Sunday, January 4, 2009

"Old Strategy " VS "New Strategy"


Numerous various companies accelerate growth through acquisition. With current market volatility certain CEO’s of companies have indicated that it presents the perfect opportunity for growth through acquisition. Sir. Branson of Virgin Group states “ current conditions enable companies with strong balance sheets to accelerate growth and emerge stronger and healthier than prior to the market down turn”.

The CEO of Broadcom announced that the current market provided the company with the potential to pursue acquisition growth. Current market conditions present the premier opportunity for companies to pursue acquisition.

Microsoft has the potential to utilize the current market and accelerate growth. Currently, companies are trading at record lows. This presents the potential for companies with cash and cash reserves, such as Microsoft, to take advantage of the market and acquire valuable assets at record low valuations.

In our previous posts we have stated that current Microsoft management has engaged in massive overspending and poor execution of strategies. We have referenced that the company has according to Investor Relations, has since 2004 deployed over $115 billion. This expenditure is primarily for stock buybacks, which has demonstrated by the historical stock chart failed to create value.

Despite Microsoft spending $115 billion in capital, the share price continues to trade at approximately the same level as 2004. In four years the company has spent $115 billion to guarantee that the stock price still trades at the same level as when they started the “strategy” of buybacks to enhance shareholder value. The result of this strategy equates to four years of deploying $115 billion to enable the share price to remain flat at the same level for four years at $25 per share.

In an effort to satisfy consumers and increase shareholder value the company has deployed enormous amounts of capital for Research and Development. In 2000, when Mr. Ballmer essentially assumed control of Microsoft the company was generating approximately $40 billion in revenue and $8 billion in profits.

In Mr. Ballmer’s defense we will kindly acknowledge that revenue has increased to a current level of $60 billion annually. We will also acknowledge that net income has grown to $17 billion annually. We could essentially agree with Microsoft and the email that we obtained from Investor Relations, we could agree that management has created revenue and earnings growth for the company. However, the question that arises is fundamentally at what EXPENSE?

Since 2000, Microsoft has annually deployed tremendous amounts of capital on Research and Development. In 2002, the company spent $5.2 billion.

Microsoft To Boost R&D Budget, Focus On PC Initiative
Microsoft plans to increase R&D spending by 10% and focus on PC Initiative.
By Aaron Ricadela InformationWeek July 26, 2001 12:00 AM
Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) plans to increase its R&D spending by more than 20% this year, investing the greatest percentage in a PC initiative that would enable people to enter data in new ways and report problems to Microsoft, according to chairman Bill Gates.

Gates told financial analysts during a meeting Thursday that the company plans to spend $5.3 billion in fiscal 2002, which began July 1. In 2001, Microsoft spent $4.38 billion on R&D. "We're not scaling back our R&D ambition at all," Gates said.

Gates boosts R&D budget
Microsoft to add up to 5,000 jobs in new investment
Carrie Kirby, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, July 25, 2003

Microsoft will increase its investment in research and development by 8 percent, and add as many as 5,000 people to its workforce, Chairman Bill Gates said Thursday.

The software giant will spend $6.8 billion on research in fiscal 2004, compared to $6.4 billion in fiscal 2003, which ended June 30. Microsoft originally pegged last year's R&D budget at $4.7 billion, but a retroactive accounting change due to the company's change in stock compensation increased the number.

Microsoft will increase R&D spending every year "as long as we can," said Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer. "We need to push forward the frontiers of what we do." While Microsoft has already sold its Windows operating system to practically everyone with a computer, Ballmer said plenty of opportunities exist in newer areas such as handheld devices and business software.

The commitment to research and development is a sign that Microsoft intends to use some of its earnings to keep a wide distance between itself and its competitors. While many tech companies are cutting costs as they struggle with the continuing crunch in corporate spending, Microsoft has had a relatively good year and can use that to its advantage. Ballmer said bold investments will be better for Microsoft in the long run than aggressive cost cutting.

Our commentary:

Perhaps the concern for Microsoft investors is that Ballmer stated “plenty of opportunities exist in newer areas such as handheld devices and business software”.

