Microsoft CEO-turned-Clippers owner Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers a month ago, and it’s not surprising what one of the first items on his agenda is.
Ballmer revealed in an interview with Reuters that he plans to ban iPads and other Apple products from the Clippers’ organization, both on the court and off during the season. Steve, though he stepped down from his position at Microsoft in February, is still the largest shareholder at the company. Ballmer’s 4 percent is reportedly worth over $15 billion.
Given Steve’s financial ties and loyalty to Microsoft, his Apple free policy is hardly a shock. The new owner noted that the issue was brought up early on by coach Doc Rivers.
“It’s one of the first things he said to me: ‘We are probably going to get rid of these iPads, aren’t we?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, we probably are,'” Ballmer recalled. “But I promised we would do it during the off-season.”
If the ban is implemented, Steve will likely focus on replacing iPads with Surface tablets. It seems, though, that Ballmer may have some trouble putting his former company’s products to use come game time, considering that Samsung signed a $100 million deal last year to become the official on-court electronics provider of the NBA. The three-year deal put Samsung TVs, tablets, and other devices in the hands of coaches, referees, and players during games. Ballmer may just have to save the Surface tablets for behind-the-scenes use.
Steve seems confident in his newly acquired franchise’s ability to emerge as a stronger unit following a rough end to their relationship with previous owner Donald Sterling. Sterling was famously banned from the NBA earlier this year, and was forced to sell his team after recordings of racist comments he made went public, an incident that followed years of lawsuits and allegations of racial discrimination.
“I think people understand we are a different kind of team,” Ballmer said of his players. “We are born in a funny way, and the guys have all had to live through something not only on the court but off the court together that requires a deeper kind of commitment.”
Steve Ballmer acquired the L.A. Clippers from Shelly Sterling, Donald’s wife and 50 percent shareholder of the team, after a tense bidding war that ended with Ballmer outbidding a couple of Los Angeles investors as well as the David Geffen-owned Guggenheim Group. Steve bought the team for $2 billion even though the team is supposedly only worth slightly over $500 million.
Late last month, Steve turned heads at a fan rally after buying the franchise when he made a boisterous speech to players and fans. Let’s hope that Ballmer’s famously loud and outgoing personality doesn’t get the best of him if someone at the Staples Center is caught using an iPad.
Steve was the CEO of Microsoft for 14 years before stepping down.
[Image via Google]