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Why Partners Like Steve Ballmer

For all the grief that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gets from Wall Street, he's extremely popular among Microsoft partners at the Worldwide Partner Conference. I regularly find myself in conversations with Microsoft partners who talk about the energy that they draw from a Ballmer keynote and tell me repeatedly that he "gets" partners.

During his WPC keynote earlier this week, Ballmer gave a refreshingly realistic description of the choices that partners have and did a nice job articulating the unique role partners play in Microsoft's product development and business decisions.

From the transcript (emphasis mine):

"But I find that our partners have perhaps the most interesting and unique set of insights on our business of anybody on the planet. You're involved, you care, you spend time and energy studying and understanding what we're up to. You take the time to translate these technologies into the solutions that really change people's lives, and yet you are independent business people who are coming to work every day cheering for us, but also understanding that you need to consider alternatives. So, you're pushing us, pushing us, pushing us, pushing us to improve our performance.

"Customers aren't really quite as all-in as you are, and our employees have a hard time really pushing us as objectively as our partners."

What's your take? Does Ballmer still get it when it comes to partners? Comment below or e-mail me at sbekker@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 13, 2011 at 11:58 AM