Despite massive spending on Research and Development, Microsoft is outpaced by competitors in handheld devices and other sectors of operation. In our previous post, we provide graphs and details from media sources that outline Microsoft is losing market share in operating systems. It is losing market share in mobile services. It is also losing market share in gaming. Therefore, despite this massive spending, Microsoft is failing to remain competitive. Despite the massive spending Microsoft is failing to keep a "wide distance between competitors" in a positive manner. Its Research and Development budget appears to be creating a "wide distance between competitors", however, based on information it's to the competitors advantage the distance is getting wider. Therefore, if Microsoft continues with massive Research and Development budgets, Apple, Google, RIM and other competitors will expereince a greater competitive advantage over Microsoft.

Gates: Microsoft's Upping Security R&D BudgetJanuary 28, 2004 • by Scott BekkerMore of Microsoft's $6.8 billion research budget will be directed toward making its software more secure and reliable, chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates said at a European technology conference.

"For Microsoft, security will continue to be our top R&D investment for years to come," the Reuters news service reported Bill Gates as telling industry experts at a Microsoft conference in Prague.

Filed under: Business, Windows, Google, Microsoft
Microsoft has a $7.5 billion budget for R&D in 2007
by Chris Gilmer Oct 18th 2006

Microsoft is pumping up its research and development next year according to Steve Ballmer. A step up to $7.5 billion--$1.3 billion more than the previous budget announced in May--comes in a move straight from investors who are worried about Google's lead in the marketplace. This R&D budget will most likely be used to steal recruit talented staff that can help support innovation in research laboratories in India and China, as well as in the US.

In our previous post “Microsoft is Fooling Itself” there is reference to the fact that Microsoft spent approximately $5-6 billion to create Vista. This has resulted in little innovation and a mediocre response from consumers. Although Microsoft controls approximately 80% of the operating system market share, only 17% of consumers use the Vista system. According to reports approximately 65% use the older version of Windows XP. Therefore, the result, Microsoft spent $5-6 billion to have its consumers primarily remain with an older product as opposed to changing to “new” innovation.

Despite deploying billions on Research and Development for operating systems, the company is losing market share to competitors such as Apple. Its massive Research and Development expenditure has failed to create innovation and satisfy or win customers.

Since 2000, Microsoft has deployed over $40 billion in capital on Research and Development. It has spent billions on an attempt to improve online operations. This includes its failed ill-conceived plan to acquire Yahoo for a 65% premium valued at $45 billion.

It has spent in the past decade approximately $20 billion on gaming “innovation”. Despite this expenditure it fails to propel innovation and will loss valuable market share to Wii and Playstation.

This creates the question why should not Microsoft be more innovative?

The company was once the leader in operating systems. It is watching that market share erode. It has virtually watched as competitors capture the online market, which has proven one of the largest technology sectors in the past decade. It has watched as companies such as Wii create new innovative products.

Microsoft despite its massive Research and Development budget has watched while other companies have created every innovative and technical product within the past decade. Microsoft in 2000, was almost twice as more efficient than GE, it was also twice as more profitable as IBM.

However, GE has propelled growth in different sectors of operation with organic and acquisition growth. According to GE 2007 Annual Reports, the finance division experienced an increase of revenue by 26% and earnings grew by 31%.

Microsoft despite a massive Research and Development budget lacks to create products. However, its also failing to create entirely new products areas. Despite this massive expenditure it appears evident that the company follows as opposed to lead. This demonstrates it loss in the PC market share, its failure to command a higher market share online, losing market share in mobile service and losing to competitors in the gaming sector.

This comparison between Microsoft’s Research and Development budget and competitors reflects a harsh reality. It illustrates Microsoft’s lack of innovation. It illustrates that Microsoft has never been the source of real innovation. It’s research labs despite enormous budgets are inefficient and lack innovation.

However, this lack of innovation should be expected from Microsoft. According to reports, DOS was acquired from a third party. Therefore, the system according to reports wasn’t even created by Microsoft. This explains the reality that the company despite a massive Research and Development budget fails to create anything that is “innovative”. Reports indicate that the only real “innovation” of Microsoft was separating the operating system from hardware and making personal computing a reality.

