Summary: Unreported crumbling and inner friction; Unless Microsoft reverses course, its investors remain pessimistic
THE Crandrea Group, a lobby of displeased Microsoft shareholders, is organising in attempt to change Microsoft’s ways. Having already made strong accusations against Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates, it is able to see that their strategy is headed the wrong way.
“That’s the magic of temporary workforce or contracts: they can be silently dropped without informing investors.”A lot of Microsoft’s chief staff began leaving the company over a year ago and lacking skilled leadership, the company resorted to buybacks, so right about now it’s approaching debt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. According to Smithers, the company had already lost $18 billion in 1998 and given a closer look at the facts Microsoft does not want reported, none of this should be particularly surprising. The company had also been accused of running a pyramid scheme and some years ago it was accused by one of its own workers that it had engaged in financial fraud. The accuser was paid $4 million for his silence. He worked inside Microsoft’s financial department at the time.
Cringely, a long-time Microsoft watcher, opines that Microsoft needs to close down many of its divisions and concentrate on fewer areas of business with only half of its current workers [1, 2]. Other Microsoft watchers have just reported that Microsoft is lowering the wages of temporary employees and according to their newer reports from Seattle, more positions are being terminated too, albeit quietly. That’s the magic of temporary workforce or contracts: they can be silently dropped without informing investors.
Microsoft declined to comment on the protest Monday evening.
The contract workers acknowledged that some employees are losing their jobs, but they said they’re nonetheless concerned about the precedent that would be set if they agreed to a revision in their existing contracts. A representative of the WashTech technology labor union, Priyanka Joshi, came to the protest and was planning to help the workers explore their options.
This has also been covered in:
- Microsoft contractors to protest over pay cuts
- Microsoft contract workers to protest pay cuts in Redmond
- Contractors protest Microsoft wage cuts
He said he would not agree to the cut and would likely therefore lose his job Tuesday.
What is going on at Microsoft and why is the mainstream press hardly covering this?
Craig from The Crandrea Group is calling for immediate change amid troubling moves that Microsoft has been making in attempt to elevate itself at times of change. His campaign has been rather successful so far. He writes:
The campaign has attracted attention from numerous sites. It is posted on sites in Germany, England and Holland.
Recently, obtained a email from a writer in England requesting a interview concerning Microsoft R&D spending.
The campaign has also recently had a former MSFT employee agree to conduct an analysis of the company problems and relate them to the potential solutions offered through the campaign.
The articles created by Microsoft SubNet are greatly appreciated and have produced attention for the campaign. However, some of the other posts are merely focusing on the R&D component. As mentioned in the article, both Mr. McDonald and Mr. Barnicle agree that Microsoft is required to check the amount deployed annually.
The core of the campaign focus is in regards to the buybacks. The shares have been flat and stagnant since approximately 2000. In 2004, Microsoft announced a $40 billion share buyback plan. However, in 2008 the shares remained flat. Despite this reality the company announced it would engage in another similar strategy of deploying $40 billion over four years. The campaign’s contention is that it will be another waste of $40 billion.
The campaign desires the company to reallocate the $40 billion to acquisition growth. Consumers are moving towards SaaS, netbooks, handhelds and cloud computing.
The campaign now involves Microsoft acquiring RIM to secure market share within the mobile sector. It also involves a ‘search’ deal with Yahoo to secure a position in ‘search’ and cloud computing.
A current Microsoft employee within a Microsoft website indicated that if the campaign included RIM and it reached a vote they would probably vote in favor of the campaign.
We were sent further information, as follows:
The campaign has also edited and modified the blog. Initially, prior to launching the campaign the sites msftextreme., and Ironfire Capital’s site Breakout Performance were viewed. The intention was to provide a site to provide the reader with more analysis and insight. However, MSFT employees complained that it was to long and lacked the reader friendly format. Therefore, a few posts were removed and a few condensed.
The entire Microsoft SubNet interview has been kept on the blog. There are also a few more recent posts ina different format. The recent posts “Microsoft Requires Sprint” and “New Strategy Revised” provide brief details concerning the original intention of MSFT acquiring Sprint and why it now includes RIM.
Essentially, prior to launching the campaign numerous reports were reviewed. The consensus was abandon the buybacks. OS is losing share. Wall Street views MSFT as a utility with limited growth potential. Consumers are moving towards SaaS, cloud computing and handheld. Deal with carrier (Verizon) will not generate desired revenue and is only a share approach by MSFT. (Reference to Mr. Mahaney in Microsoft SubNet article)
The campaign adopted a strategy that intended to address each of these primary issues. Subsequently the strategy was to abandon the $40 billion towards buybacks. The capital would be directed to replacing the potential continued loss in OS.
The campaign focused on adopting acquisitions or strategies that would align with $40 billion in capital. When reviewing mobile companies RIM was considered. However, it was rejected based on the acquisition cost and revenue level. It appeared similar to the ill-fated Yahoo bid. RIM would have cost MSFT a premium and generated only an additional $6 billion annually.
The other problems with RIM were MSFT and its poor brand. The concern was MSFT acquiring RIM would have a negative effect on RIM’s brand. The second problem is MSFT and its R&D and lack of innovation. It was feared MSFT acquiring RIM would hinder RIM from being innovative. Therefore, the final dilemma was if MSFT acquired RIM it would deploy the majority of the $40 billion to acquire a company that would lose its brand awareness and innovation. This would result in MSFT deploying $25-30 billion to secure a failed asset.
However, recently, a MSFT employee addressed the RIM issue. It is within the blog post “Microsoft Requires Sprint” as a recent addition. The employee focused on the campaign concerns are argued the benefits of RIM over Sprint. The same employee also stated that they would potentially support the campaign if it reached a vote.
The campaign also recognised that ‘search’ was an issue along with cloud computing. This was recognised by MSFT and was probably the reason for a $45 billion bid for Yahoo. However, analysts indicated the a search only deal would accomplish the same results as a full acquisition. Therefore, the campaign is pushing for a ‘search’ deal with Yahoo. This will enable MSFT to capture share within this sector.
The “New Strategy” currently involves:
2)Acquire RIM. This will provide share and revenue within mobile.
3)Search deal with Yahoo
4) Resignation of Ballmer (Not certain with this issue) Numerous employees have stated Ballmer must ago. Despite eight years of poor decisions, failure to elevate share price and massive spending, employees are also frustrated with the current company environment. (ie. layoffs)
A lot of other people have already called for Steve Ballmer to step down or be fired. We gathered a list of of a dozen references on the subject right here.
Microsoft won’t be able to endure its financial trouble [1, 2] if it competes unfairly and subsequently gets caught. The company’s inappropriate behaviour (possibly illegal too) does nothing good for the brand. It also serves Microsoft investors a bill to pay for antitrust fines. █
“If you flee the rules, you will be caught. And it will cost you dearly.”