Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage at Code Conference on Tuesday and talked about why he owns a large position in Twitter.
“There’s a real opportunity to make that a valuable economic asset,” said Ballmer, defending his decision to invest in what has been a volatile ride for the social media company. He believes in its potential because it “gives people a chance to communicate directly with the people they want to talk to in the world.”
At one point Ballmer owned 4 percent of the company, but he declined to say how much he still owns, just referring to it as a “large percentage.”
He denied rumors that Microsoft tried to acquire Twitter when he was at the helm, but did think it was possible that they’ll end up getting bought. “The business over time will either get sorted through or it will be an appropriately valuable asset for somebody to buy,” he said.
Ballmer also echoed a common concern that it would be too difficult for Jack Dorsey to remain CEO of both companies. “Being a CEO of two things I can’t even imagine.”
Don’t expect Ballmer to be making more investments. He said that he changed his mind about stock investing right now and he’s “back to bonds and index funds.”
He also talked about why he recently launched USAFacts, a website that keep tabs on government spending. He explained that the project stemmed from his frustration that budget data wasn’t as easy to find as a corporate 10-K (business annual filing).
“It was almost impossible to find this stuff,” Ballmer said about his search for a detailed breakdown of government spending. So he hopes that his site will be a resource for policymakers, journalists and anybody who is curious where their tax money is going.
Ballmer now spends a lot of his time with the Los Angeles Clippers, an NBA basketball team that he owns. He talked about how he “hates” seeing people looking at their phones at the games and that he’s been looking at augmented reality to improve the experience in the arena.