Speaking to shareholders at Microsoft Corp.’s annual meeting today, Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer highlighted the company’s recent product launches and financial performance, and outlined the company’s shift to devices and services.
“In 2012, our revenue grew to a record $73.7 billion,” Ballmer said. “We also maintained strong cost discipline resulting in cash flow from operations of $31.6 billion, an increase of 17 percent from the prior year. In addition, we returned more than $10 billion to shareholders through stock buybacks and dividends.”
Over the past several months, the company has shipped an unprecedented wave of new products, including Windows 8, Microsoft Surface, Windows Phone 8, Xbox Music, “Halo 4” and Windows Server 2012, in addition to a host of other products, services and applications.
Ballmer noted that over time the full value of the company’s software will be seen and felt in how people use devices and services at work and play: “Focusing on devices and services will impact how we run the company, how we develop new experiences and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses. The work we have accomplished in the past year and the road map in front of us brings this to life.”
It’s been one full month since Windows 8 became generally available, and to date Microsoft has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses. Companies worldwide are already adopting Windows 8 including Johnson & Johnson, BT (British Telecom), 20th Century Fox Television Distribution, Bank of America Corp. and Seton Hall University. In addition, the Windows Phone Store now has over 120,000 apps, which include 46 of the top 50, and is rising daily. Microsoft also pointed to recent Xbox sales during the week of Black Friday, which totaled over 750,000 Xbox consoles in the U.S. alone.
Looking forward, Ballmer addressed some of the strategic opportunities that lay ahead.
“Helping businesses move to the cloud is one of our largest opportunities,” Ballmer said. “All the online services people use today run on servers in datacenters around the globe. The volume of Internet services used will continue to grow as people connect to the Internet from more devices for more purposes — fueling incredible opportunity for the company.”
Ballmer also noted that Office 365 is on track to be one of Microsoft’s fastest growing businesses ever. Organizations of all sizes turn to Office 365 for world-class productivity solutions, including most recently Japan Airlines, The All India Council for Technical Education, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Toyota Motor Corp.
The following proposals were acted on by the company’s shareholders at the shareholder meeting:
- Elected nine directors to serve until the next annual meeting of shareholders. All director nominees received a vote of more than 96 percent of votes cast.
- Ratified the selection of Deloitte & Touche LLP as the company’s independent auditor, with a vote of more than 98 percent of votes cast.
- Approved, on an advisory basis, the fiscal year 2012 compensation of the company’s named executive officers. The advisory measure received more than 94 percent of votes cast.
- Approved, an amendment and restatement of Company’s Employee Stock Purchase Plan, receiving 99 percent of votes cast.
- Rejected a shareholder proposal to adopt cumulative voting. The shareholder proposal received 26 percent of votes cast.
Microsoft’s board of directors consists of Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive officer; Dina Dublon, former chief financial officer of JPMorgan Chase; William H. Gates, Microsoft chairman; Maria M. Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College; Stephen J. Luczo, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Seagate Technology PLC; David F. Marquardt, general partner at August Capital; Charles H. Noski, former vice chairman of Bank of America Corp.; Dr. Helmut Panke, former chairman of the board of management at BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke AG; and John W. Thompson, chief executive officer of Virtual Instruments. Seven of the nine board members are independent of Microsoft, which is consistent with the requirement in the company’s governance guidelines that a substantial majority be independent.