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Microsoft Investors Call For Bill Gates To Step Down As Chairman

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the pour-some-gasoline-on-it dept.

Businesses 218

rjmarvin writes "Now that Ballmer is on his way out, flak for Microsoft's middling stock prices and lagging mobile innovation is starting to land on Bill Gates himself. Three of the company's top 20 investors are lobbying the Board of Directors, pressing Gates to step down as chairman. The stockholders believe his presence would handcuff the next CEO's ability to re-make the company with new strategies and sweeping changes. They also think Gates wields a disproportionate amount of power relative to his financial stake and day-to-day activity within the company. No word yet from Gates or the board on this internal strife."

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Killing the goose that lays the golden egg (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015121)

Microsoft without Bill Gates is like Apple without Steve Jobs.

You may be able to sell pretentious faggots a new shittier cellphone, but they will hate you withing 5 years.

Re:Killing the goose that lays the golden egg (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#45015383)

Not exactly. Steve Jobs was *the* driving force behind Apple over the last decade or so to the point where the two are almost synonymous. Microsoft, on the other hand, hasn't relied on Bill Gates as the lead visionary and motivator/taskmaster in a long time (and never to the same extent). Jobs was the face of Apple, Gates was/is the face of "don't pick on the nerd, you'll work for his rich ass one day".

they are ignoring the REAL POWER at Microsoft (4, Funny)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#45015393)

Clippy is actually running the joint.

Re:they are ignoring the REAL POWER at Microsoft (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016269)

"I see you are trying to run the company, would you like help with that?" -Clippy 2013

Bill Gates' response: (5, Insightful)

themushroom (197365) | about a year ago | (#45015123)

"Yeah, about that... Go fuck yourself. Now if you don't mind, I have to go save thousands of African kids from getting malaria. Back at 3pm"

Re:Bill Gates' response: (2)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year ago | (#45015153)

Having read all of their correspondence beforehand, Gates was always one step ahead of the plotters.

Re:Bill Gates' response: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015293)

NSA gave him the heads up a week ago.

Re: Bill Gates' response: (3, Interesting)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year ago | (#45015675)

It's not about plotters, he doesn't HOLD A STAKE in the company that deserves as much power as he holds. They are correct to replace Gates before even looking at Balmer's replacement as Gates hasn't held Balmer's feet to the fire nearly hard enough in the last 7-10 years.

Re: Bill Gates' response: (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#45015891)

He holds billions of stakes.

Re: Bill Gates' response: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015931)

Vampires beware!

Re: Bill Gates' response: (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45015915)

Exactly. Bill owns about 4.5% of the stock ... the people trying to oust him control about 5%.

Bill Gates is essentially a minority shareholder, but exercises clout like he still owns half the company.

And maybe people are thinking that if Ballmer is going, this is a perfect time to put the company in the hands of someone beholden to the shareholders, instead of Bill Gates. And, long term, it's hard to argue with that.

Re: Bill Gates' response: (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#45016195)

Wait, what?

While I just love jumping in on the Microsoft stomping, thinking that 'shareholders' will drive MS into anything but the ground is really delusional.

Or, are you just being sneaky?

Re: Bill Gates' response: (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45016503)

thinking that 'shareholders' will drive MS into anything but the ground is really delusional

As opposed to what they're doing now, with a series of products nobody is buying and for which they're taking huge write downs? Or that hardware makers are informing Microsoft they'll no longer make products for?

It's hard not to think Microsoft isn't being driven in to the ground now.

Or, are you just being sneaky?

Not at all. I'm saying welcome to the stock market where shareholder value seems to be what drives everything, and long-term planning be damned.

If you don't want a bunch of stock owners yelling about how badly you're doing ... don't go public.

Re: Bill Gates' response: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016851)

As opposed to what they're doing now, with a series of products nobody is buying and for which they're taking huge write downs?

Keep up [kantarworldpanel.com]

Re: Bill Gates' response: (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45016263)

5% is not a minority share holder.
And the Top 20 own 5%, not the three trying to oust him.

