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Some top investors and former employees are calling for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's resignation.   (Source: Reuters)

IBM on Tuesday past Microsoft in market cap for the first time in decades. Some perceive Microsoft as a "dying" brand.  (Source: Silicon Angle)
No more "Developers, developers, developers"? Top investors demand Ballmer step down

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has always had his critics.  His hard-nosed style of management offended some, as did his colorful personality.  But criticism of the CEO, who replaced Bill Gates in 2000 for the position, has been mounting of late as the company has struggled in certain sectors -- like smartphones and tablets -- and made questionable decisions, as well -- like purchasing video messaging service Skype at nearly twice its market valuation.

At a financial summit -- the Ira Sohn Investment Research Conference -- in New York on Wednesday, David Einhorn, an influential hedge fund star and manager of a fund at Greenlight Capital, delivered harsh words for Microsoft's boisterous chief.

He commented, "[G]ive someone else a chance.   His [Ballmer's] continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock."

Mr. Einhorn has vested interest in the company's success.  He recently executed a large purchase of the company's stock.  His firm now owns 9 million shares, or about 0.11 percent of the company's total shares.

While some properties like the Xbox console and the Windows 7 operating system have been well received and sold great, investors have largely focused on the company's misses.  CNN Money last year carried a scathing editorial in which it suggested that Microsoft was "dying".

With stock worth under 10 times the company's earnings, Microsoft shares are considered undervalued.  But not everyone is purchasing due to the cloud of doubts hanging over the company.

Last year Microsoft was notably passed in market cap by a familiar old foe -- Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  While many jeered at this news, Apple has since somewhat silenced critics by passing Microsoft on quarterly profits.  On Tuesday further concerns were raised when lumbering old giant International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) passed Microsoft in market cap for the first time in decades.

After years on top of the tech industry in stock, revenue, and profits, Microsoft is finding itself fading from the race.  Does that require a major leadership shift?  Some argue that it does.

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By Arsynic on 5/26/2011 11:34:00 AM , Rating: 1
You're wrong. Microsoft cannot rely on the PC market anymore because that market will shrink due to smartphones, tablets and then Converged Computing devices. Windows dominance in the consumer PC market is a moot point in view of this.

By Da W on 5/26/2011 12:00:19 PM , Rating: 5
While all the complaints about Ballmer are true about the past 10 years, Microsoft is looking to have taken a hold of themselves and the future looks briter.

The Mango update showed great promises.
Overpaid for Skype (nobody knows how much Google wanted to throw at it), but they will integrate a "facetime" thing on their phone that will work with every PC out there. Not bad.
Xbox does well and kinnect sells way more than iPads. Kinnect-like sensor will move to the PCs.
They will throw Windows 8 on PCs AND tablets and new apps/software coded in the .net framework will run on both ARM and x86 hardware.

PCs aren't going anywhere. the PC has always been a testbed for future technologies. It's always more powerful/smarter/more capable than smaller form factors. As phone become more powerful, PCs will be even more. The world doesn't end there ya know, a PC is not only office work and sending e-mails. There will be new functionnalities that will come as PCs get stronger, that will then be incorporated into smaller devices and new functionalities will appear on PCs.

By SirKronan on 5/27/2011 1:28:16 AM , Rating: 2
You, sir, are my current hero with this quote. You are absolutely right on the money, and I can easily see all of those things you mentioned happening in the near future.

The PC is here to stay. Right now I am building an HTPC for a family member, and a desktop PC for a friend of mine to use for school work. Desktops continue to have a place in the home and demand on the market. Tablets are great companion devices, and may replace some laptop functions due to their pricing and portability, but desktops are still the value king and the reliability king, and the upgradability king, and the repairability king, should something happen to go wrong.

And don't forget they are STILL the gaming king. What will raise the bar on console development if their aren't PC's with cutting edge tech to push the graphics envelope?

By smackababy on 5/26/2011 12:52:51 PM , Rating: 5
You're right! PCs are out the door and all software and apps for those smartphones and consoles will be developed on iPads and smart phones... Seriously? The majority of the world does more than check their email and Facebook on a computer.

And as far as the Skype purchase, it was a great idea. iPhones already have Facetime which only works with iPhones. People want that on Windows Phones. Skype allows it to work on EVERY phone and work on Windows PCs as well. The name is already trusted and isn't another Microsoft "product". It doesn't have the (largely false) negative image of MS products and millions (well maybe thousands) of users already.

By Boze on 5/26/2011 2:22:45 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, where have you been for the past 8 years?

Skype has many... many millions of users.

By Taft12 on 5/26/2011 2:35:48 PM , Rating: 4
The majority of the world does more than check their email and Facebook on a computer.

Add Youtube to the list and that's *exactly* what a majority of the world does on their computer.

By Da W on 5/26/2011 4:06:16 PM , Rating: 5
Add gaming (why don't we call this playing?) better games than on consoles, or flash games that you can't play on most phone/pads.
Add work - like text / excel /powerpoint presentations.
Add watch DVD/Blue ray movies.
Add downloading music / movies / pirated stuff.
Add browsing the internet on a FAST browser with a FAST connection.
Add recording TV shows on a HTPC.
Add: creating stuff, editing photos, videos, coverting music/movies formats to put on your IPOD/IPAD/useless apple toy.
Add: wasting your time posting trash on Daily Tech.

By omnicronx on 5/26/2011 10:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
At home...

I just never understand the theory that limited consumer devices are going to take over the business market (the majority of PC sales) anytime soon (if ever).

Taking this further, its crazy if they think people are going to vastly diverge from what they use at home, to what they use at work.

Until some kind of compromise is made, devices like tablets, smartphones etc will only complement the PC, and will not replace it.

By ddh on 5/27/2011 4:56:12 PM , Rating: 2

Well Said sir. In addition to Skype's integration in the Windows OS products i believe you sill see an version of it aggressively integrated into every MS appliance. such as the XBox, Tablets and other such devices. Skype for business is huge and growing rapidly as more and more business world wide utilize this technology to leverage operational costs. I see MS improving Skype and building a better Windows 2008 or cloud based PBX server for Skype business clients. Watch out Telco's here comes MS Screaming into your markets.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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