Share prices for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) rose 2.61% Thursday after David Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital (NASDAQ:GLRE) and Mets aficionado, pushed for Steven A. Ballmer to be removed from his position as Microsoft’s chief executive.
At the Ira Sohn Conference in Manhattan Wednesday, Einhorn, whose hedge fund owns over 9 million shares of Microsoft, said that Ballmer, who has been chief executive since 2000, was a liability for the company, blamed him for the company’s low stock price, said that he had missed major opportunities to compete with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and that he squandered money on foolish deals. Einhorn cited comments Ballmer made to the media suggesting he didn’t see Apple’s iPod or iPhone as any real threat, making him appear incompetent, and ended the speech with a call for Microsoft’s board to find a replacement.
Microsoft stock is down 5.22% in the last month, despite their May 10 announcement that they would be purchasing SkypeGlobal for $8.5 billion in cash, making the deal the largest in Microsoft’s history. With a 4% stake, Ballmer is the second largest shareholder in Microsoft behind Bill Gates.