updated 09:10 am EDT, Fri October 1, 2010
Ballmer bonus lowered for Kin and Windows Mobile
A new Microsoft SEC filing published late Thursday revealed that the company punished its CEO Steve Ballmer for his inability to turn around the company's struggling mobile efforts so far. The proxy statement notes that his total compensation of $1.35 million, including a $670,000 base salary and a matching bonus, was lower than in 2008 due to the "unsuccessful launch of the Kin" and "a loss of market share" for Windows Mobile. The Compensation Committee singled out the absence of a real Windows tablet rival through a need to "take advantage of new form factors."
The company's fiscal year, which ended in June, was one of the worst to date for the mobile space. Although in development since 2008, the Kin was pulled after just over six weeks of sales and amounted to a $240 million write-off before including the $500 million to buy Danger. Windows Mobile's ramp down is partly intentional as Microsoft is rebooting the platform with Windows Phone 7 and is investing $500 million in marketing to spark new interest.
The company's tablet performance has also become an increasing problem. Ballmer said his company is committed to tablets but has yet to see a mainstream, widely available Windows or Windows Embedded tablet in the vein of the iPad. While Microsoft hasn't usually disclosed its estimates for sales of conventional Windows tablets, estimates have put it at 1.25 million for all of 2010, or less than half the iPads Apple shipped just in the spring alone. Most efforts aren't due until the very end of the year or early 2011, such as the long delayed HP Slate 500 and one version of ASUS' Eee Pad.
Also mentioned in the filing was that the since departed Entertainment and Devices President Robbie Bach was paid more than the CEO; while he was faulted for Windows Mobile as well, he was compensated $1.75 million before his resignation through the successes of the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.