It's true. That's why baby startups (the ones that you've heard of, anyway) always seem to over-deliver, and lumbering enterprises often seem to disappoint. Relative to baby startups, big companies have brand recognition, cash on the books, pools of talent, and partners clamoring to work with them. They are the equivalent of the wealthy Anglo-Saxon male Etonite and Harvardian descended from the time of the Mayflower, outlandishly advantaged (though invisibly constrained in other ways). Given these assets, moderate success usually carries the odor of failure.
Microsoft is wildly successful. Not "was", but "is". $100B+ in cash and current assets on the books, according to their last annual filing, $78B in revenue, $27B in operating income, $22B in net income.
I'm sure they wish their stock price was higher and less volatile, but generally any sane person would conclude they're not going bankrupt any time soon. They have Office, Windows, Surface, Xbox, and above all, a giant ogre's foot wedged into every nook and cranny of the enterprise, one that won't be soon unseated.
But shhhh watch out, they're comin' to storm the castle. Who's they? Everyone. The enterprise is the next gold rush. The last one, in the consumer space, will soon become saturated. The reluctant enterprise who's been like a wallflower swaying on the sidelines will be lured into the dance.
Ballmer's successor will have to get Microsoft to dance. This is the tough bit - how to be just arrogant enough. Bold, swashbuckling and visionary on one hand, enough to get people to want to dance with you, while being warm-eyed, trustworthy and ready to learn, so the lady will come.
It's the marker of great designers, strategists and leaders - the ability to be just arrogant enough. Someone needs to hold the complete vision in his head, with the courage of his (or her) conviction as the market beats him down, the analysts call him a dunce, investments get thrown away, and whole divisions get fired.. That same person needs to be able to evolve that vision, humbly - with the input of his team, as the landscape shifts under his feet, in combinatorial iterations and learning through market tests and failures.
I don't envy Ballmer's successor. It does sound like some fun though.