MacMall 96 Hour Apple SaleMicrosoft held their annual meeting with shareholders this morning. These are presumably a group of people for whom rapid rises in the value of their shares is anathema.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer “had plenty to say—particularly in response to shareholder questions about Macs, Windows, and the company’s struggle to regain its footing in the market for mobile phones,” Todd Bishop reports for Portfolio.

“One shareholder told Ballmer that he believes Microsoft has a poor reputation compared with Apple among younger computer users, and particularly college students. ‘I’m just wondering why your marketing group can’t do something to try to rein in this next generation, because you’ve got a real bad image out there,’ the shareholder said, saying that Apple’s ads make the Redmond company look ‘like a buffoon,'” Bishop reports.

MacDailyNews Take: As if Microsoft’s choice of an actual buffoon for CEO hasn’t had any impact whatsoever.

“[Ballmer said] ‘There’s certainly always opportunities for improvement,’ acknowledging that there ‘is a group of people with whom our market share is less,'” Bishop reports. “[Ballmer said ‘]It is important to remember that 96 times out of 100 worldwide, people choose a PC with Windows, that’s a good thing. Even in the toughest market, which would be the high end of the consumer market here in the U.S., 83 times out of 100 people choose a Windows PC over a Mac.’ He added, ‘We’re working hard on it. Windows 7 I think gives us a real opportunity to come back again at some audiences that have been tougher for us. Frankly, the economy is good for us, because people do understand that Macintoshes are quite a bit more expensive for essentially the same computer…but we have opportunities to improve among exactly the constituency that you identify.'”

MacDailyNews Take: “Essentially the same computer?” Ballmer can’t really believe that, can he?

Bishop reports, “Later, another shareholder asked why Microsoft and Nokia don’t team up to try to topple the iPhone and fend off Google’s Android. Ballmer focused initially on the latter, saying he’s dedicated to keeping higher market share than the new Google mobile operating system.”

MacDailyNews Take: At least Ballmer T. Clown understands that “toppling iPhone” is an unrealistic goal.

Bishop reports, “[Ballmer said] ‘I think we’re on the right strategy, which is to focus on the software that goes into phones, as opposed to building phones.'”

MacDailyNews Take: He “thinks.” He still likes his strategy. He likes it a lot. May Steve Ballmer remain Microsoft CEO (and may MSFT shareholders remain clueless) for as long as it takes!

Full article here.