Microsoft in attempt to remain competitive has also deployed enormous amounts of capital towards acquisition. This could conceivably be linked to the company inability to create “innovation”, therefore, it is required to acquire companies that are innovative to in attempt secure market share (the subsequent 65% premium bid for Yahoo valued at $45 billion).

Since 2000, the company has averaged approximately 6 acquisitions per year. It has deployed billions to acquire various companies.

For a list of Microsoft's acquisitions refer to the link at

According to the chart, Microsoft has within the past decade deployed a minimum of $12 billion on various acquisitions. In 2000, it acquired 7 companies, it included sectors such as Internet service, cable television and software.

In 2001, it acquired 6 companies. This included companies within industry sectors such as, Internet service and various software companies.

In 2002, Microsoft acquired 8 companies. This includes telecomunications, consulting, software and a travel agency. It incorporates spending $500 million for Korea Telecom and $1.3 billion for Navision.

In 2003, Microsoft acquired 5 companies. The acquisitions were primarily in the software sector.

In 2004, it acquired 4 companies, mainly within the software sector.

In 2005, Microsoft acquired 10 companies. Areas of acquisition included messaging, mobile and software.

In 2006, Microsoft acquired 18 companies. It included search, mobile and software.

In 2007, Microsoft acquired 14 companies, including the $6.3 billion acquisition of aQuantive. It included areas of acquisition, such as, search, mobile and software.

In 2008, Microsoft acquired 15 companies.This includes in 2008, spending in April $500 million to acquire Danger to secure mobile Internet software. It includes spending $1 billion to acquire Fast Search and Transfer to obtain enterprise search. It also includes spending approximately $500 million to acquire Greenfield Online related to search and e-commerce services.

Although the company withdrew its massive $45 billion bid for Yahoo to help secure a larger online market share, it spent $500 million to acquire Greenfield Online. In 2008, the company has deployed a minimum of $2 billion in various acquisitions.

Perhaps one of the most confusing strategies is the proposed $45 billion bid for Yahoo. During the July 2007 annual analyst meeting Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Liddell stated the following to analysts:

Buying their way in

On Thursday Liddell and Ballmer threw water on the notion that Microsoft will make a large, dramatic acquisition to quickly make up ground in the online services market. One such scenario pondered by analysts has been the potential purchase of Yahoo Inc. (YHOO:
Yahoo! Inc to team up against online search leader Google Inc. (GOOG:

"Are there some big things out there that we could conceivably buy? Sure," Ballmer said, though he added that he and Liddell are "basically organic-minded guys" when it comes to growth.

This report can be found at

During the 2007 meeting, Mr. Ballmer states to analysts that "we will not pursue a large acquisition and are "organic minded". However, less then one year after this comment to analysts, Mr. Ballmer announces that Microsoft is proceeding with a 65% premium bid for Yahoo valued at $45 billion. It appears apparent that Mr. Ballmer and the management are not even certain in their future plans for Microsoft and are uncertain of their own convictions and beliefs concerning the company.

Why would a CEO of a company tell analysts in July 2007 there is no possibility for an acquisition of Yahoo, then less than a year later announce the bid?

According to reports and documentation, Microsoft has since 2000, deployed approximately $40 billion on Research and Development. It has spent approximately $12 billion on acquisitions. In 2008, it will spend approximately $7 billion on Research and Development and has spent at least $2 billion on acquisitions.

This fails to consider the additional capital spent on dividends and share buybacks. In 2000, Mr. Ballmer stated or conceded that :

“Microsoft couldn’t find enough opportunities to spend its enormous cash reserve, announcing a plan to pay shareholders a $32 billion dividend”.

Since that time Microsoft has continued to deploy tremendous amounts of capital towards dividends and most significantly share buybacks.

In 2004, Mr. Ballmer stated:

“As we looked at our cash management choices, our priorities were to increase our regular payments to shareholders, increase our stock buyback efforts given our confidence in the company’s growth prospects, and distribute additional resources in a special one time dividend”.

The result, according to the email we obtained from Investor Relations, Microsoft has deployed $115 billion in capital since 2004 towards share buybacks and dividends. Despite this tremendous expenditure the shares continue to trade at the same five year level of $25 per share.

