Steve Ballmer — Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer — Complete Biography, History and Inventions

Key Points

  • Unlike his more famous friend, Steve Ballmer remained at University graduating magna cum laude in Mathematics and Economics. However, his stint at Stanford Business School was interrupted when Gates came calling.
  • Ballmer was in charge of the team of developers creating an OS for IBM. In 1992, he also led the group which worked on the .NET framework.
  • He attained the position of CEO in 2000. In his new position, he encouraged developer creativity and the result was the Xbox, and an impressive increase in business revenue.

Quick Facts

Full Name
Steven Anthony “Steve” Ballmer
March 24, 1956
Net Worth
$101 billion; $96.68 billion currently
  • Knight of the Legion of Honor in Paris by Nicolas Sarkozy
3 sons — Sam, Peter, and Aaron Ballmer
Place of Birth
Detroit, Michigan
Fields of Expertise
[“Mathematics”,”Economics”,”Consumer technology”]
Steve Ballmer color photograph

Steve Ballmer, pictured here, is an American businessman who is the former CEO of Microsoft and the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.


The owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association also happens to be responsible for the creation of Microsoft’s cultural hit, Xbox. As of July 2021, he is also ranked as the ninth richest person in the world.

Who is Steve Ballmer

Steven Anthony “Steve” Ballmer is an American businessman known for serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft from January 2000 to February 2014. He spent the 34 years of his career working directly for Microsoft. He was the 30th employee hired at the company. After his long tenure at Microsoft, Steve purchased the Los Angeles Clippers. He currently spends time fostering his passion for basketball and investing in philanthropic opportunities with his wife.

Early Life

Steve Ballmer was born on March 24, 1956, in Detroit, Michigan to Frederic Henry Ballmer and Beatrice Dworkin. He has one sister, Shelly. His father was an affluent manager at the Ford Motor Company. Steve Ballmer lead a rich life at a young age.

He grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and attended a private college preparatory school, Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Michigan. During his school days, he attended college prep advanced courses at Lawrence Technological University. He graduated from Detroit Country Day School as valedictorian.

He continued his studies at Harvard University where he met and became friends with Bill Gates. While attending Harvard, he managed the Harvard Crimson football team and worked with the Harvard Crimsons newspaper as well as the Harvard Advocate. In 1977, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts in applied mathematics and economics.

After a short stint at Procter & Gamble, Ballmer attempted to write screenplays while residing in Hollywood. After a while, he quit writing to continue his education at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He did not complete this next tour of education due to being hired by Bill Gates as a business manager for the early age of the company, Microsoft.


Steve Ballmer may have a shortlist of employers on his resume, but he has decades of experience and lofty job titles. He spent a few years after his college graduation finding the right work for him. By 1980 he found his home in Microsoft.

Procter & Gamble

Ballmer worked as an Assistant Product Manager at Procter & Gamble for two years after graduating. He shared an office with Jeff Immelt, future CEO of General Electric.


After a short artistic period of writing screenplays in Hollywood, Ballmer dropped out of Stanford Graduate School of Business to accept an offer from Bill Gates to join Microsoft as the 30th employee on June 11, 1980. He was the first business manager Gates hired.

Balmer is a Detroit native whose father was a manager at Ford Motor Corp.


8% Stock Holder

Ballmer was instrumental in the reorganization of Microsoft during its incorporation in 1981. As part of the creation of stocks, he was given 8% of the companies holdings. He held onto all of his stake holdings until 2003 when sold 39.3 million shares. It reduced his ownership to 4% which he still maintains today.

Operating System Development Head in the 1980s

During the rise of Microsoft as a technological giant, Ballmer headed the team of developers working on an operating system for a contract with IBM. This is what lead to the creation of MS-DOS and later Microsoft Windows.

Executive Vice President, Sales and Support

In February of 1992, he was placed in the led of a group of in house developers working on the .NET framework. As Executive Vice President of sales and support, he was able to spearhead the .NET project.

President of Microsoft

From July 1998 to February 2001, Steve Ballmer was the second in command of Microsoft, only answering to then CEO Bill Gates. It was in this position that he found himself analyzing how the company was operating financially. He also gained an insight into future technologies Microsoft needed to be competitive in.

Chief Executive Officer

In January 2000, Ballmer was named the CEO of Microsoft. Under his leadership, Microsoft began to let developers experiment with a diversified product range. This included Microsoft’s iconic early age contribution to gaming consoles, the Xbox, and their niche iPod competitor, the Zune. Ballmer’s leadership was a financial success for Microsoft. The company saw its annual revenue increase from $25 billion to $70 billion and a net income increase of 215%.


Ballmer retired from his position of CEO of Microsoft in February 2014. He stepped down from the Board of Directors in August of the same year. Some have attributed this to his missteps with mobile development while he was in charge. However, he still retains a large stake in Microsoft stock. In his retirement announcement, Ballmer stated that his decision was based on the need for Microsoft to have new longer-term leadership for the company’s transition to a devices and services company.

In this commercial, circa 1986, a young Steve Ballmer excitedly touts the capabilities of Microsoft Windows 1.0.

What Did Steve Ballmer Create/Do?

