No one can sell Windows like Steve Ballmer can sell Windows

15 Sep 2015

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer fronted ad campaigns for Windows software in the eighties. Photo via imagemaker/Shutterstock

The former Microsoft CEO known for his passionate displays appeared in an ’80s ad for Windows 1.0, and it’s fantastic.

In 1980, Steve Ballmer dropped out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business to join his friend Bill Gates’ company. He was Microsoft’s 30th employee and the first business manager to be hired by Gates.

He’s also one of the most passionate employees a tech company has ever had, and he was not afraid to show it.

Ballmer went on to serve 34 years at Microsoft, 14 of them as its CEO. When he announced his retirement in 2013, he did it with a tearful goodbye at his last employee meeting complete with Dirty Dancing’s Time of My Life as a finisher.

And that’s Ballmer’s trademark: bringing a new – almost manic – level of excitement and emotion to any presentation.

He didn’t keep this larger-than-life personality behind the closed doors of the office, either, and Ballmer himself was the front man advertising Windows 1.0 after its release in 1985.

Many thanks to Jane Ruffino for bringing this wonderful video to my attention

Yes, this ad knowingly plays on clichés, but with Ballmer in the mix we are beyond parody. You can sense he believes in Windows 1.0 more than he believes in the joke, which makes the whole thing even more entertaining.

(Oh, and if you’re wondering about the ‘except in Nebraska’ line, that’s an old advertising meme the Microsoft gang hooked in for a laugh, those jokers.)

Microsoft’s latest ads for Windows 10 aren’t without laughs, but software advertising will never again see the passion of Steve Ballmer.

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Steve Ballmer image by imagemaker via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic