Instead, Mr. Ballmer said Microsoft is focused more on launching new products and improving profitability. "We are executing very well, that's going to lead to great products and great success," Mr. Ballmer said at a press conference. . . .
Since Mr. Ballmer took over from Bill Gates as CEO in January 2000, Microsoft's market value has more than halved from $556 billion to Wednesday's close of $219 billion. Rival Apple's market value has surged from $15.6 billion to $221 billion over the same period.
Many journalists crave controversy, even when they have to manufacture it themselves by bending reality to fit the template they believe will titillate audiences. In this case, rather than assessing the extraordinary gains Apple has made in the past few years with the iPhone, the iPad, and iTunes and give credit to Steve Jobs and company for their achievements, the knee-jerk reaction among many journalists is to go on the attack against the former top dog in market cap, Microsoft.
To be sure, Ballmer and Microsoft have made some significant missteps during these few years of Apple's remarkable ascendancy, but in the past several months Microsoft and Ballmer have also done many things right for both the short term and the long term. And lest we forget, while Apple is a hugely profitable company, Microsoft-true to Ballmer's claim of planetary supremacy in profits-outperforms Apple in profits by a huge margin. From the Journal article:
For the January-March period, Microsoft posted a net profit of $4.01 billion on revenue of $14.50 billion. Apple's net profit was $3.07 billion on revenue of $13.50 billion.
In that context, I also like the brief perspective Ballmer offered on share prices at the end of his comment about Microsoft's unmatched profitability: "Stock markets will take care of themselves."