Microsoft Shareholders: Where’s Our Cash Dividends?
Microsoft Corp’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) record fiscal quarter profit made investors happy but some of them left unhappy after its annual meeting. In their once a year opportunity to ask Microsoft’s Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer questions, today’s 15 minutes didn’t cut it.
With approximately 450 attending the meeting, a small group of shareholders shouted for an opportunity to ask more questions when time ran out. Citing concerns about the Microsoft’s stagnant share price that hasn’t moved from the $20 to $30 range in over a decade, many shareholders are worried the company will fall behind for its Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) rivals.
Today’s session didn’t appear to calm their concerns — especially when these 5 blue chip stocks raised dividends during earnings season: McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG), and Visa Inc.(NYSE:V).
Shareholders heard Ballmer shoot down a shareholder suggestion to break up the company. He discussed his same story, different day plan to place Windows at the front of the company’s drive into new computing forms, including tablets. He also used the Xbox video game console as an example of transforming a consumer device.
Gates’ sole remark including his defensive of Microsoft’s cash build-up on its balance sheet, which totals more than $57 billion. He explained,
“You want to retain enough [cash] so the company has the strength to be able to take big risks even in the face of some economic uncertainty,” said Gates. “I’ve always been a big believer in having a very strong balance sheet for the company.”
Gates also believes that Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) opportunity to be the best software company is “stronger today than it has ever been,” noting an “upside” from the phone and tablet businesses.