Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates, CEO and Chairman of Microsoft respectively, have denied any possibility that Microsoft could potentially break up its business into smaller components in order to be profitable, after one shareholder asked the two men in the company’s annual shareholders meeting.
“I obviously don’t think it is time,” Ballmer told the investors.
However, it looks like shareholders are not going to take no for an answer. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft shareholders are re-examining Microsoft after it has not been able to push its stock price up, despite sales of Windows 7 and Office – two of the biggest profit makers for the company.
Analysts apparently seem to agree, with one saying that spinning off another profitable business – such as its gaming and entertainment devices division that holds the Xbox 360 and Kinect – could unlock hidden potential. Microsoft could also spin off its Web business, as that struggles to compete with Google and Yahoo.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft faced speculation of a potential breakup. A decade ago, it was pressured to break up into smaller companies by the government as part of the antitrust case against it. However, the company’s breakup was narrowly avoided.