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Apple Wanted Kinect, Steve Ballmer Cashes in Microsoft Shares

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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Microsoft confirmed last Friday that CEO Steve Ballmer plans to sell nearly one-fifth of his shares of the company, valued at .3 billion. Meanwhile, the company’s Kinect gaming technology apparently went to Apple first, but the creator of the technology found them difficult to work with.

AppleInsider has a pair of Microsoft-related stories on Monday, just as the company launches their new Windows Phone 7 handset here in the U.S.

First up is a report that Kinect creator PrimeSense first took the motion-sensing camera to Apple, where CEO Inon Beracha claimed “it was the most natural place for the technology.” According to Cult of Mac, the camera and infrared sensor was first developed by engineers for the Israeli military, with Beracha enlisted to “shop it around Silicon Valley and find partners to commercialize it.”

Unfortunately, the initial meetings with Apple proved a challenge, with Cupertino’s legendary veil of secrecy producing little more than “a stack of crippling legal agreements and NDAs,” Beracha explained. Referring to the company as “a pain in the ass,” the technology soon found a home with Microsoft as part of its Xbox 360 gaming console, released here in the U.S. last Thursday.

Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is planning to cash in on his work with the company, offering up to 75 million shares of his stock by the end of this year “to gain financial diversification and to assist in tax planning,” the software giant said in a statement on Friday. Ballmer has already sold off over 49 million shares in three separate transactions, taking home more than .3 billion.

According to Cnet, Ballmer may be making the move to avoid savings and investment tax hikes that go in effect come January, when capital gains tax rates increase as much as 20 percent. By selling now, the Microsoft CEO likely saved as much as million which could have gone into Uncle Sam’s coffers.

Despite ditching so many stock shares, Ballmer remains committed to Microsoft. “Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion,” the CEO stated in a press release. “I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people’s lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success.”

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Microsoft's Ballmer Denied Full Bonus

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Despite the fact that Microsoft just finished enjoying the highest sales numbers ever seen by the company in a single fiscal year, the Redmond, Washington software giant is none too pleased with Steve Ballmer. According to securities regulators, the outspoken CEO was paid a cash bonus of 0,000–half the amount he could have earned were he not to have fumbled their roll out of the Kin line of mobile phones and responded in a timely manner to the threat of Apple’s iPad.

According to the The Globe and Mail, Ballmer was commended for leading Microsoft to record sales numbers through the sales of the company’s Windows 7 and Microsoft Office software. That’s got to be worth some coin, right? Not so fast, say Microsoft’s powers that be: Ballmer flubbed the handling of the ill-fated Kin’s debut. Due to a series of marketing and logistical misadventures, the handset line was struck from Microsoft’s product line after only three months. Then there’s his slow response to the iPad: Apple’s revolutionary device that has according to some sources, cannibalized almost 50% of the universe’s netbook sales. Say folks–what runs on netbooks? Why, Windows 7 and Microsoft Office, of course. So, between the issues of Microsoft’s shrinking mobile phone software/hardware marketshare and the company’s sluggish response to the threat of Apple’s increasingly popular iOS computing devices, slashing Ballmer’s potential full annual bonus by close to 50% seemed like the thing to do.

Sorry Mr. Ballmer, given that your 50% bonus and annual salary tally up to a total pay package of .34 million, we’re having a hard time finding any sympathy for your woes. 


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