Archive for category Commentary

Microsoft Fumbles Again

Good Grief!  The EU has fined Microsoft $730 million for failure to give users the option to select a Web browser other than Internet Explorer.  And Microsoft admits they did it.  “Yep. We screwed up. A technical oversight.”

When are heads going to roll in Redmond?  

  • A decade of flat stock price in the biggest bull market in history.
  • More than a decade without a truly new product.
  • Complete failure in the smart phone and tablet products.
  • Over $3 billion in fines paid to the EU.
  • Billions squandered is useless acquisitions.

What other company in the world with this kind of litany of failures still has the same CEO?


, ,

Leave a comment

The Delusional Mr. Ballmer

I don’t work at Microsoft any longer and I dumped the last of my MSFT stock earlier this year.  And I feel good about it especially after reading the description of the latest shareholders’ meeting.  Mr. Ballmer reprised his past performances, telling everyone what a great year the company had and how rosy the future is, emphasizing –get this–: “We are in the Windows era. We were, we are and we always will be.”  How’s that for thinking outside the box?  He’s saying effectively, “You know that stuff we did in 1981?  It was great and that’s all we’re ever going to do.”

I’m stunned how a CEO and corporate board can have so little regard for the shareholders.  They absolutely don’t care that MSFT stock price has been flat for a decade and seem to think it’s unreasonable for shareholders to ask for a better ROI than zero.

MSFT 10-Year Stock Price Graph

MSFT ended the day yesterday at $26.74.  Ten years ago, Nov. 16 2001, it closed at $32.88.  By comparison, McDonalds, another mature company with a pretty basic product line has managed to raise its share price from $28.01 to $94.47 while paying out a 2.5% dividend.

, ,

Leave a comment

CEO Greed

The Seattle Times published an article today on executive pay: still more evidence of the stunning extent of corporate greed in America. In 1980, CEO compensation was about 40 times the average employee’s wage. By 2007, CEOs raked in 370 times more than their typical worker. WAMU chief, Kerry Killinger, collected $32.5 million in 2006-07 while he orchestrated the largest bank failure in U.S. history. But that’s peanuts compared to the $270 million CEO Richard Fuld collected in the five years prior to Lehman Brothers’ demise. Executive incentives are totally screwed up: corporate boards structure packages so the CEOs collect big bucks no matter how the company performs. Maybe it would help if the government taxed these exorbitant salaries and bonuses at some ridiculously high rate: maybe 90%.


Guns and Burgers

I heard today (The News Hour, June 16th) that there are more retail guns stores in the U.S. than there are McDonald’s restaurants in the world. What a bizarre culture we live in where it’s easier to buy AK-47s than quarter pounders and fries.

And thanks to recent federal legislation it will be legal to carry all those munitions in national parks.