Steve Ballmer cashes $1.3B in Microsoft shares, Apple was given first

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Microsoft confirmed Friday that CEO Steve Ballmer intends to sell almost one-fifth of his stake in the software giant, starting with sales this week that total $1.3 billion, while a new report claims Apple tried to license the technology used in Microsoft's new motion-tracking Kinect peripheral.



Ballmer stock



The Redmond, Wash., company issued a press release Friday detailing Ballmer's plan to sell up to 75 million shares of Microsoft by the end of the year "to gain financial diversification and to assist in tax planning." An SEC filing Friday revealed that Ballmer, in three separate transactions, sold off over 49 million shares of stock for over $1.3 billion.



According to Microsoft's annual proxy filing, Ballmer owned over 408 million shares in the company, which comes to 4.75 percent of the company's available common stock, before this week's sales. By comparison, Bill Gates, who sold off 3 million of his own shares this week, owned 620 million shares at the time of the SEC filing.



CNET reports that Ballmer's may have sold the shares to avoid savings and investment tax hikes that will go into effect in January. With capital gains tax rates increasing to as much as 20 percent, Ballmer may have saved as much as $67 million by selling off stock before January.



In Friday's press release, Ballmer took the time to reaffirm his confidence in Microsoft and its products, in hopes of reassuring investors. "Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion," Ballmer said. "I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people's lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success."



Microsoft stock has dropped over 13 percent since Jan. 1. Apple stock, on the other hand, has soared almost 50 percent since the beginning of the year, passing Microsoft in terms of market capitalization to become the world's largest tech company on May 26.



Last week, AppleInsider reported that Apple executives cashed in on $55 million worth of stock options in the month of October.



Microsoft Kinect



Leander Kahney of Cult of Mac reports that Apple was the first place that PrimeSense, the company behind Microsoft's motion-sensing Kinect camera, thought of.



"It was the most natural place for the technology," said PrimeSense CEO Inon Beracha. PrimeSense's camera and infrared sensor setup was developed by engineers in the Israeli military, who apparently hired Beracha to "shop it around Silicon Valley and find partners to commercialize it," the report notes.



Beracha, who called the technology "multitouch that you didn't even have to touch," approached Apple, but initial meetings were rocky. According to the report, Apple was obsessed with secrecy, burdening Beracha with "a stack of crippling legal agreements and NDAs." Eventually, Beracha decided not to deal with Apple, calling the company "a pain in the ass."



Beracha eventually went with Microsoft, who wanted to implement the technology for its Xbox 360 gaming console. The Kinect, which launched in the U.S. on Thursday, has received a mostly positive reception, though some reviewers are waiting for a "killer app" or game for the accessory.



In September, Microsoft Game Studios manager Kudo Tsunoda made the odd comparison that holiday sales of the Kinect would "blow away" sales of the iPad.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 252
    It would have been nice to not have to touch the screen all the time.
  • Reply 2 of 252
    quillzquillz Posts: 209member
    Not sure why anyone would compare Kinect to the iPad, they're quite different products.
  • Reply 3 of 252
    Goodness. If Ballmer can make 1.3B selling 20% of his stock, why wouldn't he do Microsoft a favor and let a real CEO run that dying company?
  • Reply 4 of 252
    I think Kinect will be a huge hit for MSFT. It really is an impressive bit of tech.
  • Reply 5 of 252
    OMG.... this is one of the few decisions I would agree with Ballmer on.... hell... if I were in his position I'd sell half. Don't blame anyone who would rather pay 18% Capital Gains tax on $1.3B over 39.5%.... Thank you butthead BO.



    As for the Kinect tech.... while kind of cool I guess. It doesn't seem like something useful to Apple at this point in time. They don't have a game console... so Xbox or any of the others makes much more sense... or a more logical fit. Those dissing Apple in several articles I read (not here) are really kind of missing the point. I suppose you could use it on a desktop.... but you can't do it with just one camera like the iSight... or whatever we're calling it now.
  • Reply 6 of 252
    aeolianaeolian Posts: 189member
    I'm very amazed. I can't believe Microsoft bought that. What a waste. I guess I'll have to see how it's implemented.



    Then again, they seem to be buying into anything that will keep their strings out there lately.



    This is coming from a "PC" person.
  • Reply 7 of 252
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    "Pain in the Ass"



    well, for enough money???
  • Reply 8 of 252
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member
    That's OK. Steve Ballmer is a cool guy.
  • Reply 9 of 252
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I think Kinect will be a huge hit for MSFT. It really is an impressive bit of tech.



    Yeah but you'd only only buy it once.
  • Reply 10 of 252
    quillzquillz Posts: 209member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post


    Goodness. If Ballmer can make 1.3B selling 20% of his stock, why wouldn't he do Microsoft a favor and let a real CEO run that dying company?



