Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer saw his fiscal 2010 compensation take a hit due to the failure of the Kin phones and his company's continued market-share slide in smartphones.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may be feeling some personal
pain from his company's recent debacles in the mobile arena: according
to Microsoft's 2010 Proxy Statement
, the failure of the Kin phone-combined
with Microsoft's eroding smartphone market share-prevented Ballmer from
receiving his full potential compensation for the year.
Not that Ballmer will be looking for an overpass to sleep
under anytime soon: The chief executive's pay package totaled $1.34 million.
That includes a $670,000 base salary and $670,000 in "cash incentive payments."
Interestingly, that lagged behind the packages for other Microsoft executives,
including Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein and departed Business Division President Stephen Elop.
Ballmer received nearly identical compensation for both
fiscal 2010 and 2008. In 2009, when a collapsing economy forced down
Microsoft's revenues and profits, he made $1.26 million.
But Ballmer's compensation for fiscal 2010 could have
potentially been $2.01 million, with a "potential Incentive Plan award of up to
200 percent of his base salary for the fiscal year."
In awarding Ballmer 100 percent of his base salary, the board
apparently considered Ballmer's "disciplined expense management," the
successful launch of products such as Windows 7 and Office 2010 and
in cloud initiatives such as Azure and Office Web Apps. However, it
weighed some negative factors: "The unsuccessful launch of the Kin
of market share in the company's mobile phone business; and the need
Company to pursue innovations to take advantage of new form factors."
The proxy document also called Robbie Bach, the retiring
president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, to task for the
company's underperforming mobile initiatives: "The strong financial performance
[of Bach's division] was offset by disappointing performance in the Windows
Mobile portion of the business, where the company lost share and continued to
have operating losses yet made strategic progress toward the fall 2010 launch
of the Windows Phone 7."
Speculation currently abounds that Microsoft will host a
high-profile launch for Windows Phone 7 in New York City on Oct. 11. The company
is indeed hosting its annual Open House on that date, in addition to a party
that could double as a Windows Phone 7 "launch." The Open House will almost
certainly include devices running the smartphone platform, in addition to other
holiday products such as Xbox Kinect.
Microsoft is making a considerable bet that Windows Phone 7
will reverse the company's mobile market-share slide. Outside analysts have
estimated the marketing costs of the initial rollout as close to $400 million,
in addition to various development expenses. With that sort of massive
expenditure, Microsoft can only hope that Windows Phone 7's unique user
interface-which aggregates Web content and apps into subject-specific
"Hubs"-will sway buyers away from the Apple iPhone or Google Android devices.
indicate that AT&T will be the "initial exclusive carrier" for Windows
, releasing three devices manufactured by HTC, Samsung and LG
Electronics. Verizon-carried devices are expected in 2011.