Business
3:31 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Microsoft shareholders ask: Why should we own the stock?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stood in front of shareholders today telling them what a tremendous year it’s been. But they wanted to know, why should we own the stock?

Apple shares in the past decade? Up more than 7,000 percent. Microsoft shares? Down 6 percent.

Ballmer told Microsoft investors at the company's annual shareholders meeting that growing the stock depends on pushing out new products. And that’s what the company’s been doing this year – with Windows 8, the Surface tablet, the latest Windows Phone.

But he faced a skeptical crowd. Christine Gildow told Ballmer that her daughter has always used a Mac – dating back to when Apple gave laptops to kids in Shoreline schools. Now she says she’s worried it may be too late for Microsoft.

"As that generation starts being able to do the capital purchases and the IT decision making, they will not be from the same root that our generation was, which was all Microsoft," Gildow said in an interview after the meeting.

But here’s a glimmer of hope for Microsofties. Gildow brought her daughter along. Her name is Anna, she’s 22 years old and just graduated from college. She says she wants an iPhone, but now after watching Microsoft executives show off Windows 8 including the latest Windows Phone, she’s not so sure.

"Well, I do, but honestly, after today, I’m torn," Gildow said.

Still, for Microsoft shares to start climbing again, the company will have to persuade a whole lot more people like Anna Gildow to take the plunge. And if they don’t, you can bet shareholders will give Steve Ballmer an earful next year.

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