    Microsoft is not a dying company.



    And it's not unusual at all for corporate executives to regularly buy and sell their corporation's stock. This is nothing new and shouldn't even be an article.
  • Reply 11 of 252
    I don't care even if you're SJ himself, the system that allows those kinds of payouts is sickening.
  • Reply 12 of 252
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zaphodsplanet View Post


    OMG.... this is one of the few decisions I would agree with Ballmer on.... hell... if I were in his position I'd sell half. Don't blame anyone who would rather pay 18% Capital Gains tax on $1.3B over 39.5%.... Thank you butthead BO.



    Unless, of course, you have enough confidence in your company's future stock value to believe it will gain enough to make up the difference. In the Microsoft of yesterday, with its value continuing to climb, that wouldn't have even been a question. In today's Microsoft, holding on to the stock would be a pretty big gamble. At least Balmer believes that to be true, and that isn't a particularly strong vote of confidence coming from the man at the top.
  • Reply 13 of 252
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,281member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The Kinect, which launched in the U.S. on Thursday, has received a mostly positive reception,



    I read a couple of reviews, and they're overall negative. Sluggish response, doesn't work sitting down, sofa table must go since it's interfering with the image, need pretty long distance to work, and wide clear space (since it's tracking full body). I saw a review video and thought it was way too slow to be associated with gaming that needs to be snappy. And also if you do an idle move such as scratching your nose you could potentially mess everything up.

    I love the z-depth camera potential for tracking objects though. Much smarter than image tracking. Camera tracking in general though seems too sluggish to commercialize.
  • Reply 14 of 252
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,141member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paulsydaus View Post


    I don't care even if you're SJ himself, the system that allows those kinds of payouts is sickening.



    A bit of jealousy? Are you are saying that If you were lucky or bright enough to start or join a company that becomes extremely successful that you shouldn't be able to get the appropriate financial reward even though you worked there from day one and for decades? If so, I am glad you have no say or control of squat!
  • Reply 15 of 252
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quillz View Post


    Microsoft is not a dying company.



    And it's not unusual at all for corporate executives to regularly buy and sell their corporation's stock. This is nothing new and shouldn't even be an article.



    Microsoft IS indeed a dying company, they are down 13% and competition is Up 50%. Plus they have an idiot who thinks he's a visionary running the company.
  • Reply 16 of 252
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Realistic View Post


    A bit of jealousy? Are you are saying that If you were lucky or bright enough to start or join a company that becomes extremely successful that you shouldn't be able to get the appropriate financial reward even though you worked there from day one and for decades? If so, I am glad you have no say or control of squat!



    Well said. We do live in a capitalistic society last I checked.
  • Reply 17 of 252
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quillz View Post


    Not sure why anyone would compare Kinect to the iPad, they're quite different products.



    They weren’t comparing functionality, they were comparing sales. The iPad has been a big hit this year and recently announced as the fast selling CE of all time. This not only states that MS thinks Kinetic will be a hit, it also gets them free press by mentioning this popular device. It was a good move, even if they don’t think it will come close to iPad sales this holiday season.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paulsydaus View Post


    I don't care even if you're SJ himself, the system that allows those kinds of payouts is sickening.



    So how would you change the system? Give us some hard rules you think people investing their time and money into a company should be limited to. Should people not be allowed to be rewarded for being smarter than other people, even if that intelligence is about knowing when an opportunity arises? Should Bill Gates be capped at $100k a year, for example, simply because you don’t think that value is “sickening”? How do you think this would change how people and companies innovate if the chance to truly succeed in a free market is taken away?
  • Reply 18 of 252
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Realistic View Post


    A bit of jealousy? Are you are saying that If you were lucky or bright enough to start or join a company that becomes extremely successful that you shouldn't be able to get the appropriate financial reward even though you worked there from day one and for decades? If so, I am glad you have no say or control of squat!



    Precisely.
  • Reply 19 of 252
    bertpbertp Posts: 274member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    So how would you change the system? Give us some hard rules you think people investing their time and money into a company should be limited to. Should people not be allowed to be rewarded for being smarter than other people, even if that intelligence is about knowing when an opportunity arises? Should Bill Gates be capped at $100k a year, for example, simply because you don?t think that value is ?sickening?? How do you think this would change how people and companies innovate if the chance to truly succeed in a free market is taken away?



    You don't earn your intelligence; in that respect you are blessed. Capitalism works, but there is also such a thing as proportionality. There is not a one-to-one correspondence between innovation and reward. There is nothing wrong in making that observation.
  • Reply 20 of 252
    I'd sell my stock too if it was invested in Microsoft.
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