Re: Bill Gates' response: (2)

NickFortune (613926) | about a year ago | (#45016789)

5% is not a minority share holder.

OK, you're right. 5% is not a minority sharholder. %5 is a percentage.

Someone who holds 5% of the stock in a company however IS a minority shareholder. That's going by any definition. [businessdictionary.com] I can find, anyway.

Re: Bill Gates' response: (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#45016337)

Bill will prevent a new CEO that "remakes" the company via massive layoffs to save costs - which has never once worked to "turn around" a software company, but no one ever seems to learn that. Presumably the activist board members want just that, not realizing it would kill the company in a few years, or perhaps not caring (hey, what's 100k jobs gone if I can boost the stock 10% before it crashes - we'll know when to exit). Heck, even as an old school /.er I find it hard to root for potlatch on that scale.

Bill had a pretty good track record for the shareholders during his tenure - all the same things than made /. create it's own special icon for him. Makes me wonder if the heart of the dispute is as cynical as the above, or something more interesting.

[ BTW: If you're new to the game: "synergy" means "layoffs" and "turnaround CEO" means "lay off most everyone". Look for those terms in a merger near you (and run). ]

Re:Bill Gates' response: (4, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#45015297)

or to have them ritually [newscientist.com] mutilated [salon.com] .

Re:Bill Gates' response: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015793)

you wish you had a penis.

Re:Bill Gates' response: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015879)

It's not just mutilation [nih.gov] anymore.

Check back in 3 years.

Re:Bill Gates' response: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016323)

Pfft.

Under the definition of "hyperbole", there only needs to be this as the unequalled example, and we're done with that entry in the dictionary for all time.

Re:Bill Gates' response: (0)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#45015427)

Yes, everyone knows the gates are is running a classic charity/non--profit scheme on the backs of impoverished Africans, but thanks for the reminder.

Re:Bill Gates' response: (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#45016641)

"Now if you don't mind, I have to go save thousands of African kids from getting malaria."

It's just too bad that he couldn't have save thousands of Linux kids from getting SCO lawsuits.

That said, these "three investors" just want to jack up the short term stock price. They'd rape their own dead grandmothers' if it would raise the stock price. They saw the price jump after the Ballmer announcement, and are hoping that some buzz can do a repeat in the short term.

More than anyone else in the world, he is emotionally attached to Microsoft because it is his baby, and wants the best for it in the long term.

Or prevent them... (5, Insightful)

Antiocheian (859870) | about a year ago | (#45015133)

...from looting Microsoft.

Re:Or prevent them... (3, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45015231)

yeah.. just put elop as the chairman, see how it goes.

guaranteed that within 2 years he has sold the company to oracle(if you use stupid counting system then windows is a "burning platform" that needs to be ditched asap..).

thing with gates is that he has so much money he isn't tempted to butcher the company for some cash. put someone else in charge with even lesser share of the company and no personal interest in the company and he'll start looking for how to extract cash for himself.. and that actually screws the shareholders(common shareholders) a lot more.

Re:Or prevent them... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45015363)

I'm pretty sure that large-scale shareholders consider small scale shareholders to be sort of like krill. Numerous; but not really worth much except to be filtered out and devoured in numbers large enough to be tasty.

Re:Or prevent them... (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#45015827)

I'm pretty sure that large-scale shareholders consider small scale shareholders to be sort of like krill. Numerous; but not really worth much except to be filtered out and devoured in numbers large enough to be tasty.

They're also a good source of Omega-3s...

Re:Or prevent them... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016673)

yeah.. just put elop as the chairman, see how it goes.

Recent news makes it look suspiciously like Elop was being groomed to succeed Balmer. I'd kind of like to see Windows die so I'm actually in favor of it happening...

Misleading Headline (4, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#45015145)

The headline is a bit misleading.

THREE of 20 of the top investers have demanded Gates step down.

Non-news.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year ago | (#45015207)

Um ya... actually the words "Microsoft Investors" in the title imply any integer above 1. The more interesting thing is how much financial and boardroom clout those insurgents might be wielding.

