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  (Source: Reuters)
Amid low share prices, Ballmer received a chilly reception from some shareholders at their annual meeting

At Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) annual shareholder Wednesday, the company's at-times boisterous Chief Executive Steven "Steve" Ballmer brought in Microsoft's "big guns" -- former Microsoft CEO, co-founder, and tech icon Bill Gates and Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein.  But at the meeting of 450 shareholders, Mr. Ballmer did not need to enlist the help of his fellow Microsoft elite, who remained silent even as the meeting turned chilly, according to Reuters reporters in attendance.

Amid tough questions from the audience, Mr. Ballmer was candid in his assessment that Microsoft was a late-comer to the tablet game, but he told the audience in a fiery defense that he saw "nothing but a sea of upside" for Windows 8 tablets.  He comments, "We're innovating on the seam between software and hardware.  Maybe we should have done that earlier.  [But] I feel pretty good about our [current] level of innovation."

Indeed, Microsoft has some defenders in odd places.  Stephen "Steve" Wozniak, better known as the "Woz", was once a ferocious critic of Microsoft and evangelist for Apple, Inc. (AAPL), the company he co-founded.  But today he said in a recent TechCrunch interview that he fears for Apple because Microsoft has become more innovative.

Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer is overwhelmed with anticipation regarding his company's
prospects in the tablet market. [Image Source: Getty Images]

Others might disagree.

While Mr. Ballmer pointed optimistically to Windows Phone sales quadrupling on a year-to-year basis, the platform is still estimated to only own 2 to 4 percent of the global market, well behind Apple and market leader Google Inc. (GOOG).  While Microsoft dreams of "pulling a Google" and rising to the top of the stack, it currently is resigned to vying with embattled Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) for the third-place spot.

But when it came to shareholder criticism, the harshest questions came not about Microsoft's products, but rather why its share price was so low.  Indeed, Microsoft shares trade at an order of magnitude lower than their Google and Apple counterparts.  (To be fair Microsoft has significantly approximately 9 times as many shares as Apple, and 25 times as many as Google).  Apple recently passed Microsoft in market capitalization and today has a total stock value that is more than twice that of Microsoft's.

Steve Ballmer dodged the share value question, remarking, "I understand your comment... [but Microsoft has] done a phenomenal job of driving product volumes... The stock market's kind of a funny thing."

Funny indeed, but the shareholders might have been less than amused.  Mr. Ballmer did placate the critics slightly by pointing to Microsoft's $10B USD profit sharing effort which includes share buybacks and quarterly dividends.

Currently, Microsoft shares are trading at around their levels from a decade ago, having risen roughly 18 percent in 2012.  In other words, despite the criticism, shareholders should be pleased to an extent that Microsoft outperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 average of an anemic 3 percent in gains.

Source: Reuters

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RE: optimistic
By TakinYourPoints on 11/29/2012 11:42:48 PM , Rating: 0
I didn't ignore them, those things simply don't offset having faster hardware with better screens and applications, for me ofc.

Here's one more thing I like:

- The iPhone 5 has 2x the LTE and wifi browsing time of a GS3. Of course, you can go to an even slower and larger Razr Maxx if you want to measure up. I dunno, the fact that Android hardware can't deliver the complete package, even with much larger chassis, is a bit weird to me.

Let's be honest, this is the main reason most people who buy Android are choosing it, and this is more important than anything you've listed: It is cheaper in more places.

That's it. The bulk of Android hardware sold are low end smartphones and feature phones sold through placed like Boost Mobile that cater to people with low income, or to third world countries. The sales figures and usage statistics for internet traffic and app usage says it all.

Don't get me wrong, the GS3 selling 30 million units in four months is impressive, but the iPhone 4S sold that amount in half the time, and that is being far outpaced by the iPhone 5. Don't try and infer that Android's high marketshare equates to the same level of hardware being sold as on the iOS side, it isn't.

Hell, take Windows Phone's low marketshare out of the equation and I'm certain that percentagewise its users use more internet than Android does, simply because so much of Android is running on the low end.

RE: optimistic
By retrospooty on 11/30/2012 7:24:53 AM , Rating: 2
"Don't try and infer that Android's high marketshare equates to the same level of hardware being sold as on the iOS side, it isn't."

Yes, on the high alone end it IS outselling IOS. The GS3 did it alone in the last quarter, and that is but one high end model, of course now its 6 months old and better things are out... But anyhow, I do agree, its not about sales #'s, its about what you get as a consumer, after all we each buy 1 phone to use (for the most part). On that front buying a high end Android gives you more. Not just a little more, alot more. If you dont care about the dozen+ things on that list, the iPhone is a great phone though. It's also the best phone for users that dont know anything about tech and dont want to learn.

RE: optimistic
By TakinYourPoints on 12/1/2012 7:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
The GS3 took twice as long to sell 30 million units as the iPhone 4S, and it outsold the iPhone 4S when it was almost a year old and was about to be replaced.

Logic dude, use it.

On that front buying a high end Android gives you more. Not just a little more, alot more

Weak battery life, sketchy to non-existent update support, slower SoC, inferior screen quality, fewer quality apps.

Yup, Android gets you so much more! A USB plug, MMM, amazing!

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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