Chief correspondent, Seattle
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Nov 16, 2010

Microsoft’s Gates, Ballmer defend stock sales

SEATTLE, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)
Chairman Bill Gates and Chief Executive Steve Ballmer defended
recent stock sales on Tuesday as they faced tough questions
from shareholders frustrated by the lack of growth in the
company’s shares over the past decade.

Gates, who co-founded the company in 1975, sells 20 million
shares every quarter to help fund his philanthropic activities,
while Ballmer is planning to sell 75 million shares by year end
for tax planning reasons. [ID:nN05123079]

Nov 10, 2010

Washington bans “blackout in can” drinks

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Washington state’s Liquor Control Board has voted to ban sales of high-alcohol energy drinks, known as “blackout in a can,” following the hospitalization of nine students in the state last month.

Washington is the second state to outlaw the new crop of highly caffeinated, heavy-alcohol beverages popular with young people after Michigan banned them earlier this month.

Nov 10, 2010

Washington state bans ‘blackout in can’ drinks

SEATTLE, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Washington state’s Liquor
Control Board has voted to ban sales of high-alcohol energy
drinks, known as “blackout in a can,” following the
hospitalization of nine students in the state last month.

Washington is the second state to outlaw the highly
caffeinated, heavy-alcohol beverages popular with young people
after Michigan banned them earlier this month.

Nov 6, 2010

Microsoft CEO sells 12 percent of his stake, says committed

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive Steve Ballmer sold $1.3 billion (803.3 million pounds) worth of shares in the company, cutting his stake by about 12 percent, but said his first stock sale in seven years should not be taken as a lack of confidence in the world’s largest software firm.

Ballmer said he will sell more shares by the end of the year, in a move to diversify his investments and plan for taxes, but the company sought to allay talk that the 54-year old executive, who has been CEO since 2000, may be preparing an exit from the company.

Nov 6, 2010

Microsoft’s Ballmer sells 12 percent stake in company

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive Steve Ballmer sold $1.3 billion worth of shares in the company, cutting his stake by about 12 percent, but said his first stock sale in seven years should not be taken as a lack of confidence in the world’s largest software firm.

Ballmer said he will sell more shares by the end of the year, in a move to diversify his investments and plan for taxes, but the company sought to allay talk that the 54-year old executive, who has been CEO since 2000, may be preparing an exit from the company.

Nov 6, 2010

Microsoft CEO sells 12 pct stake, says still committed

SEATTLE, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief
Executive Steve Ballmer sold $1.3 billion worth of shares in
the company, cutting his stake by about 12 percent, but said
his first stock sale in seven years should not be taken as a
lack of confidence in the world’s largest software firm.

Ballmer said he will sell more shares by the end of the
year, in a move to diversify his investments and plan for
taxes, but the company sought to allay talk that the 54-year
old executive, who has been CEO since 2000, may be preparing an
exit from the company.

Nov 6, 2010

Microsoft’s CEO Ballmer sells 12 percent of his stake in company

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Steve Ballmer sold $1.3 billion worth of shares in the company, cutting his stake by about 12 percent, and said he will sell more shares by year end, in a move to diversify his investments and plan for taxes.

Ballmer, the first commercial manager at Microsoft and CEO since 2000, stressed that the massive stock sale — his first in seven years — should not indicate lack of confidence in his own company.

Nov 6, 2010

Microsoft CEO sells 12 pct of his stake in company

SEATTLE, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief
Executive Steve Ballmer sold $1.3 billion worth of shares in
the company, cutting his stake by about 12 percent, and said he
will sell more shares by year end, in a move to diversify his
investments and plan for taxes.

Ballmer, the first commercial manager at Microsoft and CEO
since 2000, stressed that the massive stock sale — his first
in seven years — should not indicate lack of confidence in his
own company.

Nov 3, 2010

Washington state votes down new tax on wealthy

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Washington voters knocked down plans for a state income tax on the wealthy intended to fund education and health spending, ending a fight pitting Bill Gates against other Seattle tech billionaires, and signaling that Americans’ appetite for progressive taxes is low.

The plan devised by the father of the Microsoft Corp co-founder to slap a 5 percent tax on earnings over $200,000 — Initiative Measure 1098 — was rejected by 65 percent of voters, with almost two-thirds of precincts reported.

Oct 29, 2010

Microsoft beats Street, knocks down Apple worry

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp beat Wall Street’s expectations with a 51 percent jump in quarterly profit, as higher sales of its flagship Windows and Office software knocked down fears Apple Inc’s iPad would take a bite out of its main business.

Its shares, down 14 percent this year, rose 3 percent in after-hours trading. Despite doubling sales and profit in the last eight years, Microsoft’s stock has largely languished at the same level, as investors worry about its ability to counter new rivals such as Google Inc or adapt to new ways of computing.

    • About Bill

      "Bill Rigby is Reuters' chief correspondent in Seattle, reporting on Microsoft and Boeing and overseeing coverage of general news in Washington state, Oregon and Alaska. He has been a Reuters journalist since 1998, reporting on banks, insurers, stock markets, defense companies and airlines from Reuters bureaux in London, New York and Seattle."
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