Tag: Steve Ballmer

Microsoft futures get talked down

Despite the fact that staff are almost in open revolt, the company runs like a feudal kingdom of warring departments and the outfit is not making an impact in the mobile market, Microsoft is still a money spinner.

But Wall Street analysts are getting a bit disturbed about how the press is talking Redmond down and it is seriously affecting the outfit’s share price.

In a research note, Jefferies & Co. analyst Katherine Egbert noted that everyone is comparing Apple with Microsoft, usually with Jobs’ Mob being touted as “bigger than Microsoft”.

The effect has been that as the iPad has generated some $2 billion in sales since its April launch, yet Microsoft has lost $50 billion in market since the device came on the market.

Microsoft shares now fetch a lower valuation than IBM, but Microsoft is still growing faster with expected 2011 revenue and earnings growth of 7.5 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively, versus four percent and 9.2 percent for IBM.

While Egbert said that the iPad will likely steal sales from Windows devices, she notes that with Windows tablets on the way, the market is exaggerating the Apple threat.

Shares of Microsoft are $24.39, but Egbert says that based on Redmond’s growth and profits the price should be about $36.

No doubt there is trouble in Microsoft.  It is in need of a restructuring and a cull of senior management.  However, even in its broken state it is still making huge amounts of cash.  It is a wonder what it would do if it pulled its finger out and concentrated harder.

Leaked documents show Microsoft's plans for Windows 8

An Italian Windows website,  Windowsette, has got its paws on a confidential PowerPoint presentation outlining many of Microsoft’s cunning plans for Windows 8.

The report, complete with its NDA, shows many of Microsoft’s thoughts for Windows 8 including the expected release date of “sometime in 2012”.

It seems that Microsoft is changing the method identifying a user. Instead of just having the traditional, “admin,” “user,” “guest” accounts everything will be be customised for individual users.

Redmond is looking at integrating facial recognition technologies to log users into computers automatically.

As expected Microsoft wants to connect Windows accounts to the cloud so that all your data can follow you from system to system. Although it will mean that all your data will belong to Steve Ballmer.

The presentation said that Microsoft wants the boot process of Windows 8 to be as fast as possible so that it is as close to instant-on as possible.

Taking a leaf from Apple’s book, Microsoft is proposing setting up a windows App store. This will mean that punters will be able to find trusted Apps online.

There are some ideas about having a “Windows Reset” feature that would back up a user’s files and reformat the system in case of some sort of system problem. If this happens, apps bought from the App Store could be reinstalled and not have to be rebought. 

Ballmer is not the richest CEO wizard in the world

While there have been calls for the axe to fall on the shy and retiring Microsoft CEO Steve “there is a kind of hush” Ballmer, it seems that his salary is falling behind those of his peers.

The Seattle Times  ran a yarn about the 20 highest-paid chief executives in the Pacific Northwest. What was interesting is that “the Voice” of Microsoft didn’t even make the top 20.

The top of the list was Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, whose total 2009 compensation of $14,971,152 while James Bianco of Cell Therapeutics was a Number two with $12,592,030.

Clearwire CEO William Morrow collected $11,657,360 and Micron Technology CEO Steven Appleton netted $8,190,239 and Nike CEO Mark Parker $7,113,383.

Ballmer, on the other hand only managed a measly $1,265,833, according to a Microsoft filing with the US  Securities and Exchange Commission.

What is perhaps strange is Ballmer’s lieutenants would have made the list, had they been CEOs. Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell, former Entertainment and Devices Division President Robbie Bach, Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner all made more cash than their supreme Dalek.

Still Steve can take pride in the fact that he is still one of the richest people in the world. He ranked Number 33 on Forbes’ 2010 list. Forbes estimates that on a good day Steve is worth $14.5 billion.

We guess if you are already sitting on a huge pile of cash, and Microsoft shares, your salary is basically paying you to keep or increase its value.  In other words you are being paid to keep being paid.  

Gang of 12 IT executives sit on White House lawn

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen are leading a band of Industry heavyweights who are planning to poke Washington about what they consider is a piracy problem.

Steve, who will no doubt be bulking out the gravity of the situation, wants improvements to intellectual property protection and data protection laws.

The shin-dig has been arranged by the Business Software Alliance and it is the first time that it has ever got twelve leaders in one place.

The CEOs will meet with members of President Obama’s cabinet and several members of Congress.

Apparently everyone is concerned about software piracy in China. More than 79 percent of software used behind the bamboo curtain is illegally copied and most of it was written in the US, the BSA claims.

This means that each year they are out of pocket by $7.6 billion annually. To make matters worse, the number of PCs sold in China is rocketing and so the piracy rate grows like Topsy.

It seems that the BSA, Ballmer and the boys want the Obama administration and other government officials to give the Chinese government a Chinese burn until it adhere to intellectual property laws to the same standards as the rest of the world.

There are a few other problems that the gang of 12 wants to talk about. These include support for a national data breach notification law that trumps individual state laws.

This would exclude companies that take protective measures like encrypting data from having to make disclosures.

The BSA and its member companies wants renewal of a tax exemption on any R&D work.

Ballmer to world: Zuckerberg one of the "good guys"

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, legendary face of impromptu interpretive dance and really bad calls has publicly said that aspiring internet overlord and Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg isn’t a bad guy. No, he’s one of the good guys, reports TechFlash.

Ballmer was giving a talk at Microsoft’s Redmond campus for the Citizenship Accelerator Summit. At one point, he said of privacy, “bad guys only have to be right once to cause problems online, while the good guys are supposed to be right all the time.” Evan Hansen over at Wired.com asked Ballmer what he thought of Zuckerberg, amidst all the latest privacy woes and announcements, on the matter. Ballmer replied by saying:

“Bad guys are bad guys. OK? There are guys who are really trying to innovate and do interesting things where it’s complex. It’s hard. Mark is a good guy. Are they struggling with a set of issues? Sure, they’re struggling with a set of issues, and you should chat with those guys about it. But the notion that people are trying to do an innovative thing that advancea the state of the art, both in privacy and in communications, that’s kinda the way the system works, and if people don’t want to play on their property, they won’t play on their property.”

Zuckerberg has come out and admitted that he and his company has made some big mistakes on privacy, and saying that over the next couple of weeks new features will be rolled out to help make keeping private information private easier.

Still, while Ballmer seems to think good guys are good guys and bad guys are bad guys and that’s it, we’d like to remind him of a few noteable, real-life occassions where good guys have turned out to be bad guys. Some of them turned into good guys again, but listen, Ballmer, it’s just not that clear cut, ok!?!

Lando Calrissian
Everyone thought Lando was a totally great guy until he completely sold out his old friend Han Solo to Darth Vader’s goons. He said to Han and Leia that he had to sell them out to save his cool floating city but friends is friends. To his credit he got them out of a pickle later on and helped Leia and her friends to escape.

Matt Damon
Everyone thinks Matt Damon’s a cool kind of a guy, but did you ever see the Martin Scorsese documentary The Departed? It turns out that Matt Damon was once a police officer in Boston, Massachusetts, taking bungs from Irish mob boss Jack Nicholson!

Magneto
Introduced in the Marvel Comics series X-Men – appearing in the first issue in 1963 – Magneto is often portrayed as a clear-cut bad guy. But the truth is, Max Eisenhardt wasn’t always such a bad guy. He’s a Holocaust survivor and his main motivation is to save the mutant race from suffering a similar fate. You can find all the details here.

Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry never played by the rules but his intentions were good. He was clearly a sociopath, but I’ll be darned if he didn’t do a great job of tracking down Scorpio.

Microsoft wasted too many years on Vista

Shy and retiring, and very softly spoken Microsoft CEO Steve “there is a kind of hush” Ballmer has confessed to a room full of other CEO’s that he wished he had not wasted so much time trying to develop Vista.

Speaking before more than a hundred of his fellow hugely paid, suited chums, Ballmer said that Microsoft spent far too many years building the Windows Vista operating system.

According to the Seattle Times, Ballmer  said that Vista had been too big a task and Microsoft wound up losing thousands of man hours of “innovation”.

Steve mused quietly on the time frame for research and development and he wondered out loud how long a company should wait before it gave up the ghost on a turkey project.

“What is the right window for innovation? Six months? Ten years? Three years? We have bet on things that are too far in the future,” he said.

He did not say what they were.  The tame Apple press claim it was the fact that Microsoft spent a small fortune developing the tablet while the launch of Apple’s  iPad this year was “right on time”.

However, Ballmer said that Microsoft had been right on the ball with its Xbox video-game system.

Currently he is still betting the farm on cloud computing.  He said the cloud is where everyone will work.

He said millions of consumers are already using cloud-computing services such as on-demand movies, Facebook and iPhone apps.

But Ballmer admitted that many businesses are hesitating saying that they were not willing to trust their business yet,’ ” he said.  So maybe cloud computing is another Vista.

Microsoft hit by antitrust action again

Convicted monopolist Microsoft appears to be in trouble with the law again.

A Californian court has given the UK based Datel Design & Development the nod to take Microsoft to the cleaners on five of the six antitrust claims it filed against Microsoft.

The dispute is over Microsoft’s decision to lock-out Datel from flogging third-party Xbox 360 accessories.

Federal Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte denied all but one of Microsoft’s motions to throw out the case Datel brought to court in November.

Even that last claim could still go ahead if Datel amends it. That one was over Microsoft’s alleged monopolization of the Xbox Live market.

Datel floggs memory cards and controllers for the Xbox 360. It was shut out of the market after an October 2009 firmware update made its accessories incompatible with the popular video game console.

Redmond said it was a side effect of a crackdown on Xbox Live cheaters, shrugged and ignored the howls of protest.

Laporte rejected the software company’s argument that gamers agree to not use third-party accessories when they buy an Xbox 360 and receive their contract and warranty.

The Judge said that if Microsoft’s reading of the law were accepted, it would be impermissible to use the Xbox with a variety of accessories not manufactured by Microsoft, including televisions and music players.

Datel said the Staffordshire, England-based company will proceed with its lawsuit, which demands a jury trial and seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

Microsoft does not have much of a history of successful anti-trust hearings.

Oracle boss is the highest paid CEO

According to beancounters at executive compensation research firm Equilar,  Oracle’s Larry Ellison has emerged as the highest paid CEO in the US.Apparently Larry took home $84.5 million last year.

Out of the total compensation in 2009, Ellison received more than $78 million in stock and options.

Most of Ellison’s pay came in the form of stock option awards, which he has made use of recently. In 2008, Ellison exercised a stunning 36 million options, banking $543 million.

The total compensation includes actual salary received, discretionary and performance-based bonus payouts, the grant-date fair value of new stock and option award.

The maker of outragiously priced printer link HP’s Mark Hurd  was  ranked fourth.  He only made $24.2 million last year. At the tenth spot is IBM’s Samuel Palmisano, who made $21.2 million.  Poor Steve Ballmer who has his children’s college education to worry about apparently failed to make the top ten.

Microsoft gets all religious about Apple

There’s a very very funny story in the Wall Street Journal about people at Redmond that use the enemy phone, that is to say the Apple iPhone.

We all know that Steve Ballmer, the CEO, threw a strop the other week when he spotted someone using an iPhone on the iCampus and pretended to stamp on it.

Steve doesn’t use an iPhone. He probably doesn’t use an Android phone either. Maybe he uses a CrackBerry, which at least has the benefit of ctrl-alt-del if you can’t get the battery out.

According to Nick Wingfield’s article on the Journal, 10,000 iPhone’s were linked to Microsoft’s email system in 2009.

At an evangelical in-house meeting last year, there was debate about whether Microsoft voles should use iPhones or not, it seems.

Opinions were divided.

It reminds me of when HP tried to insist its employees never turn up at customer sites with anything other than HP notebooks.

It also reminds me of the Olympic nazis who are apparently going to confiscate your Burger King and your Pepsi Cola if you turn up at the games in London, 2012.

Apple people, apparently, all use iPhones. Officially, anyroadmap. It’s a cult.

World’s richest Mexican shoots down Bill Gates

Bill Gates is unlikely to be crying into his gold-plated mug, but he has been beaten out of his place as the world’s richest man, according to the 2010 Forbes list of the world’s billionaires.

The Microsoft founder has been beaten into second place by the Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, who owns various telecom businesses such as Latin America’s biggest mobile company American Movil.

Slim came in third place last year, and made his fortune by taking advantage of Mexico’s national telephone company privatisation, with his net worth increasing by $18.5 billion in the space of a year.

Gates, who has held the title of world’s richest for 14 of the last 15 years, is second in the world, even though his $53 billion worth is up $13 from a year ago due to a 50 percent raise in a Microsoft shares.

Investor Warren Buffett was third with $43 billion. Larry Ellison of Oracle came in 6th with a net worth of $28 billion, with shares going up 70% in the last year. Oracle has bought 57 companies in the past five years, including the buyout of Sun Microsystems.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google each had net worths of $17.5 billion to be in 24th place, though if you combined their worths would been in 4th place. Also, they were much younger at 36 and 37 than the large majority of people in the top 30, who are of pensionable age.

The past year has seen Google on a hot streak, according to Forbes, with the Google fortunes up $5.5 billion and Google shares going up 70 percent in the past year.

The other big figure at Microsoft, its CEO Steve Ballmer, came in at number 33 with a net worth of $14.5 billion.