Re:Misleading Headline (5, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#45015585)

Um ya... actually the words "Microsoft Investors" in the title imply any integer above 1.

Yes, well, the headline implies more than a few.

Actually, *I* own 100 shares. So if *I* as an "investor" seek Gates' removal, does that warrant a story at Slashdot?

The entire group of 20 investors onws ONLY 0.5% more than Gates holds all by himself. So what percentage do you think 3 of those 20 owns?

The headline *IS* misleading.

Re:Misleading Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015331)

Those three investors combined own about as much of the company as Gates does (around 5%).
So it's not insignificant.

Re:Misleading Headline (1, Informative)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#45015367)

They also think Gates wields a disproportionate amount of power relative to his financial stake and day-to-day activity within the company.

Gates holds 4.5% of the company stock, and the "three investors" combined hold about 5%. Sounds like a pecker contest to me.

Re:Misleading Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015659)

They also think Gates wields a disproportionate amount of power relative to his financial stake and day-to-day activity within the company.

Gates holds 4.5% of the company stock, and the "three investors" combined hold about 5%. Sounds like a pecker contest to me.

I'd be more interested in exactly what the day-to-day activity is, within Microsoft, of ANY of the other investors and how it differs from that of Mr. Gates...

Re: Misleading Headline (-1, Troll)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year ago | (#45016143)

But like any other EMPLOYEE, what has he done for Stockholders lately? If they are equal stockholders, what has Gates done THIS DECADE (2010's) that deserves the EXTRA money for being CEO?

Giving help to starving kids is nice, but that's not what THEY are PAYING HIM FOR. Microsoft may be only 10% of Gates' wealth, but as CEO the company really NEEDS 100% of his time... Not 10%. That's not fair to the people holding the other 95% of the voting stock.

Re: Misleading Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016645)

He's not the CEO.

Re: Misleading Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016653)

Gates hasn't been the CEO in a long time, you fuckwit.

Re: Misleading Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016719)

Ever heard of this Ballmer guy? ;)

Re: Misleading Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016793)

He hasn't been CEO for 13 years.

Re:Misleading Headline (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#45015401)

Still news actually. It's a glimpse into what is going on at MS. The investors, who likely haven't accomplished what Gates has accomplished and probably care less about MS in the long run, want him gone. To me that suggests that these investors (and probably more than 3), want to do the usual "cash out now by running the company into the dust" type thing.

But I'm not an investor in anything. Still, interesting to me.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

Morpeth (577066) | about a year ago | (#45015455)

Good catch, nice to way to sensationalize a non-story. Editors should have looked at the article, since it says 3 of 20 in the very first line of the story.

Re:Misleading Headline (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015485)

Three of the top investors in a Fortune 50 want to vote out the chairman and it's non-news? Let me guess, you must be an IT lifer!

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

Alomex (148003) | about a year ago | (#45015809)

The headline is a bit misleading.

To paraphrase Jack Nicholson in a Few Good Men: "are there any other kind?"

Power grab (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#45015151)

These are people who want power for themselves. It's not because they believe Gates does a poor job.

When the investors take over the company, beware. This is what happened to HP.

Re:Power grab (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015243)

Shhhhh, let it die a quick, painless death.

Re:Power grab (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015265)

carly is what happened to hp

Re:Power grab (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015381)

There's somethign to be said for keeping the founder at the helm but in the case of Microsoft I do believe Gates is part of the problem. I worked there from the mid-90's to the mid-2000's and a lot of the cultural problems started with Gates. They only became apparent with Ballmer because exponential growth came to a halt but they were there. Not to mention that without Gates' support Ballmer would never have lasted as long as he did.

Re:Power grab (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45015391)

"hese are people who want power for themselves. It's not because they believe Gates does a poor job."

If Microsoft is lucky it's just a power grab. It's also possible that they think that Gates is excessively sentimental about wanting his baby to succeed, long term, as a company, and that they could make more money by cashing it out in the near term, or by sending it to the M&A chop-shop.

Re:Power grab (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015649)

It's also possible that they think that Gates is excessively sentimental about wanting his baby to succeed, long term, as a company, and that they could make more money by cashing it out in the near term, or by sending it to the M&A chop-shop.

Microsoft NEEDS to go to the chop shop. The quicker the better.
The mandate that every product lives and dies by Windows made sense 20 years ago but in a world where iOs and Android are now the bulk of operating systems shipments, it is sheer insanity.
Microsoft product teams should be allowed to work on non Microsoft platforms.
Right now, by forcing them to develop for Win dows only, management is basically asking them to fight the competition with one hand tied behind their backs.

Re:Power grab (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015775)

What MS needs is a phrase that was uttered ages ago:

Developers, developers, developers.

Yes, Windows is doing well in the enterprise, but one can only coast on that so long. The Xbox is doing fine, but the games are on the platform because of its momentum, not because there is some draw making it better than the PlayStation.

MS killing Technet hasn't done any good to help with market share.

Re:Power grab (3, Funny)

Aaron H (2820425) | about a year ago | (#45015445)

Yeah, just imagine... they'd put profits over quality and the product would start to suck and its advertising would feel really patronizing, with lots of glitzy flash but little substance.

Man, I can't even imagine a world where Microsoft operated that way.

Re:Power grab (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#45016257)

Don't worry, you won't have to.

Re: Power grab (0)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year ago | (#45016317)

What has BILL GATES done for them? Is HE PERSONALLY working 80 hour weeks on MICROSOFT projects to turn the company around? As a 5% investor it doesn't really matter if he WAS the founder or not... He's not spending his TIME on the company, just waiting out till he cashes out in the next 5-10 years.

More importantly, Ballmer is Gates' anointed ... And has performed poorly. If BILL GATES isn't going to PUBLICLY step up and escort Ballmer out of the company (his FISCAL DUTY as CEO) then what quality of follow up leader is Gates going to back?

Microsoft needs a 100 hour a week CEO and a 100 hour a week President... If these guys don't want to do that job, get out of the way!

Re: Power grab (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#45016461)

He's the board president. The board doesn't work 100 hours a week, you know. Sometimes you'll be lucky if you get 100 hours a year out of them.

Re: Power grab (2)

ormico (1226940) | about a year ago | (#45016545)

Ballmer is CEO.
Gates is Chairman of the Board, not Chief Executive Officer.

MS doesn't have a President and I don't believe its a Chairman's job to put in those kinds of hours. That's why they hire a CEO.

The Chairman leads the Board of Directors and it is the Board's job to direct the CEO.

A titular role only? (3, Interesting)

metrix007 (200091) | about a year ago | (#45015199)

Bill Gates is chairman in name only, is he not?

This would seem fitting since it is the company that be he built....it's kind of shitty to force people out of the thing they made.

Alternatively, perhaps Bill Gates will be to Microsoft as the Schwartzes were to Grey Matter...

Chatauqua Tour (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year ago | (#45015271)

If there were to be a no-Gates Microsoft aftermath, I propose a debate tour: Gates vs. RMS, 10 universities.

Re:Chatauqua Tour (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#45016791)

I propose a debate tour: Gates vs. RMS, 10 universities.

This is the new Millennium . . . we don't watch people debate any more.

We lock them up in reality TV shows, and watch them spewing out frivolous drivel for hours on end, before voting on who we dislike the most.

Gates vs. RMS? I think one of the Kardashians would win that one. Even if they aren't on the show.

Re:A titular role only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015353)

More like Arnold Schwarzenegger in that other movie.

I nominate... (0)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#45015203)

Fake Steve Jobs [fakesteve.net] for chairman.

Fools (4, Interesting)

twocows (1216842) | about a year ago | (#45015205)

As much as I disagree with his business tactics over the years, Gates is a freaking genius. One read of the "Internet Tidal Wave [usdoj.gov] " memo, which was written years ago and was correct about 90% of its predictions, should tell you that. Gates was one of the primary reasons, if not the only reason, Microsoft was successful to begin with. These three people are complete fools and ought to be off with Ballmer.

Re:Fools (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015349)

read "The Road Ahead" and come back to us later.

Re:Fools (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#45016385)

As much as I disagree with his business tactics over the years, Gates is a freaking genius.

I'm not sure whether he's a genius, but I had a lot more respect for him once I read this [joelonsoftware.com] , which is Joel Spolsky's first-hand account of working for the man. He wasn't necessarily a genius, but he was a very effective combination of ruthless businessman and smart technical guy.

Great idea! (2)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about a year ago | (#45015233)

I've supported Microsoft for many years and I still believe they do some things right but on the consumer side they are lacking to say the least. They need new blood that will change the face of MS. They need to continue what they do for MS developers but improve their approach to their users. Innovation is key in today's technology market and MS needs to show they can still innovate at all business levels.

Re:Great idea! (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year ago | (#45015337)

>> I still believe they do some things right

Really? like what? I'm genuinely asking/interested.

Re:Great idea! (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#45015475)

Once you get past the UI, Windows 8 and Server 2012 are pretty damned good products. Of course, everyone focuses on the UI because its what people see but you have to remember that Windows does have a lot of other components behind that UI. Office is much the same way, although it's a bit bloated in places. I got to play around with Azure a bit too. I don't know how it compares to competitors, but it is a nifty platform.

Then there's other products like Xbox which seems to have done quite well, including Kinect, and the Surface Pro (RT not so much).

It's easy to focus on the bad because it tends to be in the most obvious places that affect the most people, but there's still plenty of good at Microsoft. Even Internet Explorer has come a long way since IE 6.

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015935)

>Then there's other products like Xbox which seems to have done quite well

Xbox is BILLIONS in the hole over the lifetime of the program. It had gotten so bad that they moved the Mac Business Unit to Entertainment & Devices to hide the extent of the damages.

Sure, it is profitable now, to the tune of 250 millions a quarter. But that comes nowhere close to making up for years of accumulated losses. And with the launch of the new model, it is likely that losses will start again.

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015955)

LOLROFLMAO... you must be 'murican...

Re:Great idea! (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year ago | (#45016255)

Did you notice that even your own list of what yu think are the best Microsoft products needed to include caveats for each?
Seems to me all you need is better experience with the alternatives.

Re:Great idea! (2)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about a year ago | (#45016483)

What you're trying to argue makes no sense whatsoever. Everything has it's caveats, including everything from Apple. All the flavors of Linux feature a multitude of caveats, many of which are worse than anything you'll suffer with Microsoft. Let's take Office as an example. I use OpenOffice at home and have used iWork for a couple of years. They're both pretty good, but nowhere near as good as Office, even with it's quirks.

So really, the decision comes down to which products offer the fewest compromises, or which of those compromises bother you the least. With open source, are willing to put up with quite a lot of crap for the sake of what it all represents.

Microsoft's biggest problem with now is their brand. People are incapable of appreciating anything from them because they continue harbor a negative impression of the brand. It's at a point where people are grasping at straws to find fault with the company.

Re:Great idea! (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | about a year ago | (#45016469)

Once you get past the UI, Windows 8 and Server 2012 are pretty damned good products. Of course, everyone focuses on the UI because its what people see but you have to remember that Windows does have a lot of other components behind that UI. Office is much the same way, although it's a bit bloated in places. I got to play around with Azure a bit too. I don't know how it compares to competitors, but it is a nifty platform.

Then there's other products like Xbox which seems to have done quite well, including Kinect, and the Surface Pro (RT not so much).

It's easy to focus on the bad because it tends to be in the most obvious places that affect the most people, but there's still plenty of good at Microsoft. Even Internet Explorer has come a long way since IE 6.

