AAPL Stock: 117.81 ( -0.22 )

Printed from

Microsoft CEO bonus cut for Kin flop, lack of iPad rival

updated 09:10 am EDT, Fri October 1, 2010

Ballmer bonus lowered for Kin and Windows Mobile

A new Microsoft SEC filing published late Thursday revealed that the company punished its CEO Steve Ballmer for his inability to turn around the company's struggling mobile efforts so far. The proxy statement notes that his total compensation of $1.35 million, including a $670,000 base salary and a matching bonus, was lower than in 2008 due to the "unsuccessful launch of the Kin" and "a loss of market share" for Windows Mobile. The Compensation Committee singled out the absence of a real Windows tablet rival through a need to "take advantage of new form factors."

The company's fiscal year, which ended in June, was one of the worst to date for the mobile space. Although in development since 2008, the Kin was pulled after just over six weeks of sales and amounted to a $240 million write-off before including the $500 million to buy Danger. Windows Mobile's ramp down is partly intentional as Microsoft is rebooting the platform with Windows Phone 7 and is investing $500 million in marketing to spark new interest.

The company's tablet performance has also become an increasing problem. Ballmer said his company is committed to tablets but has yet to see a mainstream, widely available Windows or Windows Embedded tablet in the vein of the iPad. While Microsoft hasn't usually disclosed its estimates for sales of conventional Windows tablets, estimates have put it at 1.25 million for all of 2010, or less than half the iPads Apple shipped just in the spring alone. Most efforts aren't due until the very end of the year or early 2011, such as the long delayed HP Slate 500 and one version of ASUS' Eee Pad.

Also mentioned in the filing was that the since departed Entertainment and Devices President Robbie Bach was paid more than the CEO; while he was faulted for Windows Mobile as well, he was compensated $1.75 million before his resignation through the successes of the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh boo hoo

    He screwed up everything he came in contact with and he still gets $1.35 million. Some punishment.

    They should fire his @$$ and bring in someone who has, I don't know, what do you call that thing? Oh yeah VISION. An idea of where the industry is going. A clue how to make Microsoft work again.

    I'm no fan of MS. But they are a big player and a lot of my friends are dependant on them getting their act together. Right now Microsoft reminds me of GM in the 1970s: A bloated top heavy company making mediocre, bloated top heavy products.

  1. sammaffei

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give me a million bucks + a year...

    I'll run that ship tighter than that buffoon ever could. And, there will be no "monkey boy" antics from me. Or, statements like the iPod / iPhone / iPad will never take off.

    Ballmer has no clue.

  1. phillymjs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They're JUST NOW penalizing him...

    ...for his lackluster performance???

    I guess the Compensation Committee is three years too late to make an impact, too!

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I think he's getting overpaid based on MS's

    stock price performance which will likely get worse as Windows 7 licenses are cut back from various sources. However, I don't want to see him get fired. He's helping Apple just where he is. I don't think that Microsoft can afford to take any risks right now and they need to see how well the WinPho 7 platform performs for them before taking on any new projects. I don't think WinPho 7 will flop but it will take quite a while to gain traction against the onslaught of Android. Why would vendors switch when they've already got a good thing going with free and open Android. I'm sure they'll offer some small percentage of WinPho 7 handsets, but it might be just a half-hearted effort. Microsoft would be in serious trouble if WinPho sales remained low for a few quarters. Shareholders would certainly lose confidence and consider pulling out. This holiday will be quite a test for Microsoft. I'm certain that this quarter's results won't be pleasant to see.

  1. redcapzero

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    One can give CPR for just so long before...

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Reduce His Compensation Zero ...

    ... until he performs. Then we'll see how committed he really is.

    He remains the best thing Microsoft has ever done for Apple. But I still think he can do more ... for Apple. Hope they keep him around long enough to take MS down a few billion more pegs.

  1. makesense

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fire him

    MS has perhaps squandered its resources beyond recovery. With all that money, they accomplished so little. MS has solidified its humdrum status. MS needs a major shakeup. I promoted to Bill Gates the idea of GPS units for various specified purposes long before iPhone etc. No response. I promoted with VPs of MS the fruitfulness of better implementing the 'graphics' space. Again, no (constructive) response from higher ups. I finally gave up.

  1. HappySlug

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Somewhat Refreshing

    I find it somewhat refreshing to hear of a company that actually penalizes it's management for under performing. Yeah, he still gets a hefty sum, but at least they didn't give him a bonus for MS's continued mediocrity. I'd like to see this for all corporations!

    The big question marks for MS now are will Windows Phone 7 catch on and compete or just stop the Windows Mobile market share erosion and will anyone produce a successful tablet running Win 7 or Win Phone 7? At this point all the development seems to be focused on Android and WebOS. Time will tell.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    this is unfair

    since when has ms. had any vision? their entire success has been based on taking what others do and copying and bullying their way in (or investing (buying)) their way in.
    ballmer is doing that. he's committed billions and billions to the new phone, the new tablets, to search, to the zune, to xbox, to the cloud, to...
    give him 10 years for crying out loud. i'm sure they'll make an impression at some point.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Problem #1

    I've always felt Ballmer was the #1 reason for Microsoft's steady advance into mediocrity. I remember thinking that it was such a mistake the day they announced his ascension & Gates' eventual retirement. At least Gates was always thinking ahead, if even it was often misplaced or misguided. But Ballmer just sits around announcing the same old tired cliches about how great Microsoft is and how bad everyone else spite of the contrary.

    If not for the incredible good fortune of having the greatest cash cow of all-time...Windows...this company would've been bankrupt years ago under this lard-a**' leadership! As it is, a monkey could run this corporation...and does!! >>>


Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented