Activists have used various tactics to effect change. Icahn Partners have used full page ads in newspapers as with its campaign against Motorola to effect change. Third Point is notorious for letters to CEO's of target companies. Pershing Square used a PowerPoint presentation to effect change at McDonalds.
Ironfire Capital used the Internet to rally support for it's "Plan B" for Yahoo. Ironfire Capital used blogs, wiki's and youtube to rally support from frustrated shareholders. View its wiki at http://shareowneractivism.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
Ironfire Capital used the wiki as a tool to enable shareholders to modify the "Plan B" or make edits and revisions. The campaign for a "New Strategy" for Microsoft intended to emulate this strategy and utilize the Internet to rally support.
Prior to launching the campaign various mobile carriers were analyzed. Numerous analysts indicated that Microsoft pursuing alliances was a attempt to acquire marketshare but would fail to provide adequate revenue.
With consumer transitioning to netbooks, SaaS and cloud computing it is imparative that Microsoft examine its current business model. Analysis indicated that Microsoft is required to enter new markets to offset revenue loss in current divisions of operation.
The premise for the "New Strategy" was to primarily divert the $40 billion that was committed to share buybacks. Historically this tactic has failed to elevate the share price. Wall Street is a foward looking mechanism and recognizes that Microsoft fails to have a positive future outlook, therefore despite previously deploying $40 billion the shares still remain flat.
During initial analysis RIM appeared to be a premium and would exhaust the majority of the $40 billion. There were also two primary concerns. First, Microsoft has lost consumer and brand coinfidence as outlined by shareholder Mr. McDonald in the Microsoft SubNet article located at http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/38899
The second dilemna is Microsoft's inability to acquire assets and integrate those assets into current operations to prove viable. This argument was outlined in a Microsoft Subnet article located at http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/38350
Based on these concerns the campaign focused on Microsoft acquiring Sprint. It offered a cheaper acquisition cost and also provided guaranteed monthly subscribers and therefore a constant revenue base.
This acquisition has been abandoned. A Microsoft employee has stated " A Sprint acquisition doesn't strike me as particularly prudent, because that brand's reputation is not something MS needs right now. If they think Vista has damaged the MS brand, they really won't like what being associated with Sprint will do to the brand".
Another problem that confronts the Sprint premise was brought to this campaign's attention via Mini Microsoft and can be viewed at http://consumerist/5156740/sprint-loses-another-1.1-million-customers
The "New Strategy" involves the following:
1) Abandon share buybacks. This tactic has failed to elevate the share price.
2) Divert the $40 billion allocated to share buybacks towards acquisition growth.
3) Acquire RIM. This provides Microsoft with a popular brand and instant dominance within the handheld sector.
4) Pursue a 'search' only deal with Yahoo. This will increase Microsoft online 'search' marketshare. It will provide a stronger base for cloud computing.
Microsoft is losing share. It has for the long-term failed to create value for shareholders.
It is time for frustrated shareholders to rally support and effect change. It is time to inject the company with vision and long-term lasting value.
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