I don't think that's what bothers the investors though. Its things like being a major player in the smartphone market. Laugh at the iphone. Ignore iphone. Surrender market willfully to iphone, then android. Scratch like hell to catch up to the iphone and android. Settle for crumbs left on the floor. Ditto tablets. Ditto cloud. They don't lead, they follow. And follow rather poorly at that. To an extent, that's been their MO since Gates: let others create the market, then use muscle to take the market. But you can't wait years to re-act for that to work.

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016529)

But the problem is the bad is the most visible thing, and when it gets in the way EVERY SINGLE DAMN TIME, it starts to become a problem that far outweighs any positives.

It is like saying "here, here is the cure for dying, you are now immortal, the only thing though is there is only enough for one dose so you will see everyone you ever know and love die while you continue living on. You will also outlive the stars because it is somehow magical now, and spend eternity in a dead universe."
That's not a good design system. It might be for someone that likes to torture themselves, however.

The Vista UI onwards is absolutely atrocious, it is a bastardized tablet/PC UI Hybrid that just becomes annoying as hell on a desktop after 30 minutes of dealing with it.
And that isn't even the worst part, the taskbar is annoying, sorry, I LIKE MY TEXT, I LIKE small icons, I LIKE being able to have a billion small quicklaunch icons for things I use frequently, take your casualized ribbon-inspired crap UI and jump the chasm.
I don't want menus on my damn taskbar entries, I want to see everything. Just like how I want a god damn vertical taskbar for Chrome already you pleb-tier casual web browsing developers that you all are. Oh no, nobody likes vertical lists, they are bad, gotta cater to the 50 giga billion people that only have faceboke open 24/7 while watching funny youtub videos.
The worst thing, the worst thing about all of this, they actually had working sidebar code but they removed it because they wanted to make those stupid crappy always-require-focus bubble pop-out things that extensions can use which are annoying as high-hell.
Why the hell do I still use this crap browser? FF is actually half-decent now I hear.

That was a rant on why Google and Microsoft are both the worst thing to happen to software development.
Shame since some developers in both of the companies are really smart and cool people, but they get held down and suppressed by the big bad and ugly types upstairs. RIP Google Labs. I wouldn't be surprised if MS Research is next on the chopping boards, they already killed a few of the developer orientated communities and services.

All 3 are money runners. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015245)

All of the top 3 are hedge fund money runners.

They are NOT interested in Microsoft's long term health, but in having someone at the top to give their 40%+ return in a year and who the fuck cares what happens after that. If the money runners had their way, Apple would have been liquidated in '98.

That's what these people are all about.

They are not techies. They are Wall Street scum bags.

MS is in the "Cash Cow" phase of its life. It will end. What they need is a 'visionary' who is NOT tied to Wall Street (a la Jobs) but never the less, knows the roots and corporate culture of MS - Gates is the ONLY one who can make the next leader taken seriously.

Re:All 3 are money runners. (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year ago | (#45015421)

All of the top 3 are hedge fund money runners.

They are NOT interested in Microsoft's long term health, but in having someone at the top to give their 40%+ return in a year and who the fuck cares what happens after that. If the money runners had their way, Apple would have been liquidated in '98.

That's what these people are all about.

They are not techies. They are Wall Street scum bags.

MS is in the "Cash Cow" phase of its life. It will end. What they need is a 'visionary' who is NOT tied to Wall Street (a la Jobs) but never the less, knows the roots and corporate culture of MS - Gates is the ONLY one who can make the next leader taken seriously.

Bill Gates is Microsoft's largest shareholder which gives him considerable power. Unfortunately, he lost interest in Microsoft years ago.. That's why he allowed a close personal friend (Steve Ballmer) to remain CEO for 13 years with no regard for how well he did the job.

Re:All 3 are money runners. (2)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year ago | (#45015515)

Bill Gates is Microsoft's largest shareholder which gives him considerable power.

Largest share holder, holding a grand total of 4.5% of Microsoft shares. If all other share holders want to change something, they could and over power Gates' shares.