Therefore, according to the numbers, since 2000, Microsoft through Research and Development, acquisition growth, and share buybacks, has deployed approximately $200 billion. This fails to incorporate the $32 billion one time dividend, and the other acquisitions on the chart that fail to provide acquisition costs. The final result, despite spending $200 billion in capital the shares remain at the same level of approximately $25 per share.

Now, we have the dilemma of trying to understand this “strategy”. In 2000, Mr. Ballmer states we cannot find any opportunity for investment. This was stated basically after the dotcom crash. Current market conditions are reflective of this time in 2000 and potentially worse. Current CEO’s are stating the market presents opportunity to acquire companies at record lows.

In 2000 when the market was experiencing a low with technology shares, Microsoft states we cannot find any opportunity. Then eight years later it tries to spend $45 billion to acquire Yahoo. This is considered logical deployment and execution of the shareholders capital?

Mr. Ballmer in 2000 should have pursued acquiring companies that would have enhanced Microsoft’s strategic position in areas that it is currently trying to capture.

In 2004, Mr. Ballmer states that given the company’s growth prospect we will increase share buybacks. Since 2004, the company has spent $115 billion on this strategy. The shares continue to trade at $25 per share.

The company P/E is currently at 10. This reflects Wall Streets lack of confidence in Microsoft’s growth prospects. Analysts have for several years referred to Microsoft as reflecting a utility company, its well suited to generate steady cash flows and dividends, BUT NOT GROWTH.
Therefore, were is the growth that Mr. Ballmer was refering to?

This presents the question of why Microsoft stated “as we considered our confidence in the company growth prospects we have decided to increase share buybacks”.

If Microsoft had the ability for growth this would be reflected in Wall Street offering a higher P/E ratio and share price. If Microsoft according to investors presented growth then its shares will have increased higher than its five year average of $25 per share.

The market fails to possess the similar confidence as Microsoft management in regards to the potential growth prospects. It perceives Microsoft as a company that lacks the ability to create growth, therefore, this reflects the comparison by analysts to a utility. This fails to reflect confidence in Microsoft by Wall Street.

Therefore, since 2000, Microsoft has deployed a minimum of $40 billion on Research and Development and a minimum of $12 billion on acquisition growth. This has resulted in company revenue growing from approximately $40 billion to $60 billion. This fails to reflect stellar growth based on the capital deployed.

Perhaps the most alarming number is the total expenditure if Mr. Ballmer and management maintain this “Old Strategy”. The reality, Mr. Ballmer has indicated the intention to continue to pursue share buybacks. In five years will the number have increased from $115 to exceed $200 billion with the shares still trading at $25 per share?

Will it include Microsoft spending in five years another $40 billion on Research and Development with similar results as Vista, xBox, MSN and Microsoft Mobile?

Will Microsoft continue to spend enormous amounts of capital to fail to create “innovation” and continue to lose market share to competitors?

For additional insight into Microsoft and its Research and Development success, we suggest reading Carleen Hawn’s article located at

This article confirms our analysis and provides additional examples of Microsoft and its Research and Development expenditures and the subsequent results. It refers to the digital toilet and SPOT watch.

Our “New Strategy” recommends using current conditions to accelerate revenue and earnings growth through acquisition. We suggest acquiring a major bank. We suggest acquiring a mobile service company. We also suggest acquiring a “search” only deal with Yahoo.

This “New Strategy” with current conditions involves spending approximately $40 billion. Since starting this campaign the bank ING has experienced a $7 billion increase in its market valuation. However, the market still presents opportunity to secure valuable assets at a discount.

In five years will reports indicate that in 2009, Mr. Ballmer stated “as we looked at growth prospects and our cash we decided to deploy $30 billion to acquire all of Yahoo and deploy $115 billion more in share buybacks”.

Our “New Strategy” involves deploying approximately $20 billion to acquire ING. This enables Microsoft to expand its product mix and emulate GE. General Electric has created a profitable finance division. Based on 2007 annual reports, the company division continues to experience double digit growth. This division was established on the company offering financing to customers for heavy equipment purchases. It has evolved to account for more than half the company annual revenue. Subsequently, GE is more a finance company than the technology company it was originally.

