Ballmer Defends Xbox, Bing as Key Microsoft Components
Ballmer's last speech to shareholders made sure the Bing and Xbox departments remained in place.
GeekWire reports that on Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke at the company's annual shareholder meeting for the very last time. He made a point to highlight the company's need for the Xbox and Bing divisions, calling them key parts of Microsoft's broader vision. This topic arrives after previous reports indicated that Stephen Elop may do away with the two divisions altogether if appointed as CEO.
As previously reported, sources claimed that as CEO, Elop would actually sell off or shut down major businesses such as Bing, which has been a costly effort to take on Google's own search engine. The Xbox business could also be sold off if deemed not critical to the company's strategy. He would even sharpen the company's focus by maximizing the sales of Office rather than use the software to sell Windows-based devices.
When talking about the upcoming Xbox One launching next week, Ballmer said it was an example of the company's unified strategy, as Bing and SkyDrive are integrated into the console. The Xbox One is "a reflection of what is possible when a company, our company, is unified under a common vision,” he said. He also pointed out that Bing is key to helping test and improve the Windows Azure service.
He went on to talk about the company's pending Nokia Devices & Services acquisition, which was approved by Nokia shareholders on Tuesday morning. "This is really a signature moment in the transformation of the company," he said, adding that by bringing Nokia's teams to Redmond, the move will accelerate the company's position in Windows phones, tablets and PCs.
After concluding his speech by saying that Microsoft is positioned to drive and define "the next big thing," one of the shareholder questions from the audience asked why Microsoft's share price wasn't going up. Ballmer said there's a disconnection between share price and profits.
"Our stock price is 60 percent of what it was when I took over as CEO and profits are three times," he said. "I trust the company will continue to focus in on what's real, which is long-term profit creation. [If that happens], the share price will go up. I feel confident about that."