Re:All 3 are money runners. (2)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about a year ago | (#45016243)

Do you have the slightest idea of what it takes to own 4.5% of a company like Microsoft if you're not:

- the founder
- a corporate fund (hedge, mutual, pension, etc.)
- an investment bank
- a government entity

Re:All 3 are money runners. (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#45015611)

Keep in mind that he has a deal or contract or something where he sells a ton of his shares back every year. He started with 49% and is down to around 4%. Supposedly he'll have nothing by about 2018 if he stays the course.

Re:All 3 are money runners. (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year ago | (#45016295)

It is probably due to share dilution more than him selling shares. So he will never have "nothing". His estate will even have most of his current shares after his death.

Re:All 3 are money runners. (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#45016537)

Unfortunately, he lost interest in Microsoft years ago.. That's why he allowed a close personal friend (Steve Ballmer) to remain CEO for 13 years with no regard for how well he did the job.

I would lose interest in business too, if I were worth $50 billion. At this point, he doesn't really have any reason to care about Microsoft, except as a nostalgia thing.

But generally speaking, I'd say BillG would be the person most capable of turning the ship around, just because the markets, the employees, and management would all respect him (deservedly or not).

Re:All 3 are money runners. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015663)

Is one of those 3 Carl Icahn? Also can we please have the term "activist investor" banned from media use, I'm so sick of that one.

Gates to investors.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#45015253)

Bite my shiny metal ass.

Re:Gates to investors.... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45016049)

Except Gates doesn't own enough shares to do that.

He's been steadily selling off his shares for years, and I think he's down to 4.5% or so with the expectation that by 2018 he won't have any.

At which point, if you're a company trying to make long-term plans and possibly fix things, do you want someone with 4.5% of the shares to be able to wield as much power as Bill does?

The whole point of this is that Bill is perceived as being able to control a larger proportion of Microsoft than the number of shares he owns would suggest.

Gates should step up or step down (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#45015333)

Pick one.

Wouldn't that be fair? (2)

gwstuff (2067112) | about a year ago | (#45015355)

If Bill has his focus sharply fixed on the foundation, and that is where he directs all of his energy, then isn't it fair that he not have strong influence on day to day activity in the company.

"Bill, we need to make a call on Skype. 16 Billion dollar's at stake"
"Not now, I'm on a bullock cart touring an Indian Village."
"But Bill, you're the chairman."
"Ah, yes. Let me think about it. Well, I've thought about it. Buy Skype, but then make sure you follow up by buying Nokia."
"Got it Bill. You're the boss."
*click*

Gates interests might not be short term $ (4, Insightful)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about a year ago | (#45015387)

I'm certain they want him to step down because they want to focus on short term profits. Investors have no vision, no desire to better the company, no reason to do anything besides focus on short term profits.

Re:Gates interests might not be short term $ (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year ago | (#45015689)

He most of his shares. I don't think he's interested at all

Re:Gates interests might not be short term $ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015855)

Investors have no vision, no desire to better the company, no reason to do anything besides focus on short term profits.

Sounds like you just described IBM...

Re:Gates interests might not be short term $ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016189)

Ahh, populist bullshit. Smells just as bad as all the other bullshit.

But yes, let's demonize all investors. Turns out pretty much everything have and take for granted in this society was magically made by poor people dreaming it up and *poof* it appeared

Fucking slashtards

Re:Gates interests might not be short term $ (2)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about a year ago | (#45016601)

No, investors do have vision, a desire to better the company, and a focus on long-term profits. What you're describing are speculators. Sadly, speculation has become a massive part of the stock market and has almost everything to do with the 90s shift of pensions to stock-based retirement funds managed by mutual and hedge funds.

The small bright side is that a lot more people are involved in the stock market and its benefits instead of it being limited to only the wealthy. The big down side are events like this where the same people who would have in the past used a few wealthy holders to obtain controlling interest and liquidate a company are now supported by thousands or millions of smaller investors to do the same, often with much more reach in monetary power. And, of course, this isn't to say that no one chooses long-term mutual funds or that all mutual or hedge funds are bad.

