Yesterday, we brought you the news that influential hedge fund manager David Einhorn had called for the dismissal of Steve Ballmer, accusing the longtime Microsoft CEO of being 'stuck in the past'. Today it seems as though Einhorn's rallying cry has itself been dismissed by Microsoft's board, who have come out in support of Ballmer.
While Microsoft has refused to make any official comments, a 'source close to the board' has confirmed that its nine members, including legendary chairman and co-founder Bill Gates, will be supporting Ballmer. Holding 6.6 percent of the company's stock, and 'generally regarded as the one person who could make the decision to switch managements,' the support of Bill Gates will no doubt be of relief to the CEO. An anonymous fund manager has called Gates a "ruthless capitalist. If he wanted to, he'd walk Ballmer to the door himself."
The argument rose amidst the news that Apple have overtaken the software giant to become the biggest tech company in the USA, compounding existing doubts in Ballmer's ability to lead Microsoft to market domination once again. Speaking on CNBC Whitney Tilson, founder and managing partner of T2 Partners LLC, asked "when you've been the top dog so long, how do you become hungry again?"
Failing to get a foothold in the search market with 'Bing', losing against Apple in the race for mobile market dominance, and crashing against the brick wall that is the iPad in the tablet market, Microsoft's inability to compete as of late has investors worried. Even their Skype buyout has been called into question. Said one U.S equity fund manager of their investment:
The perception on that is that it is overvalued. We won't know what revenue synergies are until two, three years down the road. Microsoft created the platform on which Google and the Internet can go forward, and it's not exactly yesterday's technology; but they do have to connect more with the mobile computing world and they haven't really done that.
Have your say, is Microsoft a sinking ship under Ballmer? Is there any way they can compete against Apple in the mobile market? We want to hear from you. We'll have more on this story as it develops.