Steve Ballmer talks LA Clippers, Satya Nadella and Microsoft... Just don't ask him about Bill Gates

Former Microsoft boss admits there were some intense discussions and the pair "dusted up many times"

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Steve Ballmer won't be inviting Bill Gates to a Clippers game anytime soon.

The former Microsoft chief executive went on CBS This Morning on Tuesday and discussed everything from the LA Clippers to Satya Nadella's comments on why female employees shouldn't ask for a pay rise because it's not "good karma".

Just don't ask him about his relationship with Gates.

Ballmer admitted the two "dusted up many times"- but refused to discuss details and quickly moved on to a different subject.

Earlier this month, Vanity Fair reported the two no longer speak as a result of "the bad blood" surrounding his resignation and the acquisition of Nokia.

Ballmer was determined to buy its mobile business but the board of directors, and then chairman Gates, was unsure.

He reportedly lost his temper at a Microsoft meeting and shouted he couldn't stay at the helm if the board did not support his decision. Microsoft bought Nokia's mobile phone business for $7.2bn (£4.6bn) last year.


Ballmer served as chief executive for 14 years and remains Microsoft's largest individual shareholder. He was replaced by Satya Nadella, who recently sparked anger after he claimed women in the tech industry should trust the system and not ask for rise.

Describing him as a "lovely" person, Ballmer argued Nadella was referring to his own personal experience, although it was "probably not what that group needed to hear at that time" considering he was speaking at a summit about female leadership.

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"When you’re the CEO of a big company, you have to be thinking about sort of seven dimensions of everything you say," he added. "Satya spoke about his personal experience was — actually he allowed good karma to happen and good things happened to him."

Ballmer, a life-long basketball fan, also discussed his record $2 billion acquisition of the LA Clippers after former owner Donald Sterling was pressured to sell the NBA franchise after he was caught on record making racist remarks.

Discussing his record offer after three failed attempts to buy an NBA team, he added: "I paid what I had to pay. I tried before. It's like everything, it's version three before we get it right."

"I came wanting the team. I had no clue how to do this. It all got cobbled together. ... I knew what I was willing to pay," he added.