Newsletter Issue #512: Should Microsoft Stockholders Request a Refund?

September 20th, 2009

It’s a sure thing that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is one filthy rich dude. He could walk away from Microsoft tomorrow and have untold millions of dollars with which to live in the lap of luxury for the rest of his life, even if that exceeds 110.

I suppose one might envy such a position, but I’d rather look at the situation from the practical standpoint. Has Ballmer’s tenure meant good things for Microsoft and are the company’s stockholders getting their money’s worth?

My feeling is that the answer is a resounding no!

Take a look, for example, at Microsoft’s stock price in recent years. Sure, Wall Street has had a topsy-turvy existence, particularly as a result of the recent economic crisis around the world. However, using a basic five-year history, Microsoft’s stock price has been stuck in a fairly narrow range as stock prices go. I suppose that’s not a bad thing for investors who’ve seen their investments consigned to toilet status, but what about the world’s largest software company’s prospects for long-term growth.

Therein lies a tale, and I rather suspect Ballmer has lots of explaining to do.

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