back to article Ballmer cuts stake in Microsoft with shares sale

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer cut his stake in the company by about 12 per cent late last week, after selling $1.3bn worth of shares. It’s the first such stock sale by Big Steve in seven years and was done, according to Microsoft, to “diversify” the firm’s CEO’s investments and help plan for taxes. The stock sale has, perhaps …


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  1. Jimmy Floyd

    As a bit of background...

    ...there are an awful lot of big company directors currently selling their shares, on both sides of the Atlantic. This might have as much to do with confidence in the wider economy - currently and temporarily propped up by artificially low interest rates - as his confidence in Microsoft specifically.

    Or he just needs the cash, but $1.3bn does sound a lot.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success"

    Curse Of Ballmer, right there: they'd better stock up on Chapter 11 forms

  3. ssmyt
    Gates Horns

    Manipulate marketshare

    He needs the money to buy a lot of Window Phones and give them away for free.

  4. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Apple are the Johnnie-come-lately here.

    "....following his failure to drag Microsoft kicking and screaming into the tablet and mobile game, currently dominated by Apple....." Sorry, but M$ have been making OS for consumer tablets since 2001 (first products released by partners 2002), and the same goes for mobiles (Pocket PC OS for smartphones/PDAs released in April 2000). They let partners build the hardware. It would be nice to compare M$'s profits in the tablet OS market for all the years right up to Apple finally getting in on the act this year, just to see if M$ has actually made more money from the format than Apple. What M$ needed was more work on getting ahead of the game by producing a more specialised set of phone OSs rather than one generalised offering, which let Nokia dominate the consumer handset and RIM the business handset markets. Oh, and whilst we're talking game, when are Apple going to provide a product to match the Xbox?

    1. Bilgepipe
      Gates Horns


      Yeah, but Microsoft's mobile and tablet products were crap. Only the most rabid of M$ apologists will try and compare Windows Mobile - in all it's myriad of incompatible guises - to iOS. And XP-based tablet machines were a commercial failure. I saw one, and it was junk.

      Now that their competitors have shown M$ how it's done, they have plenty of inspiration to copy - as per the standard MS business model - and so WP7 might be mildly successful. However, like it or not, everyone but M$ has made mobile computing a success. Apple et al are not the Johnnie-come-lately, here - Microsoft are the tail-draggers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They haven't started yet...

      Perhaps we're quibbling over semantics, but I don't think Microsoft has ever provided a true tablet. To clarify, what Microsoft has called a 'tablet' over the last decade is a desktop computer shoe-horned into a tablet form. It isn't a comfortable fit, feeling a lot like a crippled laptop, and sales have been lacklustre.

      Many wondered (hoped?) that Apple would likewise run the Mac OS in a tablet form, but they have based it on iOS instead. With hindsight, many see this is a good move. You don't feel as if you have a phone or laptop, i.e. if provides a unique experience to the end user. For example, Apple developed a word-processing package called 'Pages' for both the Mac OS and iOS. Although it shares a name and file format across both platforms, they are staggeringly different in operation. Contrast that with MS Word - they are very much alike on all platforms. MS have made no progress.

      Apple has taken a risk with the iPad - many thought it would fail or the whole idea was pointless. But MS has sat on its hands for the past decade, allowing others to push the market and make the gains. You could argue that they shouldn't bother - that phones and tablets are a distraction - but you can't argue that they aren't late to the party.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: They haven't started yet...

        "......but I don't think Microsoft has ever provided a true tablet...." I think you've fallen into the Apple trap of Steve-says-this-is-a-tablet-so-all-others-are-not marketting. There are dozens of devices that could be termed "tablets", many around for years before Apple got round to the idea. If you follow the Apple line that a tablet is a lightweight media-consumption device then the Win PC tablets are usually too heavy, but the old Windows tablets still count as they could stream media (even iTunes, and, since they had more expandability and the options for built-in ROMs, have more options than the iPad). But, if you want to say a tablet must also be a productive device rather than just one for consumption, then the iPad is a poor comparison to even eight-years-old PC tablets. If you are going to let Apple set the parameters then you're falling into their trap, probably willingly. I would suggest that instead you simply list out what uses you want a "tablet" to be used for, then take a look at what devices in the market meet that criteria. Many people will have different criteria, some will have a very limited list. If your top criteria is "I want to a device that other fanbois will coo over" then you'll probably buy Apple regardless.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Halo


      Well, if you're after an Apple product to match the Microsoft XBox you might want to have a look at the Apple Pippin - it's to the XBox what Windows tablets are to the iPad (ie, pre-dates them by a number of years and are crap).

      Yes, Microsoft were hawking tablets donkeys-years ago but (and this is rather important): no one cared.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe it is because he is a colonial?

    And so does not give any import to the royalty of being CEO?

    When the King speaks all others hush into silence?

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Fred 24

    The first rat..

    .. to flee the sinking ship.

    1. thecakeis(not)alie

      Not even remotely the first rat.

      Simply one of the dimmest. The bright ones started to GTFO a couple years back. Ballmer is only now starting to realise his incompetence. Still, like a good CEO he'll pillage every last dollar from the company as he burns it to the ground. When the very last shareholder revolt occurs - the one that can't be appealed or danced around - he will have handed his successor a poisoned chalice. Five years from now even Steve Jobs Himself wouldn’t be able to steer the mighty ship Microsoft away from the rocks.

      It will take MS a decade or more to tear itself apart and finally sink the depths of mid-90s Apple…but sink it will. Ballmer knows it. He can’t tie his own personal financial future to the company he’s destroying: he needs to diversify. Put his cash into companies that will actually make money.

      It is time for a shareholders revolt at Microsoft. It’s time for new blood.

  8. Dest

    He Knows Something Comming.

    When a high ranking executive starts cashing out it's because he know something catastrophic is about to happen.

    He has inside information, you can believe that.

    I have no idea what his reasoning may be but you can bet it is something big.

    Maybe he knows that Microsoft is doomed or maybe he knows that his time is up and is expecting the inverters to demand his resignation.

    I don't know what it is but something is going to happen and probably real soon.

    1. Oneil Stuart

      Re: He Knows. ..

      I think his resignation would do more good than harm for the company. At least some chairs would be saved.

      1. Ammaross Danan


        If Balmer was jumping ship, it would probably cause Microsoft stock to go UP. Dumping his shares and a promised resignation and named successor is what Steve needs to do to save the company, not monkey around on stage throwing chairs.

  9. bugalugs

    the amount of money involved here is OBSCENE

    that is all

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    My Linux has strong Kung Fu.

    Steve Ballmers Kung Fu is weak.

    Been playing with my Linux Crystal Ball - because the Microsoft one is blue.

    Been tracking the glass across the Linux Ouja Board, because the Microsoft one doesn't come with the drivers.

    Been casting the Linux chicken entrails, because the Microsoft one isn't backwardly compatible...

    And the verdict is that Steve Ballmer is demonically posessed and unlike Jesus, he is about to descend into low dirt orbit.

    Actually I don't really care what he does - as any guy who is stupid enough to tell me that shit smells like roses is probably not worth paying much attention too in the first place.

    His share sale; Dale Carnegie in his book called "How to think and grow rich" said that in the list of things to consider as riches or wealth, money was at the very bottom of his list.

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