Microsoft can acquire ING for approximately $20 billion. Based on ING 2007 Annual Reports, the company generated $211 billion in revenue and $14 billion in income. This will enable Microsoft to increase combined operational revenue to exceed $300 billion. It will create combined income of $30 billion.

Microsoft can emulate GE. It can offer consumers financing. It can offer companies both financing for purchases but can also cross-promote. A corporate client can secure financing an also obtain “rewards” towards its entire work force using Microsoft mobile services.

According to reports the American consumer-finance sector is a $7 trillion industry. It enables Microsoft through ING and ING Direct which compliment MSN online services, to capture a portion of the finance sector. It provides consumers with a cross-promotion incentive. The consumer would utilize Microsoft finances services as it provided benefits towards other services. The consumer could obtain “rewards” towards MSN, xBox, or mobile services.

Conventional companies lack the ability to compete. This includes conventional banks and also competitors in other sectors. Conventional banks lack the ability to offer consumers the same “rewards” as other companies or Microsoft. This is the primary reason Canadian retailer Loblaws hs experienced tremendous success with PC Financial. Consumers will use PC Financial as opposed to conventional banks, such as, TD, Royal Bank or Scotia Bank, because the consumer obtain “rewards” with PC Financial.

Additionally, competitors of Microsoft in other sectors fail to have the ability to offer financial services to consumers. Verizon or AT&T lack the ability to offer individual and corporate clients financial services and cross-promotion. AT&T lacks the ability to offer “rewards” that can be used for online search or gaming. This enables Microsoft to enhance its dominance in current sectors of operation as consumers utilize cross-promotion advantages and rewards.

The increase in revenue and earnings provides Microsoft with an increase in income to provide an attractive dividend and pursue additional acquisition growth.

Our “New Strategy” involves Microsoft acquiring the company Sprint. This company can be acquired for approximately $7 billion. This provides Microsoft with an additional $40 billion in annual revenue. It enables Microsoft to progress from an alliance with Sprint to complete ownership of the asset. This will enable Microsoft to aggressively accelerate its presence in mobile services. The combined company could have revenue of over $300 billion. This would enable Microsoft to pursue additional acquisitions within the telecom sector. With Sprint and additional $40 billion in annual revenue in conjunction with current Microsoft revenue and income, the company could pursue increasing Sprints market share through acquisition.

Our “New Strategy” involves Microsoft pursuing a “search” only deal with Yahoo. This could be obtained for approximately $3-5 billion according to many analysts. This would increase Microsoft’s presence and market share within the online sector.

Our “New Strategy” involves deploying approximately $40 billion, which is less than the proposed Yahoo bid in the beginning of 2008. It involves spending $40 billion to acquire three assets that will create combined operational revenue of $320 billion and net income of over $30 billion annually.

This “New Strategy” will enable Microsoft to experience a increase in revenue and earnings. It provides the company with additional revenue and cash flow to pursue additional growth.

With the “Old Strategy”, Microsoft will continue to spend billions annually that have marginal or minimum effect on increasing revenue and earnings. The company in 2009 will pursue another five to six acquisitions at a cost of approximately $2 billion based on 2008 expenditures. This will have minimum effect on enhancing revenue and earnings.

Our “New Strategy” involves spending $40 billion to increase revenue to $320 billion. It will increase earnings to $30 billion. It will provide the company with growth opportunity with ING, and Sprint. For example, Microsoft through ownership of Sprint could aggressively pursue acquiring more market share from Verizon and AT&T. It could pursue to acquire Telus, Vonage, RIM or other mobile companies to enhance market share. Microsoft will have the potential to accelerate growth within this sector and financial services.

Our “New Strategy” creates greater value for shareholders than the “Old Strategy”. It provides a greater potential for revenue growth based on the deployment of capital. If Microsoft continues with the “Old Strategy” in five years it will have spent $10 billion on acquisitions and potentially increased revenue to $80 billion. This is based on if Microsoft can continue growth on the same level as past periods. However, mentioned in previous posts, there is the potential for earnings to decrease as competitors capture additional market share.

