Ronald N. Levy (Oct. 29, 2013): Microsoft will be needing PR more but doing less.
More PR will be needed to avoid damaging uncertainty, arising from the change in management, among customers, investors, dealers, employees, programmers, suppliers and Microsoft plant communities.
It's not just a "I wonder what's gonna be" curiosity but genuine uncertainty--dangerous to Microsoft--over "do we have too many eggs in this one basket"? A community may be slower to build new roads that help Microsoft. A supplier may not be so sure "we're a team"--and offer prices that attract other customers to better diversify the supplier's risk. Investors may look, though there are no sure things in investing, for what may be closer to a sure thing.
Any uncertainty among customers, even if moderate, can hurt Microsoft sales as it seeks to invade related fields in which it is far from the dominant player now--and as potential rivals look at where Microsoft might be vulnerable.
Top employees and potential hires--the superstars that every top tech firm would LOVE to hire--may have less incentive to sign on or stay with Microsoft if the management change creates uncertainty but there's no uncertainty over the lavish rewards other employers are
What's important but not immediately obvious is that staffers have cash value just as professional athletes have cash value to their teams. It costs real money to hire and train 43 employees good enough to deserve jobs at mighty WaggEd. You pay not only for recruiting and training the 43 but--to replace them eventually--you pay for the 43 or 86 or 172 other employees you have to hire and
train before you realize that they are not as good as you need.
Loss would be apparent if 5% of a company's factories or computers were destroyed by flood, and top quality employees--good enough to deserve jobs at WaggEd--may cost more to replace than factory buildings or computers. With hard goods you just order and pay and you don't have the cost of trying several replacemengts to find what works well enough.
"They can always hire more," a client may reason about a PR firm forced to lay off employees, but notice that a revolving door costs the client money, not just the PR firm, because the client gets less performance until the new people are up to speed and the "they just didn't work out" hires are out the door.
One can wonder whether deep, deep down in Ballmer's heart--in a place he doesn't talk about or even perhaps think about--he's hoping the next chief won't be as successful as he has been and he is doing things in PR and elsewhere to make future success tougher.
Brian M (Oct. 29, 2013): It's not just WaggEd, but a lot of the large agencies are constantly re-working their social media practices - and not just once, it's two or three times since their inceptions over the past few years. It's why a lot of social business is going to the mid-sized, even smaller firms. Big agencies can't seem to get the right plan for a big SM practice in place.
Veep (Oct. 29, 2013): Something about putting all your eggs in one basket seems appropriate here.