Microsoft Sales Are Up, Gates Is Off

November 16th, 2007 - 9:11 pm ICT by admin  

In his last shareholder meeting as a full-time employee, Microsoft Chairman William Gates spent little time dwelling on the significance of the moment. It’s been more than a year since Gates said he’d step down from his role at Microsoft to focus on philanthropy beginning July 1, 2008.

But it was only toward the end of presentation at the company’s annual meeting on Nov. 13 that Gates briefly reflected. “This is the dream we started Microsoft 30 years ago to pursue,” Gates said of the long-term bets being placed by Microsoft researchers. Next year, he noted, he’d be at the meeting as a “part-time chairman.”

As the company heads into the final year of Gates’ tenure, Microsoft is regaining part of the luster it has lost since the beginning of the decade. It still trails rivals such as Google and Apple in key new markets, including online advertising and digital music. Still, sales jumped 27% in the quarter ended Sept. 30, a gain analysts consider astonishing considering Microsoft’s size.


Buoyant Shares and Sales

And CEO Steven Ballmer said planned introductions of products — ranging from the second generation of the Zune digital music player to software developer tools to servers for running corporate networks — will help the company continue growing. “I believe we’ve laid the foundation for significant growth for Microsoft,” Ballmer said.

That, coupled with the $31 billion returned to shareholders last year through stock repurchases and dividends, has helped push shares to levels not seen since the early part of the decade. Earlier this month, the company’s stock rose as high as $37.50, the highest since July, 2000. “We’re confident we can continue this momentum throughout the fiscal year,” Ballmer said.

Indeed, shares closed on Nov. 13 at $34.46, up $1.19 for the day and almost $5 since the beginning of 2007….

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