Microsoft Corporate affairs
The company is run by a
Board of Directors consisting of ten people, made up of mostly company outsiders (as is customary for publicly traded companies). Current members of the board of directors of Microsoft are: Steve Ballmer, James Cash, Jr., Dina Dublon, Bill Gates, Raymond Gilmartin, Ann Korologos, David Marquardt, Charles Noski, Helmut Panke, and Jon Shirley. The ten board members are elected every year at the annual shareholders' meeting, and those who do not get a majority of votes must submit a resignation to the board, which will subsequently choose whether or not to accept the resignation. There are five committees within the board which oversee more specific matters. These committees include the
Audit Committee, which handles accounting issues with the company including auditing and reporting; the
Compensation Committee, which approves compensation for the CEO and other employees of the company; the
Finance Committee, which handles financial matters such as proposing mergers and acquisitions; the
Governance and Nominating Committee, which handles various corporate matters including nomination of the board; and the
Antitrust Compliance Committee, which attempts to prevent company practices from violating antitrust laws.
There are several other aspects to the corporate structure of Microsoft. For worldwide matters there is the
Executive Team, made up of sixteen company officers across the globe, which is charged with various duties including making sure employees understand Microsoft's culture of business. The sixteen officers of the
Executive Team include the Chairman and Chief Software Architect, the CEO, the General Counsel and Secretary, the CFO, senior and group vice presidents from the business units, the CEO of the Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions; and the heads of Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Services; Human Resources; and Corporate Marketing. In addition to the
Executive Team there is also the
Corporate Staff Council, which handles all major staff functions of the company, including approving corporate policies. The Corporate Staff Council is made up of employees from the Law and Corporate Affairs, Finance, Human Resources, Corporate Marketing, and Advanced Strategy and Policy groups at Microsoft. Other Executive Officers include the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the various product divisions, leaders of the marketing section, and the CTO, among others.
When the company debuted its IPO in March 13, 1986, the stock price was US$21. By the close of the first trading day, the stock had closed at twenty-eight dollars, equivalent to 9.7 cents when adjusted for the company's first nine splits. The initial close and ensuing rise in subsequent years made several Microsoft employees millions. The stock price peaked in 1999 at around US$119 (US$60.928 adjusting for splits). While the company has had nine stock splits, the first of which was in September 18, 1987, the company did not start offering a dividend until January 16, 2003. The dividend for the 2003 fiscal year was eight cents per share, followed by a dividend of sixteen cents per share the subsequent year. The company switched from yearly to quarterly dividends in 2005, for eight cents a share per quarter with a special one-time payout of three dollars per share for the second quarter of the fiscal year.
Around 2003 the stock price began a slow descent. Despite the company's ninth split on February 2, 2003 and subsequent increases in dividend payouts, the price of Microsoft's stock continues to stagnate as of June 2006.
In 2005, Microsoft received a 100% rating in the Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign relating to its policies concerning LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) employees. Partly through the work of the Gay and Lesbian Employees at Microsoft (GLEAM) group, Microsoft added gender expression to its antidiscrimination policies in April 2005, and the Human Rights Campaign upgraded Microsoft's Corporate Equality Index from its 86% rating in 2004 to its current 100% rating, putting it among the most progressive companies in the world, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
In April 2005, Microsoft received wide criticism for withdrawing support from Washington state's H.B. 1515 bill that would have extended the state's current antidiscrimination laws to people with alternate sexual orientations, although some claim they never withdrew support and instead simply were neutral on the bill. However, under harsh criticism from both outside and inside the company's walls, Microsoft decided to support the bill again in May 2005.
During his visit to Waterloo in October 2005, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates stated, "Most years, we hire more students out of Waterloo than any university in the world, typically 50 or even more."
Microsoft hires many foreign workers as well as domestic ones, and is an outspoken opponent of the cap on H1B visas, which allow companies in the United States to employ certain foreign workers. Bill Gates claims the cap on H1B visas make it difficult to hire employees for the company, stating "I'd certainly get rid of the H1B cap."
Working Mother magazine named Microsoft one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers in 2004 and 2005.
Logos and slogans
In 1987, Microsoft adopted its current logo, the so-called "Pacman Logo" designed by Scott Baker. According to the March 1987
Computer Reseller News Magazine, "The new logo, in Helvetica italic typeface, has a slash between the
s to emphasize the "soft" part of the name and convey motion and speed." Dave Norris, a Microsoft employee, ran an internal joke campaign to save the old logo, which was green, in all uppercase, and featured a fanciful letter
O, nicknamed the
blibbet, but it was discarded.
Microsoft's logo depicted here, with the "
Your potential. Our passion." tagline below the main corporate name, is based on the slogan Microsoft had as of 2006. In 2002, the company started using the logo in the United States and eventually started a TV campaign with the slogan, changed from the previous tagline of
"Where do you want to go today?." Like some of Microsoft's other actions, the slogan met its fair share of criticism. For example, in his ThirdWay Advertising Blog, David Vinjamuri states that while "This is gorgeous, touching advertising of the type that wins awards," he ends by noting that the slogan "Only reminds us what we don't like about the brand. Can it."