Microsoft's Steve Ballmer Gets Modest Pay and a 'B' Grade From Board

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Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft (MSFT), made $1.34 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010, a 5.8% increase over the previous year. The board of directors said in the firm's annual proxy statement that Ballmer had done a good job with expense control and the launch of Windows 7. He also got high marks for the move into cloud computing by the world's largest software company and the successful releases of several of the firm's server and enterprise software products.

But Ballmer's total compensation was nicked by the unsuccessful launch of the Kin handset and trouble with the firm's mobile software strategy. In other words, the board saw what Wall Sreet did. Microsoft's move into the smartphone business has been a failure thus far as Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) have made major strides. Ballmer's relatively modest salary, however, will not sting too much. He owns 408 million shares in Microsoft stock, according to the proxy. Founder and chairman Bill Gates owns 621 million.

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Several other Microsoft managers had a better year than Ballmer in total comp. Chris Liddell made $2.2 million, although he left the company to become CFO of GM in January. And Kevin Turner, the company's COO who joined from Walmart (WMT), made $10.4 million. All of the top officers of the company have base cash comps of a little over $600,000. The balance of their pay came in the form of bonuses and stock options.

The only senior manager who made substantially less than Ballmer was Steve Elop, who left the company to run Nokia (NOK) two months ago.

A look at the proxy shows just how much turnover there has been at the company. Only time will tell whether that was good or not.
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