Investor to Microsoft: Ditch 'Charlie Brown' Ballmer

David Einhorn calls for Steve Ballmer's head
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2011 8:58 AM CDT
David Einhorn Calls Out Microsoft's Steve Ballmer
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks during the CII Cloud Summit in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 26, 2011.   (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)

(Newser) – Big-time hedge fund manager David Einhorn called for Steve Ballmer’s head yesterday, saying Microsoft suffered from “Charlie Brown management.” Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital has been snapping up Microsoft shares, which, he told the Ira Sohn Investment Conference, are at a “remarkable discount” because of Ballmer’s continued presence. “It’s time for Microsoft to tell Steve Ballmer, ‘All right, we see what you can do, let’s give so-and-so a chance,’” he said, according to Bloomberg.

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Microsoft shares climbed 0.87% in after-hours trading following the remarks, according to Reuters. The stock has underperformed the S&P 500 for four of the past five quarters. But Einhorn says it’s simply “not getting credit for its achievements and prospects,” noting that its earnings per share have doubled since 2006. Ballmer owns 4% of Microsoft, making him its second-largest shareholder, behind only Bill Gates. Einhohrn, meanwhile, is busy today buying a minority stake in the debt-ridden Mets. (Read more Microsoft stories.)

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