- Summary: In this interview with the Journal, the first since Bill Gates announced plans to step down from day-to-day management, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer asserts 'the company is brighter looking forward even than looking back.' Ballmer dismisses as 'random malarkey' claims that Microsoft is having a hard time hiring talent on either the tech or business end, stating its attraction, retention and compensation are tops. Looking forward, he sees online services as its key distribution model and Microsoft's 'core,' while open source software is its new competition. On the matter of growth through acquisitions, Ballmer states that 'we've not been able to close the loop and figure out how large acquisitions actually create shareholder value.'
- Comment on related stocks/ETFs: Given Ballmer's acknowledgment of the centrality of online services and open source software, can the behemoth tack quickly enough to stay competitive? Carl Howe raises serious doubts, drawing an instructive comparison to IBM in the '70s. Jason Wood provides key takeaways from Microsoft's recent earnings report; see the conference call transcript.
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