Our “New Strategy” enables Microsoft to initially spend $40 billion to acquire ING, Sprint and a ‘Search” deal with Yahoo. It provides the company with $320 billion in revenue. It provides $30 billion in net income. Through the period of the next five years it enables Microsoft to use these acquisitions and earnings to pursue further growth. Therefore, in five years through the acquisitions, there is the potential for ING and Sprint to experience growth. ING could acquire additional banks, insurance companies or other assets. Sprint could acquire other companies to increase market share. The “New strategy” provides Microsoft with increased opportunity and growth.

The company GE, through entering financial services, and growth through acquisition accelerated revenue growth to surpass $100 billion annually. Through entering financial services, half of the company annual revenue is derived from this division and still maintains growth. The company was through this strategy able to create hundreds of billions of dollars in shareholder value. Although the company stock is currently trading at $18 per share in the beginning of 2008 they were trading at $38 per share. Based on current market volatility it has lost approximately half of its market valuation. However, for a five year period at has remained at approximately $40 per share. This provided the company with a market valuation of approximately $300 billion.

Our “New Strategy” recommends that Microsoft emulate GE. We recommend that the company enter financial services, acquire Sprint, and pursue a “search” deal with Yahoo. The entrance into finance enables Microsoft to emulate GE. It enables the company to derive the majority of revenue from finance services and provide opportunity for continued growth.

Our “New Strategy” presents the opportunity to create hundreds of billions of dollars in shareholder value. As the markets correct, Microsoft through these acquisitions has the capacity to realize substantial gains in value. ING has continued to increase, and Sprint will eventually also increase in value. Both of these companies can be currently acquired for a extreme discount from valuations in early 2008 before the market volatility.

Additionally, the combined companies will create greater value than as independent stand alone companies. ING, and Sprint have the ability to use cross-promotion with Microsoft and its services to offer consumers an enhanced product mix and greater value. Sprint, for example, has greater appeal to consumers based on the acquisition that if it remained independent. Sprint consumers can obtain “rewards” for Microsoft products such as software or gaming. Commercial consumers that use Sprint for long-distance voice, Internet, and data network services secure access to Microsoft products. Current Sprint users would have cross-promotion “rewards” with Microsoft. This cross-promotion and added value would also attract additional corporate clients to use Sprint. Therefore, it would have the capacity to increase revenue and earning’s growth for Sprint.

Microsoft, secures greater value with the addition of both ING and Sprint. It enables the company to attract consumers through cross-promotion advantages. It therefore enhances the value of current divisions or services. For example, through owning Sprint, corporate clients that acquire mobile services which also have Internet ability are established with MSN as the homepage or search engine.


Product Division




Business Division





Entertainment Division



$60 billion in Annual Revenue
$17 billion in Annual Net Income
$7 billion in Annual Research and Development


Product Division





Business Division





Business software










Entertainment Division



$320 billion in Annual Revenue
$30 billion in Net Income

The "Old Strategy" includes Microsoft deploying an average of $7 billion annually on Research and Development. It includes deploying billions annually on acquisitions that fail to create a dramatic increase in revenue and earnings. It includes spending billions annually on share buybacks. The end result of this "Old Strategy", Microsoft is losing to competitors in search, mobile and gaming. It is also losing its grip on the operating system market. Unless Windows 7 accomplishes were Vista failed, this will add to the subsequent decline in market share within this sector.

The "New Strategy" involves spending approximately $40 billion based on current valuations of acquisition companies. It involves Microsoft aggressively entering the financial services sector, a "strategy" suggested by Parish and Company in an article "Closer Look At Microsoft".

The "New Strategy" involves acquiring a major mobile company. This enables Microsoft to acquire Sprint for $6 billion, which is less than it spent on aQuantive in 2007. It enables Microsoft to acquire a company that will create synergy with current operations. Currently, Microsoft has an alliance with Sprint. Current conditions enable Microsoft to acquire that company and add $40 billion in annual revenue. This revenue and earnings can then be utilized to acquire additional mobile companies or mobile software companies.

