As Jane Snorek, analyst at Minneapolis-based First American Funds, says, Ballmer will now be left alone to bear the brunt of the scrutiny over Microsoft's failure to impress Wall
Street. "The No. 1 judgment of a CEO is the stock," the Microsoft shareholder said. "The stock hasn't recovered."
How can Ballmer revive Microsoft's shares? Finding a firm footing in online advertising, which the company has long indicated will be its primary focus moving forward, would be a good start. Of course, that will be tough now that Yahoo, the world's biggest seller of display advertising, has slipped through the company's hands. That acquisition would have immediately established the software giant as the No. 2 contender in the $65.2 billion industry.