Under sales guy Ballmer, Microsoft’s stock has been a dud

“When Steve Ballmer took over as CEO in January 2000, Microsoft was the titan of tech and the world’s most valuable company.
My, how things have changed,” Matthew Craft and Christina Rexrode report for The Associated Press.

“In the 13 years since Bill Gates handed over the CEO spot, the technology landscape has seen seismic shifts. The Internet bubble popped, erasing paper fortunes built on dot.com companies. Apple’s iPods, iPhones and iPads became ubiquitous. Google became a verb. And Facebook turned social networking into something you do by yourself, instead of surrounded by people at happy hour,” Craft and Rexrode report. “The years have been less kind to Microsoft. ‘Complacency and a lack of innovation caught up to them,’ said Yun Kim, an analyst at Janney Capital Markets. ‘It’s their inability to stay relevant beyond the PC.'”

Craft and Rexrode report, “When Ballmer became CEO, Microsoft had a market value of $604 billion… Now, Microsoft’s market value is $269 billion, less than half of its value when Ballmer came to power… Under Ballmer, Microsoft’s stock has been a dud, losing 44 percent during his tenure. Still, dividend payments have compensated for some of the slump. An investment of $1,000 in January 2000 would now be worth just $767 after reinvesting dividends, according to data from FactSet. The same investment in Apple would be worth $20,120.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “TomL” for the heads up.]

20 Comments

    1. In the larger scheme of things, the whole planet is a speck of dust in the wind. What’s your point?

      Your view is highly skewed. MSFT created many millionaires and a few billionaires. It’s stock trends are little different than any formerly powerful company that is slowly ruined by internal bureaucracy and uninspired, backward-looking leadership.

      Like it or not, MSFT is still important and not a dud to those thousands of global IT workers who, for better or worse, service/support/interface MS products. Many products of which Apple has no competing offering…

      The problem with the American point of view is that it is just not true that there is only one winner for all time, and behind that winner all other competitors lag far behind. Reality is, all dogs have their day. MSFT had its moment in the sun, and Apple was lucky enough to have more than one. I don’t think any of us can predict the future, but it is not certain that Cook isn’t going to lead Apple down the same bloated, slow, corporatized path that MS followed. Apple is no longer young and hungry, folks.

      1. What a pile of left-field, non sequitur bullshit. MSFT has been a dud organization from its inception, irrespective of how much money some opportunists have made from it OR how many have come to rely on it. Many people have become wealthy in the illegal drug trade and prostitution rackets, and they are undeniably significant contributors to the state of the world, but that does not make them worthy of my respect.

        MSFT is rotten to the core. This is not to say that Apple are angels from on high come to save us… nothing of the sort. In fact, I didn’t say one thing about Apple OR any other competitor of MSFT, yet you seem to think you know the inner working of my mind. Your take on Americans is “highly skewed” itself, and that you feel the need to tarnish all of as with your myopic, monolithic viewpoint is bigoted and offensive.

        1. correction: an multi-billion dollar “dud organization” that was once the most profitable company on the planet. I never made any claim that MS was pure in any way — only that it was, and in many ways still is, relevant and financially successful.

          Please at least pretend to recognize historic facts. It is possible to be civil and objective, try it sometime.

          1. Mike, if YOU want to invest your money in MSFT, and you can sleep comfortably doing so, be my guest. Frankly, I’m in awe of people who can turn off their conscience so readily. I did not say that one couldn’t make a wad of cash by investing in MSFT, and if that’s all you care about, have at it.

            And as far as being “civil and objective”, how about you stop reading your nonsense into my words? My view is not “skewed”, nor is it naive of history; in fact, it is deeply informed by history and I have drawn my own conclusions regarding MSFT based on that dubious history. You have different conclusions and a different philosophy; fine.

            1. You said “MSFT stock has always been a dud”….

              operative word: stock

              No objective person on the planet could honestly believe what your wrote.

              … and yes, I prefer Apple’s products. As an investment? Depends on timeframe and goals. Somehow you strike me as a cheerleader uninterested in facts.

            2. Sure, Mike. You choose the “operative” word and its meaning. As I already said: if you wish to invest your money in a sleazy company, be my guest. You’re not alone, of course; many people invest in companies with questionable ethics… but that just not my style.

              Not sure what part of “This is not to say that Apple are angels from on high come to save us… nothing of the sort” you interpret as being a cheerleader. Finally, I could not care less how I strike you.

  1. “The years have been less kind to Microsoft. ‘Complacency and a lack of innovation caught up to them,’ said Yun Kim, an analyst…”

    Quite wrong. Microsoft tried lots of new things–Kin, Zune, Bing, Surface–they were neither complacent nor lacking in innovation, they simply made bad stuff.

    1. I am not quite onboard with that assessment, Andrew444. Innovation involves timing and creating opportunities, and Microsoft’s motto seems to be “too little, too late.”

      Mobile devices, in particular, seem to elude Microsoft’s grasp as evidenced by Microsoft’s most recent failure to bridge the computer to tablet divide with Windows 8.

      As far as their products being “bad stuff,” that is true in many cases. However, the Zune is a notable exception. By all accounts, it evolved into a pretty nice device. It failed because it was too late to the market and offered little or nothing to attract people away from the iOS/iTunes infrastructure.

      In my opinion, the weakest part of Microsoft is its lack of understanding of the user and its inability to focus its design resources on the user experience – both of which are distinct strengths for Apple. Contrast Microsoft’s “Plays for Sure” with Apple’s more pragmatic and effective approach with iTunes. Apple’s ecosystem eventually led to the elimination of DRM on purchased music files. Microsoft seems to love DRM because it fits right into its “handcuff the user or they will get away” philosophy.

      Microsoft has never made full and effective use of its resources – personnel or monetary. That is why Apple R&D achieves so much more for so much less.

      1. Steve Jobs said that for the most part, Microsoft earned its success. It just had no taste. And I mean that in a big way. Lol.

        The Zune was a Toshiba Gigabeat but Microsoft made it brown and Squirt ( their words). What were they thinking. ????? Lol

    2. I disagree that the Kin, Zune, Bing, and Surface were examples of Microsoft innovating. Unless copying is innovating, Microsoft has not innovated since, well … Um …

      One by one:
      Kin = response to iPhone.
      Zune = response to iPod.
      Bing = response to Google.
      Surface = response to iPad.

      Microsoft: Riding on Apple’s coattails since the two companies began.

  2. Most people think that Microsoft was doing so good with bill gates because of bill gates and that Steve ballmer bring Microsoft down, we’ll, that’s completely untrue.
    Microsoft was doing so good because of Apple, because Microsoft was practically the only player in the market. And it was another Steve the one who bring down Microsoft.. It was STEVE JOBS, Microsoft was never relevant, it was a monopoly, once Steve Jobs bring back apple into shape, people started to have a second option and there was the start of the downhill for Microsoft.
    So, for Steve Ballmer, yes, you wouldn’t make it a single day not even as a employee in another company with out Bill’s protection, but the fall of Microsoft was not completely your fall just like the rise of Microsoft was not completely thanks to Bill gates.

  3. What I find most interesting is that ValueSet wants from MSFT exactly the same as Icahn wants from APPL – cash through stock buybacks. These guys take positions solely to bleed off all the cash they can get – Wall Street has no interest in seeing companies innovate (innovation = less money for dividends and stock buybacks).

  4. The Marketing-As-Management Rule:

    Never, ever, let anyone in marketing lead a company. It is certain death. Marketing people outright and deliberately DESTROY the productive, creative people in any company. Without creativity and productivity no company can survive, including a marketing company. You have been warned. 👿

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