It was reported recently that Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, sold 12% of his shares in the company. This equates to over $1.3 billion worth of shares.
Ballmer, being the extremely astute businessman that he is, knew that this was not something that would go unnoticed by the public within the tech community or, more important, fellow Microsoft shareholders. So with eager anticipation, Ballmer got to the post first and issued a public statement. Basically Ballmer tried to justify his share selling extravaganza as a personal financial diversification and tax planning exercise.
“Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion. 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.”
Please, Mr. Ballmer, members of the tech community would have much more respect for you if you just came out and told the truth. I personally find his statement a little bizarre. Don’t get me wrong, I know why Ballmer got to the the media first in order to release the statement. If this really had anything to do with better financial management or tax purposes, surely would he not just move his business about as opposed to selling it? Regardless of the way you look at this, Ballmer has shown, in the strongest possible manner, that he no longer has any faith in Microsoft.
Steve Ballmer has obviously taken a look at the recent stock market figures for Apple and decided Microsoft’s situation is worse than he previously expected. No doubt, Ballmer will be just the beginning of the Microsoft board selling share holds and stocks. Oh, wait a second, Bill Gates has also been reported as selling one million shares equating to $27.2 million. Of course, Bill Gates is no longer officially at Microsoft; nevertheless, he is still the father of MS.
To an untrained, non-business eye — and correct me if I am wrong — this looks very much like the captain jumping ship before it sinks. I know loads of people will be saying that there is no chance of Microsoft sinking and that it could never happen, but not that long ago, people said there was no chance that Apple could grip hold of more market share than Microsoft.
Many people said that when Bill Gates left Microsoft and handed over the rains to Ballmer, the company would take a massive dip. It has and it has also only reinforced another speculation relating to Ballmer and that is: he was good for nothing and was a prime example of “in the right place at the right time.”
Far be it for me to criticise an icon such as Ballmer. Love him or hate him, nobody can deny that he certainly brought character and colour to the world of tech. (“Developers, developers, developers!”)
My name is Ivor Harrison, however, my friends all call me Harry. The name Harry originates from my time in the British Army. As a young recruit, all are referred to by their surname and friends develop nicknames from that, just to take away the formality. I have been married to my wonderful wife for sixteen years and together we have three beautiful children aged 10, 8, and 6 — two girls and a boy. I’ve got my own blog, and I can also be found on Twitter and YouTube. Please stop by and say hello!