The letters of Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer compared

Wednesday, 13 August, 2008

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer comes across like a car salesman in cross-company communications, while Apple’s Steve Jobs presents a focussed, humble poise, even if he may not be a particularly humble person.

There are some similarities between Ballmer and Jobs. For one, they both sign their memos, simply, “Steve”. For another, they’re both non-engineers leading engineering companies. Engineers, in general, crave facts and detest bullshit. My sense is that by and large, engineers at Apple are often frustrated by Jobs’s (relative) lack of technical acumen, but in terms of overall leadership and company strategy, they believe what he says. Ballmer, however, has the demeanor of a successful car salesman. He’s so full of bluster that he comes across as being either delusional or full of shit.

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