I admit that I'm no fan of Microsoft generally. I think their monopoly position (legal or otherwise) is not good for the country, and not good for businesses that have developed a dependence on it.
On the other hand I don't hate the company because they are rich as I've never held similar antipathies for IBM, or more recently Google. I think it has to do with HOW you compete, whether it has to do with the pure merit of a product versus some gimmick (EG: even new web based tools from MS almost never work with Firefox at the outset, if ever).
Given all of that, I'd have no problems if the company truly reinvented itself (what ever happened about that grand entry into the consulting business?) or voluntarily split itself up into independent companies or divisions that could work honestly with other companies (enough of this "co-optition" nonsense that the company BRAGS about).
But can any of this happen with Ballmer in charge? In two years I haven't seen an article anywhere (outside of MS) quoting him with anything but derision.
Is there any way, with any other company that this man would still be in charge were he not a "Friend of Bill"?
Is the board so much composed of spineless yes-men that they don't have the nerve to say ENOUGH!?
It would seem so.
As a investor, beyond evaluating a company's present position, don't you need to evaluate the abilities of the Chairman, CEO, AND the board itself in navigating uncharted waters? Maybe investors are doing just that.