Wall Street seems to be whipping up an angry mob ready to storm the Redmond Bastille and guillotine King Steve Ballmer.
Wall Street analysts and fund managers are furious that Vole’s share price is as mobile as a sleeping elephant and King Ballmer is sitting on a bulging cash hoard telling the shareholders to eat cake.
Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who has been ordering a halving of the company’s share price in his 11-year tenure, met with Wall Street and investors and totally failed to mention doing anything nice for them.
Microsoft currently pays a 2.5 percent dividend. It is not bad but given there is all that cash it seems a bit Scrooge-like for Ballmer to sit on it.
The company is expected to raise its quarterly dividend modestly next week but has shown no indication that it will bow to investor demands to double its dividend.
Chief financial officer Peter Klein said returning cash to shareholders was one of the company’s main goals, however, he failed to mention when he was going to do that.
Part of Vole’s problem is that most of its cash is sitting overseas and it can’t pay shareholders without being taxed to the skies.
Ballmer ignored a call by hedge fund manager David Einhorn. He called for his removal and the sale of the online services unit, including Bing. The unit has lost more than $6 billion in the last three years.
Ballmer has said that he was not selling Bing or dropping the slow-growing smartphone business.
He said that he did not love where Microsoft was, it just had to “kick this thing to the next level.” It’s like throwing chairs up the stairs.