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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 robinthakur on 5/31/2011 12:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
I beg to differ. The first console was not 'Internet capable', there was no web browser, just as there isn't one for the 360. The Dreamcast was actually the first broadband capable console long before the Xbox and it had a Web browser!

The Xbox might have been a quality Product with a "GREAT" game library (this is open to opinion) but MS themselves cared not a jot when they killed it overnight and released the 360 because the hard disks were too expensive to manufacture and they wanted to steal a lead in the next generation, which did not exactly endear them to gamers or developers at the time in the slightest.

The 360 did have Major quality issues, and this vast one-off reparative cost together with the marketing and R&D on both consoles meant that MS only started making a modest profit only from 2008.

Re: Halo online play being 'revolutionary', this kind of thing had been out on the PC dating back to Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake and Unreal Tournament on PC. Halo was unremarkable in terms of experience and its generic graphics and characters, even for the time (way before the OTT marketing came into play and the supposed 'Legendary' status) with the most notable thing being that it allowed 16 player system link play (Live was not available at the time it launched) which had not been done on console before. Apart from being the only fairly good game on the Xbox at launch, nobody actually accorded it that much attention at the time. What was the great experience exactly? Playing a cut down developed-for-Mac game on a console? I think you are letting marketing rewrite the past whilst looking back through your rose-tinted spectacles...

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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