One could even argue that the ability to liquidate a company is a sign of its weakness and the industry is better off with such companies gone. The counter to that, of course, is not that the statement is outright incorrect but the scale of it is way off with short-term greed driving companies out of business to the long-term detriment of everyone, even the investors. The point, though, is it's not a simple black and white issue even to the extent that speculation seems inherently bad.

Real headline: Wall Street wants to loot Microsoft (4, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#45015389)

It's as simple as that. The 3 hedge fund managers are interested in looting the company's bank account, saddling the company with outrageous debt, and then cutting it up and selling off the pieces. It's the Mitt Romney strategy. Or rather, and more accurately, the standard wall-street tactic. It's why America doesn't make anything anymore, and the greedy bastard 1% fuckers should all be lined up against a wall and executed.

Re:Real headline: Wall Street wants to loot Micros (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015789)

Really just want to piss you off by pointing out that middle class in the US goes up above $400,000 / year and down to roughly $25,000 / year (or maybe even lower). The only 1% that actually exists is the number of people who wouldn't do absolutely anything they had to in order to become rich. Most people would do exactly the same thing as these "wall street scumbags" if they were but given the chance. And like true scumbags, they will deny it right up until the opportunity presents itself.

Re:Real headline: Wall Street wants to loot Micros (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015837)

Microsoft's senior leadership has been looting the company for years at the expense of shareholders. It's only fair that they try to get a turn.

There are about 1000 MS employees classified as "partners". Their collective compensation totals 1 Billion (with a 'b') a year.
Let's not mention the way their bonus criteria have constantly "evolved" since the early 2000's to make sure that the money paid to them didn't go down despite the stagnation of the stock price. Let's forget the way stock allocation was massively shifted to said partners at the expense of rank and file employees when the choice was made to move from options to restricted stock units.

The truth is, shareholders' money has been dead in the water for well over the decade and in the meantime, the senior leadership and their cronies have kept on feasting off the beast.

If shareholders do loot the company and run it into the ground it will be the result of Gates, Ballmer & Co's shortsightedness in the way they treated them.

Re:Real headline: Wall Street wants to loot Micros (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45016103)

It's a vulture capitalist tactic. Wall Street is far more encompassing than that one strategy.

" It's why America doesn't make anything anymore,"

That not true, America makes a lot of things.

Re:Real headline: Wall Street wants to loot Micros (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#45016693)

That not true, America makes a lot of things.

Vulture capitalists don't count.

Re:Real headline: Wall Street wants to loot Micros (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#45016309)

... It's why America doesn't make anything anymore, and the greedy bastard 1% fuckers should all be lined up against a wall and executed.

Just to be sure, shouldn't we take out the top 5%?

Dear Mr. Gates you need to fight back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015417)

Dear Mr. Gates, we know your foundation work is important; but so is your company. A lot of the money for the foundation comes from the company, so pay attention.

We know you don't want to run it yourself; so take the time to find somebody who can run it properly. Pay no attention to your friends. Pick somebody based on talent this time. You might consider a successful IT exec from a non-tech company. That way, they won't have ulterior motives from their previous company and/or culture (e.g., Marissa Mayer from Google, probably a Trojan horse CEO).

We know it won't be easy, and it'll take some time away from your current work; but if you do it right it'll help your foundation, not to mention your existing user base who are looking at the exit but aren't crushing towards the door.... yet.

For the love of God and your users, take off the philanthropist hat and put on the executive recruiter hat, and fight. It's actually the same hat, because to some extent what's good for MSFT is good for your causes.

Reminds me of an old game on X11 (1)

xming (133344) | about a year ago | (#45015909)

xkillbill

Thanks Valve! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45015923)

For giving us Steam OS, will change the moment Bill is kicked out.

That would be a mistake (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45016067)

He is starting to earn a lot of good will, and that will reflect in the price as long as he is attached to the company in a role.

Of course he could step down to CEO; which would be hilarious AND helpfull

next move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45016147)

They need to fire all middle managers and developers with a stick up their arse, then they must give all the power to steve jobs 2.0, he'll revolutionize MS, or they'll keep having a stick up their arse and grind it through as always.

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