Mary Jo Foley’s exit interview with Steve Ballmer is going along just fine until the last question, when it sort of goes off the rails:
Q: One more question on timing. Does your announcement today tell us anything about what to expect, earning-wise, for Q1 FY 2014 for Microsoft. Is it going to be nothing to write home about, as some have been whispering in my ear?
Ballmer: We don’t comment on a quarter. We would never comment on a quarter. No chance we’ll comment on a quarter. So I can’t answer your question.
Does anything about this timing, however, have anything to do about anything short term, the answer is absolutely no.
The timing here is all (the fact that) these things come in waves. We have kicked off, the leadership team and I have kicked off a new wave. And in looking at that and saying to myself, can I last deep enough into this — can I last isn’t the right way to say it — do my personal plans sort of fit with me lasting far enough that I’m not leaving in now mid-wave, kickoff’s fine but not leaving mid-wave, the timing is all about that. I mean, summer is the kind of time we would do — this would happen anyway, because summer is when we write our personnel reviews, summer is when we sort of do our long term contemplation. So that’s all been consistent, if you will. So there’s nothing short term about the selection of timing, and I just refuse to even say anything that relates to your actual question.