The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft - 4. Steve Ballmer
4. Steve Ballmer, CEO
Microsoft's chief executive isn't the company's chief influencer. In fact, his influence is declining as he takes on more of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' outside speaking and customer engagements. Ballmer is still the man in charge--and he's a reckoning force--but his responsibilities are increasingly larger than day-to-day operations.
Among Microsoft's 70,000-plus employees, there are many influential people. Twenty-five is too small a number to capture the best of the best among a large group of creative people. But Microsoft corporate culture also is very staid and insular, with a top-heavy power structure. Therefore, for this list, I focused more on operational influencers, although there are some thought leaders included. By Joe Wilcox, Microsoft Watch