The Orange County Business Journal has awarded none other than Blizzard's own Mike Morhaime with the runner up for their Businessperson of the Year award (the main award went to some CEO of an investment company, much more boring than running a fantasy world full of orcs and elves). The Journal cite's Blizzard's huge successes in a rough financial year as reason for Morhaime's honor.
The paper isn't quite completely familiar with what Blizzard does (did you know Diablo III was "released" in June of last year? Don't know why I haven't seen it on store shelves yet!), but there are a few interesting tidbits in there for us, including the fact that WoW was so popular on its original release day that Blizzard had to bring employee copies out to their Fry's to sell them to hungry fans. And Morhaime talks a bit about Blizzard being part of Activision, and reveals the biggest change we've heard of yet since the takeover: "The big difference here is we are one step closer to the public markets. It requires that we spend more time than we used to in educating analysts and investors about Blizzard, where we used to be able to not deal with that side of the business."
So hopefully Blizzard's higherups aren't spending too much time trying to sell stock rather than making great games. He does reiterate, however, that Activision has continued to be hands off (especially as long as Blizzard is making so much money for them), so a lot of the things that fans have guessed are Activision influences are probably decisions that Blizzard themselves have already made. Still, success is success -- pretty good for a guy who started out writing test software for Western Digital. Congrats to Morhaime on the award.
*Don't call it that.