Speaking at Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting, CEO Steve Ballmer highlighted the company’s product momentum and business execution and outlined growth opportunities across the company’s business groups, including search, mobile devices, entertainment, communications and cloud services.
“Last year, we delivered record financial performance by growing revenue 12 per cent to nearly $70 billion. Thanks to continued discipline and focus on managing costs and expenses, operating income grew at an even higher rate of 13 percent to over $27 billion,” Ballmer said. “I see areas where we have a strong established business and huge opportunities for growth. And I see areas where we’ve made fundamental investments, and now have the opportunity to start building market position and share and grow revenue and profit.”
Ballmer noted that fiscal year 2012 is off to a strong start, with strong momentum broadly, most notably in the company’s Microsoft Business Division and Server and Tools business. “We are seeing businesses move to the cloud at an accelerating rate,” Ballmer said.
On the consumer front, he noted the new mobile devices built on Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, steady growth in Bing search share, and continued momentum for the Xbox 360 entertainment system and the hands-free Kinect sensor.
“There was a time when people thought we were crazy for getting into the games business and that we could never compete with Sony or Nintendo. Now Xbox is the No. 1 entertainment console in the U.S., and we have clear line of sight for No. 1 in the world,” he said.
Ballmer highlighted Microsoft’s partnerships with Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter in helping to grow market share for its Bing search engine, noting that Bing now powers roughly 30 per cent of U.S. search queries. He also cited Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia aimed at building a new mobile ecosystem.
Ballmer said the company was hard at work on the next version of the Windows operating system. “With Windows 8, we’ve reimagined Windows from the chipset all the way through to the user experience. Windows 8 will run on a broader range of devices from tablets to desktops.”
The following proposals were acted on by the company’s shareholders at the shareholder meeting:
- Elected nine directors to serve until the next annual meeting of shareholders. All director nominees received a vote of more than 92 percent of votes cast.
- Ratified the selection of Deloitte & Touche as the company’s independent auditor.
- Approved, on an advisory basis, the fiscal year 2011 compensation of the company’s named executive officers.
- Approved a management recommendation that the advisory vote on compensation of named executive officers occur on an annual basis.
- Rejected a shareholder proposal to create a new board committee on environmental sustainability. The shareholder proposal received less than 4 percent of votes cast.
Microsoft’s board of directors consists of Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive officer; Dina Dublon, former chief financial officer of JPMorgan Chase; William H. Gates, Microsoft chairman; Raymond V. Gilmartin, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Merck & Co.; Reed Hastings, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Netflix; Maria M. Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College; David F. Marquardt, general partner at August Capital; Charles H. Noski, vice chairman of Bank of America; and Helmut Panke, former chairman of the board of management at BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke. Seven of the nine board members are independent of Microsoft, consistent with the requirement in the company’s governance guidelines that a substantial majority be independent.
The board has five committees: an Audit Committee, a Compensation Committee, a Governance and Nominating Committee, a Finance Committee, and an Antitrust Compliance Committee.
The Audit Committee members are Dublon, Noski (chairperson) and Panke. The Compensation Committee members are Dublon (chairperson), Hastings, Klawe and Panke. The Finance Committee members are Hastings and Marquardt (chairperson). The Governance and Nominating Committee members are Gilmartin (chairperson), Hastings and Marquardt. The Antitrust Compliance Committee members are Gilmartin, Klawe and Panke (chairperson).