Where is the MSFT/Ballmer outrage?
Like a lot of folks, I've been watching the evolving shareholder unrest at YHOO. In case you missed it, shareholders there are unhappy with the company and its CEO Terry Semel. In fact, they've been making that increasingly clear of late, including at a shareholder meeting today. See sample coverage below:
- Terry Semel Vs. His Shareholders
- Semel Defends Strategy to Riled Yahoo Shareholders
- Yahoo rebellion, Shareholders protest CEO pay, question direction of company
- Dissident Shareholders Send Message to Yahoo
So what are the specific complaints? Well, the list includes poor stock performance, unclear company direction, poor CEO leadership, lavish executive compensation, etc. Hmm...sound familiar?
Reviewing the record of stock performance, certainly YHOO has not had a good time of things over the past year:
Or even over the past 3 years:
However, Semel took over as CEO in May of 2001. So let's see how he's done since then:
I don't know about you, but a greater than 160% gain for YHOO vs an almost 20% loss for MSFT looks pretty decent to me.
In the area of company direction, it is legitimate to question how badly YHOO has done versus GOOG. While YHOO still holds a position that MSFT can only dream of (despite spending more than twice as much on a relative basis in order to achieve), they've clearly failed to check the progress and otherwise keep up with GOOG - and they were in that business already. But of course, MSFT's failures in this and other businesses during the same time are legend. In fact, read this latest piece on the continuing screw-up known as Xbox, which includes this astounding admission from Peter Moore, head of Microsoft's interactive entertainment business division:
If we don't make that move, make it early and expand our demographic, we will wind up in the same place as with Xbox 1, a solid business with 25 million people. What I need is a solid business with 90 million people.
Now, in the area of compensation, Semel got paid a ton - $107.5M is one estimate for last year. Ballmer, by contrast, gets paid a rather nominal amount. But again, looking at the company overall (including the Xbox dream-team above), MSFT's executive compensation doesn't take a back seat to many people - YHOO included.
So what gives? Why are YHOO shareholders rebelling vocally and calling for a new CEO, while MSFT shareholders, who have experienced far worse returns over the tenure of the current CEO, continue to just meekly grin and bear it? Is it that MSFT shareholders somehow feel the worst is over and the company is now on the right track, whereas YHOO shareholders don't? Or have YHOO shareholders just not completely given up and settled for abysmal stock performance and sloppy leadership/execution yet?
Update: Blodget on the YHOO situation:
Update #2: Latest console sales stats:
Update #3: Semel is out as CEO:
YHOO, which was already up 3% on the regular session today, is up another 4.3% in AH on this announcement.