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article imageSteve Ballmer: Microsoft's shareholder meeting was 'bulls---'

By James Walker     Dec 3, 2015 in Technology
Former Microsoft CEO and major investor Steve Ballmer has accused the firm of not disclosing full financial details during its annual shareholder meeting yesterday. Ballmer branded one set of metrics "bulls---" and questioned the company's mobile policy.
Ballmer criticised Microsoft's report on its progress in growing the number of users on its cloud platforms. The company appeared to cherry-pick a selection of figures that had been the most successful, only revealing the headline positives to the assembled group of shareholders.
Since Ballmer's time as CEO, which ended nearly two years ago, Microsoft's structure has changed considerably. The management has been shaken up and the way in which it publishes its financial reports has also changed. In the short term, this makes it hard for shareholders to see how the company is progressing as the old and new metric's can't always be directly compared.
Ballmer sees this as "bulls---", according to Bloomberg. He called on Microsoft to disclose its full profit margins and sales numbers for its cloud and hardware businesses, saying he has already discussed the matter with company executives. He claims he "can't even guess" what the reported numbers mean, despite having served as CEO just two years ago.
Microsoft did not disclose how much revenue its cloud services have generated, instead giving a figure for revenue run rate. This represents sales at a certain point in time, extended to an annual rate. Ballmer says this isn't suitable when considering hardware and cloud services because profit margins are far lower in these areas than for the company's flagship software division.
Ballmer has also spoken out against Microsoft's current mobile plans. Under the leadership of Satya Nadella, Microsoft has moved towards creating a single converged operating system that is capable of running seamlessly on whatever device it is presented with. Developers can write an app once and have it run without any modification on desktops, tablets, phones and Internet of Things devices.
Ballmer doesn't think this will help solve the infamous Windows Phone "app gap" problem though. Responding to a question from the audience at the meeting, Nadella explained that Windows 10 should attract developers of currently absent apps like Starbucks and Snapchat because they can target millions of devices across several different form factors from one centralized store.
Ballmer interjected with a pointed "That won't work" as Nadella spoke, adding that Windows Phones "should run Android apps." Microsoft is already working on something similar to this, letting iOS developers easily port their apps to Windows 10 using the Project Islandwood bridge.
Until very recently, Windows 10 Mobile was also set to include an Android emulator that would have let users install Android apps without any modifications. Known as Project Astoria, users managed to enable the feature in preview builds and successfully install Android apps on Windows 10.
However, Astoria has since been removed from Windows 10 Mobile and is thought to have been permanently shelved with the team behind it disbanded. The final indicator came late last month when the Project Astoria website was shut down. It doesn't look like Android apps are happening after all for reasons that remain unclear. Many have speculated legal issues may be involved due to the way in which the project directly emulated Android apps with no go-between layer as in Project Islandwood.
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