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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 Pessimism on 5/26/2011 1:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
IBM may be called slow and lumbering, but they know how to survive. They see when a business unit is going south, dump it, and diversify into another market. They don't waste money swallowing other companies that may or may not benefit them. There will always be a need for consulting due to the human race's unrivalled ability to screw up and get themselves into a bind.

By KoolAidMan1 on 5/26/2011 2:50:00 PM , Rating: 2
Nailed it. Selling off business units with ever declining profit margins, hardware divisions like laptops to Lenovo for example, was a great move.

They're basically doing what Apple is, but in a completely different market. Cut out as much fat as possible and focus on excelling in your areas of expertise, instead of focusing your energy everywhere and releasing many products of wildly different quality into the wild. This only seems to dilute the power of a brand.

Keep It Simple.

On a side note, I don't understand how Microsoft with their massive R&D budget that far exceeds both the R&D and marketing budgets of behemoths like Apple and HP results in so little ROI. The structure of Microsoft seems to get in the way of all of these amazing ideas finding their way into products that actually get made.

By SL4P on 5/30/2011 4:07:55 AM , Rating: 2
Whoa there Nellie...

Microsoft buys successful innovators, misunderstands their product and the matket - and crashes the newly acquired division.

This not survival, it's a long protracted suicide - taking down the community with you.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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