The Microsoft of 1989 was awash with talent, the brilliance was as tangible as the phoniness was later. We were treated with exemplary consideration and given every opportunity to succeed. The real change didn’t come with Ballmer, by then the damage was already done; it may have been the IPO since selling to customers willing to learn to use software wasn’t going to maximize shareholder value, so the books disappeared from the boxes and Keyboard Help disappeared from the Help menu. “Click” became “just click.”
But in my experience it was the expansion that started with Windows 3.0 that transformed MS from a software business to a business business, and they forgot, astonishingly quickly, what had made them great.