Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has made an impassioned plea to investors to support his vision of the world's largest software company as a unified devices and services powerhouse in his swan song before Wall Street. Ballmer, who in August said he planned to step down within 12 months, told investors and analysts in an annual meeting on Thursday that Microsoft had a bright future, despite missteps under his 13-year tenure.
"We have the tools. There's economic upside here. In the long run, we are almost uniquely poised to seize the opportunity," he said, in a typically high-volume presentation. "Today I'm speaking as an investor. You all own Microsoft stock, cheer for it, for God's sake."
Ballmer, who took over from co-founder Bill Gates as CEO in 2000, did acknowledge that under his leadership the company was too focused on Windows to realize that Apple Inc's iPhone was revolutionizing computing. "If there's one thing I regret, there was a period in the early 2000s when we were so focused on what we had to do around Windows that we weren't able to redeploy talent to the new device form factor called the phone," said Ballmer.
After losing ground to Apple and Google Inc in mobile and internet arenas for the last 10 years, Ballmer in July launched an ambitious reorganization focused on "devices and services." He announced his retirement only six weeks later amid pressure from some discontented shareholders.
Ballmer said goodbye to Wall Street
Tags: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer retiring , Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer retiring in 12 months , Microsoft special committee for next CEO , Microsoft new CEO , John Thompson , lead Independent Director , Bill Gates , Chairman of the Board , Chairman of the Audit Committee , Chuck Noski , Chairman of the Compensation Committee , Steve Luczo
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