It's a question worth asking: Did Steve Ballmer, the soon-to-be former CEO of Microsoft, fail as chief executive? 

Earlier this week Ballmer announced he would be stepping down from his post in 12 months. And, just in case you were wondering how people felt about the outspoken billionaire, Microsoft's stock skyrocketed after the news broke. Yet further proof that Ballmer's resignation has been long overdue. Nicholas Thompson at The New Yorker offers a clear-eyed assessment of Ballmer's 13-year tenure:

Ballmer proved to be the anti-Steve Jobs. He missed every major trend in technology. His innovations alienated people. When he tried something new, like Windows Vista, the public lined up around the block to trade it in. Microsoft missed social networking. It completely misjudged the iPhone and the iPad. It embraced complexity in product design just as everyone was turning toward simplicity. It entered growing markets too late...The company suffered from the classic innovator’s dilemma. It built extraordinary software that you run on your desktop. And as we moved away from our desktops and into the cloud and onto mobile devices, Microsoft trundled slowly and tentatively. It hesitated to embrace the cloud, and it hesitated to build anything that didn’t work with Windows.

The legacy Ballmer leaves behind can be summed up in one simple question: When was the last time you used Bing? Exactly.

[via The New Yorker]