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Microsoft CEO defends post-iPad actions, praises Surface

updated 06:45 pm EST, Wed November 28, 2012

Ballmer insinuates Wall Street to blame for slow stock price climb

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage at the company's annual shareholders meeting, conceding that the Windows maker should have been "more proactive" in coming to market with an iPad competitor. Also in the meeting, Ballmer suggested that he had done all he could to drive the company's stagnant stock up -- but it was not Microsoft's failures, but Wall Street's inability to recognize improvement, that prevented investment growth.

"We're innovating on the seam between software and hardware," responded Ballmer to a shareholder's question as to why the company had fallen behind Apple. "Maybe we should have done that earlier."

"We see nothing but a sea of upside," Ballmer said, referring to the company's recent foray into the tablet market with the Surface. "I feel pretty good about our level of innovation," he added. Microsoft has still not released sales figures for the first iteration of the Windows RT tablet.

Ballmer and Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein were asked by a group of shareholders to explain Microsoft's stock price, which has been essentially growth-free for a decade. "I understand your comment," Klein responded. Ballmer believes that Microsoft had "done a phenomenal job of driving product volumes" and was focusing on profiting from sales growth. "The stock market's kind of a funny thing," he said, adding that Microsoft had handed back $10 billion in dividends and share buybacks to investors in the last fiscal year, with little expected stock price increase from the move during that time.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Mr. Strat

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 01-23-02

    Sure, it's not Monkey Boy's fault. It never is.

  1. apostle

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-16-08

    Excuses, excuses. It's somebody else's fault. That's real leadership!

    As CEO he is 100% responsible for his own actions or inactions and for the actions, or inactions, of those who have been hired to perform a particular task within the company. If they don't perform to your standards, hire someone who will.

    Clearly Ballmer lacks the job skills to be CEO. He has spent the past 10 years allowing MS to become more and more irrelevant. It's way past time they hired someone else as CEO. Investors should demand it.


  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    As long as Ballmer is at Microsoft, I'll be happy.

  1. baggy_pants

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-30-07

    To paraphrase Balmer, 'Nobody wants a smartphone without a keyboard' and 'nobody wants a touchscreen without a stylus' to name 2 blunders.

    Using focus groups to create products results in massive shareholder loss on products like the 'kin'. People don't know what they want until they have it. Dream it up, invent it, then try it out.

  1. Laphroaig

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-09-08

    The 2 biggest reasons that APPL is where it is today are:
    1. Steve Jobs
    2. Steve Balmer
    Hang in there Monkey Boy
    I and my AAPL stock are rooting for you! May you have many, many, more glorious years at Microsoft!

  1. jfgilbert

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-19-10

    Apple is not the threat to Microsoft, and Ballmer knows it. The clueless investors compare MSFT to AAPL because they were competing 30 years ago, but today it is meaningless. Google is much more likely to eat their lunch because they are the ones who will displace Windows servers, SQL servers, LDAP servers, Exchanges servers, Sharepoint servers, and all the other infrastructure pieces that keep MS in the entreprise, justify Office, and make so much recurring revenue for MS.
    Apple will continue to make tons of money by making products that people want to buy, not ecosystems that fewer and fewer entreprises will want to invest in.

  1. macmediausa

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-23-05

    The biggest threat to Microsoft is Ballmer himself. They need new blood there. Obviously if the stock hasn't moved in 10 years then someone else needs to come to the helm and turn things around.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    @fgilbert, Google doesn't have any products that compete with Microsoft's variety of infrastructure products. There are Linux products that do but Google doesn't offer them. Equating Goggle with Linux doesn't work. Yes, Google could repackage some open source Linux distros, and hopefully would get in trouble if they try and sell them, but I don't sell them doing that )or getting away with it). Google still is a threat to Microsoft but not in the areas you mentioned.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    If only Ballmer were used to be Apple board of director and saw what Schmidt had saw inside Apple secret dungeon, thing would had turned out differently from Microsoft. But still happy Apple is ahead of the game after all those decades long of being nobody.

  1. ElectroTech

    Junior Member

    Joined: 11-26-08

    "The stock market's kind of a funny thing," Of course it is. When you do nothing innovative for 10 years, the market gets excited and buys lots of your stock and pushes the price up, right???

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