The "New Strategy" enables Microsoft to spend less than its $45 billion bid for Yahoo. The "New Strategy" involves spending $3-5 billion to complete a "search" only deal with Yahoo. It enables Microsoft to remain competitive with Google.

As mentioned, in our previous post, in the end of 2008 we obtained news that has the potential to dramatically accelerate the campaign. We will within the the near future provide information concering this development.



We can be contacted via email at


Steve Ballmer said...

If you people were sooo smart you would have my job! Back seat drivers are a dime a dozen!

There, I responded, how do you like it?

Crandrea Group said...

This is in regards to the response we obtained from our post. It seems uncertain which is bigger, Microsoft or your ego.

You didn't found or establish Microsoft. You were a friend and one of the first employees.

Perhaps, Bill should have assigned a differnt FRIEND..perhaps Warren who as CEO of Berkshire has actually proved he is smart and has created shareholder value.
Yes, there are back seat drivers. This occurs because the back seat driver lacks confidence in the skill and ability of the operator. It happens because the back seat driver is nervous and afraid of the competence of the driver.

In your blog post “MacWorld Invasion” is the depiction of Sir William Wallace of Braveheart. It is ironic yet naïve. The reality is that you will certainly not have the characteristics of William Wallace.

In your post concerning the Motley Fool, you respond with arrogance stating “I am the billionaire here”. If you recall from history, kings and monarchs that fail to listen to their subjects are the subsequent monarchs that get revolts, revolutions and dethroned. I might remind you of the comment “let them eat cake”.

It appears that you resemble the King in the movie Braveheart. You only acquired your position by chance and then have the audacity to believe you earned it. As a billionaire, you failed to create Microsoft, you were an employee and friend of the founder. You have failed to create any true value for the company. Therefore, it appears that you are like the King, you are arrogantly stating your title and yet refusing to listen to the masses.

There are numerous frustrated shareholders that are not billionaires, however, they have placed their confidence in the management of Microsoft. Shareholders such as Mr. MacDonald that has invested $3 million and watched it remain flat, it appears that you are without regard stating “let them eat cake…I am the billionaire”.

The reality of Braveheart is, it was led by William Wallace, numerous frustrated citizens rallied support and sacked numerous English strongholds. The history lesson is there is strength in numbers. There are numerous frustrated shareholders, despite your arrogant comment of being a billionaire, reflects the reality that you fail to recognize that the Motley Fool or any other party that owns shares are ultimately THE TRUE OWNERS OF THE COMPANY, you are only the CEO.

We have started a campaign. In two weeks we obtained interest from a media company to conduct a full report. We are certain that within the next two weeks to a month this campaign will garner an equal level of media attention as the anti-trust settlements.

When it reaches that level, you will be required to listen to shareholders and their comments. You will be required to listen to analysts. You will be confronted with a full revolution of frustrated shareholders or as you call them BACK SEAT DRIVERS. (Reality check for you...the back seat drivers you arrogantly refer to..they own the car as shareholders..not you)

At that time you will be required to give an account of the change in direction with bidding for Yahoo. The deployment of $115 billion in share buybacks that have failed to elevate share levels. The deployment of approximately $7 billion annually on Research and Development that fails to create innovation. The billions spent on acquisitions that have failed to instill confidence on Wall Street that Microsoft has growth potential. The failure of Vista, Microsoft Mobile, the decrease in online market share, the decrease in operating system market share, the reason Microsoft has a P/E of 10, and why Wall Street calls the company a utility.

Terry Semel of Yahoo failed to recognize the influence of blogs, media and the masses. Through a blog campaign and media attention, in approximately two months, “Plan B” a campaign started by one frustrated shareholder forced his resignation. The King of Yahoo failed to listen to the masses and a revolution forced Him to be dethroned.

Steve Ballmer said...

I hate activist!
You people claim to be working off of "principle" but we both know that what you really want is money! Everybody does! Just like in the "Vista CapAble" case, we will resist just to see if we can get away from paying, when we are convinced we can't, we will settle for pennies on the dollar.
Your case is much more subjective than theirs, therefore worth much less and is throughly beatable!
Money matters more than truth, accept it and move on!