Most of Steve Ballmer’s achievements are centered around his accomplishments as an employee of Microsoft. His wife has also involved him in different philanthropic donations.

Tripled Microsoft Annual Revenue

During his tenure as CEO, he saw the rise of the company’s annual revenue increase from $25 billion to $70 billion. In effect, this increase caused the value in his stock holdings to increase. Thus his success with the management of Microsoft also created his vast wealth.

Headed the Development of Microsoft Operating Systems

Ballmer spearheaded the project by leading a team of in house developers of an Operating System for an IBM contract. This operating system became MS-DOS. Over time, this development led to Windows and helped to shape the modern reality of computing user interfaces. It is also worth noting that during his tenure at Microsoft he promoted many diversified projects like Xbox and Zune.


In 2017, he launched the USAFacts.org website as a non-profit organization with the goal of educating people on US government revenue, spending, and societal impact. He has reportedly contributed $10 million to fund research teams to gather information to fill the website’s database with official and factual data.

Philanthropic Donations

Throughout the years, Ballmer has donated to a few different organizations. Among which, he donated $50 million to the University of Oregon. He also donated a gift estimated at $60 million to Harvard University’s computer science department.

He also serves on the World Chairman’s Council of the Jewish National Fund. This means he has donated at least $1 million or more to the JNF.

Steve Ballmer on stag

Steve Ballmer is pictured here, speaking to an audience at the opening of the Worldwide Microsoft Partner Conference (WPC) in Houston, Texas, in the summer of 2013.

©Oleg Anisimov/Shutterstock.com

Steve Ballmer: Relationships and Personal Life

Ballmer doesn’t lead a particularly private life, though his family members have chosen to be more private. As he respects their wishes, only a certain amount of personal information can be obtained about Steve Ballmer and his family.

Net Worth

Ballmer became the ninth person to reach the exclusive $100 billion net worth club. He is estimated to currently own a 4% stake in Microsoft stock or roughly 333 million shares. This combined with the $2.6 billion valuations of the LA Clippers makes Steve Ballmer an incredibly wealthy man.


Steve Ballmer married Connie Snyder in 1990. They continue their relationship today as partners in philanthropic endeavors. Connie Ballmer is the co-founder of Partners for Our Children which is based in Washington state. As a public relations executive, Connie has a history of involvement in charities.

Currently, she is a general partner and founding investor at Blue Meridian Partners and Co-Founder of Ballmer Group. She also serves on the Obama Foundation, StriveTogether, and Los Angeles Clippers Foundation boards. She received the University of Oregon’s Pioneer Award in 2019. She was also inducted into the School of Journalism’s Hall of Achievement.


Steve and Connie Ballmer have three sons — Sam, Peter, and Aaron Ballmer. All three of Steve’s sons attended and completed college that the public is aware of. His youngest, Aaron Ballmer, has chosen to lead a more private life that doesn’t include sharing his place of education though it is thought that he is pursuing an athletic career. Peter Ballmer graduated from Stanford University with a degree in computer science in 2017. Sam Ballmer graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in cognitive science.

Steve Ballmer: Awards and Achievements

Ballmer’s greatest achievement may be his fame and recognition. However, he has been given one title and just recently was afforded recognition for his wealth.

Knight of the Legion of Honor

Steve Ballmer was appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honor by then French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2011. The award is generally given to American veterans who risked their lives fighting in French territory during World War II. However, the French President thought the efforts of Microsoft to improve business and the quality of life across the globe deserved the title.

Ninth to Join $100 Billion Club

In 2021, Steve Ballmer has seen his net worth go over $100 billion. Though it is not stably secure over the $100 billion mark, he is only the ninth person in the United States history to achieve this.

Steve Ballmer’s Quotes

• “Great companies in the way they work, start with great leaders.”
• “Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.”
• “We don’t have a monopoly. We have market share. There’s a difference.”
• “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”
• “I think our leadership team is a highly accountable leadership team.”
• “I don’t know what a monopoly is until somebody tells me.”
• “I liked football a lot, too, but basketball clearly is my first love.”
• “You’ve got to remember there’s intense competition between Microsoft and Amazon.”
• “We will make our products work out of the box.”
• “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”
• “We can believe that we know where the world should go. But unless we’re in touch with our customers, our model of the world can diverge from reality. There’s no substitute for innovation, of course, but innovation is no substitute for being in touch, either.”
• “Accessible design is good design.”
• “I think it would be absolutely reckless and irresponsible for anyone to try and break up Microsoft.”
• “I think Amazon is a place where people don’t want to work.”

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where did Steve Ballmer go to Business School?

Steve Ballmer graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in applied mathematics and economics. He did later attend Stanford Graduate School of Business but did not complete further education. He left Stanford to join Bill Gates as Microsoft’s 30th employee.

What does Steve Ballmer do now?

Steve Ballmer is the owner and manager of the Los Angeles Clippers, a professional NBA team. He purchased the team on August 12, 2014, for $2 billion.

How is Steve Ballmer as an NBA team owner?

Some scouts claim Steve Ballmer is the number one NBA team owner in the league. They cite his enthusiasm and willingness to spend money to achieve victory. Some are expecting a surprising turnaround for the Clipper’s performance.

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