was playing solitaire and I thought my game was over. But then Bill [Gates] came in and said, and I’ll never forget this, he says “6 of diamonds to 7 of clovers”, and gosh darnit, it was a move I had completely overlooked. I didn’t end up winning that game, mind you, but you get the point.”
Needless to say, Ballmer’s name change is extremely controversial, and many in the tech industry are outraged.
“This is absolutely idiotic,” said AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega in a phone interview earlier today, “and it’s quite literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. I mean, really, everyone knows that my name sounds a lot cooler than ‘Steve Jobs’. Try it. Say ‘de la Vega’. It just rolls off of your lips. And besides, doesn’t Ballmer th…”
[note: At this point de la Vega lost cell reception and we were unable to reach him again.]
In the end, though, analysts are skeptical that Ballmer changing his name to Steve Jobs will have any fundamental impact on Microsoft’s financial situation and product roadmap. The man formerly known as Steve Ballmer, however, isn’t fazed in the slightest.
“I’m just having a bit of fun with this, so why does everyone think this is so weird? Can’t the CEO of a large company legally change his name to that of a CEO from a rival company anymore? The bottom line is that Microsoft’s product lineup is stronger than ever. Our Zunes are doing great, customers are loving the new UI tweaks in Windows 7, and our new line of Microsoft retail stores have been a big hit thus far. And if Apple comes out with a tablet in 2010, you can bet we’ll have our own version out on the market a few months later.”