An interesting NYTimes story on the “softer” Microsoft and Steve Ballmer:
The newest Ballmer buzzword is ”wallow,” as in what you’ve got to do to solve a really tough, complicated problem — take days, weeks even, to ”wallow” in it, with all the hippo connotations of tremendous physical presence and without the traditional Microsoft pressure to right then and there devise and implement some genius solution. In the old days, Ballmer, say his current colleagues, would sight-read your spreadsheets and tell you that what you were doing was simply wrong. Now Ballmer prefers to wallow.
Within Microsoft, the tightly disciplined members of the executive staff are very much on message. They are deadly earnest in their conviction that Ballmer doesn’t yell anymore. Instead of dominating all discussions, they say, he asks leading questions designed to teach his charges how to approach problems.