Microsoft’s changing of the guard held the spotlight at the company’s shareholders meeting on Wednesday. Chief Executive Satya Nadella and Chairman John Thompson oversaw a scripted affair touting the company’s progress in cloud computing, hopes for the Windows 10 operating system, and efforts to create a more inclusive company. Steve Ballmer, used to spending his time on stage during his 14 years…More
Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith conducted the brief business end of the company’s annual meeting in Bellevue. No surprises, but a lingering question about how much support the executive pay package received:
- The slate of board nominees was approved by more than 90% of votes.
- The symbolic vote on executive pay — which Institutional Shareholder Services recommended investors vote down — was approved by “a majority” of votes, Smith said. These votes in tech recently have been approved by 88% of shareholders, and Microsoft’s last year garnered 95% approval (including abstentions).
- The only shareholder proposal, which would have widened the scope of investor board nominations, was voted down.
The venue of Microsoft’s shareholders’ meeting — Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center — will be the same as last year.
The rest is something of an open question as the company continues to stride into the post-Ballmer era with Satya Nadella’s first annual meeting at the helm.
Here are a few things to watch for in the parade of speakers and Q&A:
The vibe. Microsoft, with a soaring stock price and new-CEO-fueled corporate confidence boost, is riding pretty high these days. That hasn’t always been the case when it comes time for Microsoft to face its shareholders. Are the individual stock owners who make up the bulk of the meeting’s audience happy with the truckload of cash Microsoft has given back in the last couple years? Or eager for more?
Product updates. Windows 10, scheduled to launch sometime in the latter half of next year, is the elephant in the room. The tech blogosphere has suggested a consumer preview may arrive as early as next month.
Look out for further updates on Microsoft’s progress in cloud computing. Wall Street has come to expect a lot of Microsoft’s cloud, and the company may feel some pressure to keep the upbeat anecdotes coming.More
The Rev. Jesse Jackson has some harsh criticism for Microsoft and other the rest of the white- and male-dominated U.S. technology industry.
The civil rights activist thinks Microsoft at least is on the right track, though. Chief Executive Satya Nadella and other Microsoft executives sat down with Jackson on Monday. Here’s Jackson’s take on their meeting, in an interview with The Seattle Times:
We sat down and had a very good meeting. I think Microsoft sees their future growth is in inclusion.
One sees in Microsoft a much bigger willingness and effort to move toward some plan. I think they get it.
We’re going to the next step. We’re going from ‘here’s how bad we are’ to planning for goals, targets and timetables.
Jackson plans to speak at Microsoft’s shareholders meeting tomorrow at the invitation of the company. If his comments today are any indication, the discussion could be a shade less contentious than a 10-minute back and forth with Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman at that company’s investor gathering in March.More
The Senate on Tuesday evening rejected a bill curbing the National Security Agency’s data-gathering powers, a blow to Microsoft and a coalition of technology giants that had asked Congress to restrict the spy agency’s programs.
Microsoft, along with Apple, Google and a host of technology companies, posted an open letter this weekend urging the Senate to vote to limit the NSA’s ability to gather bulk Internet and phone data. But in a vote largely along party lines — with Democrats voting yes, and Republicans, weighing in shortly after their victory in this month’s elections, opposed — the measure was rejected.
U.S. technology firms have been major players in the public debate following Edward Snowden’s leaks last year showing that the U.S. government intelligence apparatus was gathering more data than previously disclosed. The storm has damaged the business interests of companies like Microsoft, as private-sector customers and governments foreign and domestic worried about the security of their data.More
Microsoft is set to add another agreement to its lineup of sports marketing deals: Spanish soccer powerhouse Real Madrid.
In a brief release on its website, Real Madrid said it will announce an agreement with Microsoft at 6:30 p.m. Central European Time (9:30 a.m. Pacific for those of us not in Spain). The content of the deal isn’t much clearer after viewing the brief teaser Microsoft posted.
Real Madrid is the reigning club soccer champion of Europe and a force of nature in the sport. It’s also a global brand that routinely ranks among the most valuable sports franchises.More
Corrected version Microsoft and a roster of tech heavy-hitters have asked the U.S. Senate to pass a bill curbing the National Security Agency’s powers to collect phone records, emails and other data in bulk. The bill, which could come up for a vote in the Senate as early as this week, also would allow companies like Microsoft to disclose the rough…More
The past couple of weeks have given plenty of ammunition to Microsoft watchers who sense a major shift in direction under chief executive Satya Nadella.
Microsoft is offering free mobile versions of its Office suite to individual customers with Apple- and Google-powered phones. The company Wednesday said it would release a more powerful set of free developer tools for its .NET programming framework.
Is Microsoft, kingdom of the sky-high profit margins, giving away the keys to the castle?More
The latest move in Microsoft’s recent habit of playing nicely with other platforms is a big one: the company is open-sourcing its .NET developer tools and taking them to other operating systems.
The 12-year old .NET framework, the foundation used by many developers to craft programs for Windows, will have much of its code open sourced. Its 2015 editions will also help developers build programs for Mac and Linux, the company said on Wednesday.More
A Seattle company is rolling out the latest application for Microsoft’s expanding cloud: storing the footage taken by police cameras.
Police departments have been taking video — think dashboard cams — for decades. But with the increasing push to record more of officers’ interactions with citizens, the volume of data is growing fast.
Vievu’s answer? Upload the footage to Microsoft’s servers.
Vievu said Tuesday that it has built software on Microsoft’s Azure platform that offers law enforcement agencies the ability to send footage from the company’s line of body and car-mounted cameras to Microsoft’s data centers.More