A 100,000 M$FT share holder details his frustrations at M$'s incompetent management.
In these last eight years, I have witnessed an appalling decline in shareholder value of this extraordinary business enterprise. My personal shareholder value has been steadily destroyed both in actual and potential value. It is not unreasonable to expect Microsoft, the world's software leader, enjoying a high-margin monopoly on more than 90 percent of the world's computers, to have annual stock appreciation of 9 percent over this span of eight years. At this compounded rate, MSFT should now be selling at twice the price I originally paid. Instead, it is selling at half the price I paid. The current economic meltdown hasn't materially altered the underlying, long-term price trend of MSFT shares.
... five out of seven of the non-employee directors up for re-election have minimal share ownership (stakes less than mine), and they are impotent as a counterbalance to the two out-of-touch titans.
In this same time frame, my Berkshire-Hathaway shares have tripled.
... Apple, meanwhile has experienced a nine-fold growth in share value during this period. ...
[M$] should not be in the hardware business selling low-margin, low-volume games and devices such as Xbox.
... has no proven skills in the business of advertising, either as a marketer of its own products and services or as an advertising service provider in the Google space. ... How many billions of dollars have been wasted on poor acquisitions? How many billions has Microsoft squandered on losing legal battles (as well as on Pyrrhic victories) that have severely damaged the brand's reputation and credibility around the world? Where are the tangible results of the billions spent on R&D? Where is the accountability for the lateness of the Windows Vista operating system and its poor design and performance?
I am sorry for this man's personal loss and wish that he had listened to free software advocates instead of greed heads. By 2000, there were enough anti-trust lawsuits to convince any reasonable person that M$ was a criminal organization that would abuse all stake holders the same way it abused customers and employees. Non free software is morally bankrupt and those who vend it should not be trusted.
The investor finishes his rant with a proposal to change management, fire Steve and get Gates out of the picture. This, of course, will fail because it treats the symptoms not the cause. M$'s core products, Office and Windows are also failing and no dancing elephant can prevent the rise of free software. M$ has stomped off into low margin businesses like Zune and Xbox because they can't afford to see free software prove itself anywhere without losing their entire monopoly. M$ lost control of developer conversation long ago, the cool new toys and mindshare follow that and market share follows what developers make.