MediaFile

Tech wrap: Microsoft shareholders grumble

By Reuters Staff
November 15, 2011

Microsoft Corp shareholders left the software giant’s annual meeting grumbling that they did not get to ask more questions in their once-a-year opportunity to quiz Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer. One thing the chief executive did tell shareholders was that there is no benefit in breaking the company up. In response to a question about how the company can jolt its stock price out of a 10-year rut, Gates played up the company’s strong balance sheet and said the market would respond to innovation.

Some of Facebook’s estimated 800 million global users received a shock over the past 24 hours when unsolicited graphic content such as pornography and violent images appeared in their news feeds. It is unclear how the material was distributed across the social network but many Facebook users vented their anger through other social media such as Twitter. “It seems every other day there is some new Facebook ‘threat,’ but this is just the new reality of Web 2.0 and social networking,” online security expert Paul Ferguson told Reuters. “It is ‘low-hanging fruit’ for criminals.”

The LinkedIn lockup is almost over and shareholders are winding up to sell more than 6.7 million shares. They are looking to realize gains in the stock, which has risen 74% since its initial public offering in May. Bain Capital is unloading its entire stake in the professional networking company now that the lockup period restricting insider sales is expiring, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bain led a $53-million investing round in LinkedIn in 2008 which valued the company at more than $1 billion.

Cellphone market growth slumped in the third quarter, with the grim economic climate prompting consumers to cut back or delay purchases, particularly in western Europe, research firm Gartner said. Global smartphone sales grew 42 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, but that was down from a 74 percent rise in the previous quarter and the more than 100 percent growth rates the market has seen over the last few years.

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