Microsoft: Leave Us, But Don’t Mock Us

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced CFO Peter Klein’s departure along with its latest earnings report. While this notice did not draw a great deal of attention, the newly released terms of his exit have raised eyebrows throughout the industry. In effect, Microsoft’s chief financial officer will earn $2 million if he does not work for a competitor (for the following year) and does not air any dirty laundry about the company (ever).

In a filing with the SEC, the details of Klein’s departure were made public for the first time, and there is plenty on the line. Klein will receive $1 million in January 2014 and another $1 million the following June. According to the NDA submitted to the SEC, Klein agrees “not to disparage or to induce or encourage others to disparage Microsoft or its officers or directors.” Considering he spent 11 years with Microsoft, there is a distinct possibility that he would have a few things to say about his run.

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However, in order to receive that $1 million, Klein will have to toe the party line. He will not be able to write blogs, guest post on any site, visit talk shows, publish in newspapers, or tally any book deals “except with the approval of Lisa Brummel,” Microsoft’s Chief People Officer. The company’s earnings report showed strong numbers for the first quarter of  2013, giving Klein positive news on his way out…

Overall revenues for Microsoft were up 18 percent compared to last year, just below analyst expectations, while the $0.72 per share earning exceeded the forecasts by $.04 per share. The Entertainment and Devices Division showed $2.53 billion in revenue, a jump of 56 percent from Q1 2012. Taken in stride with slumping PC sales and the negative reviews of Windows 8, the report was something of a triumph for Microsoft and CFO Klein in his last hurrah.

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Microsoft stock went up 3.39 percent by the closing bell Friday on the strength of the earnings news. Microsoft was also in the news for its soon-to-be-released Intel tablets and touch laptops that will sell for around $300. Though there is still no solution for the dirt-cheap $200 Android OS devices from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), news that Microsoft is at the table with the new Intel chips — unlike Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) — was further cause for celebration.

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