Excellent Reporting of MSFT Meeting by Janet Tu

Great reporting of Microsoft’s annual meeting yesterday by Seattle Times technology reporter Janet I. Tu. She did a fine job of covering the voting results, presentations and Q&A.

I liked Tu’s blogging stream in her report, Microsoft annual shareholders meeting today. Wow, giving out copies of Windows 8 Pro to shareholders. Better than a cup of tea and a biscuit.

I think Microsoft is moving in the right direction with the concepts behind the Surface but it is poorly executed compared to the iPad. Maybe they can catchup if Apple stands still. They have a long way to go on design but it have better potential as a laptop substitute.

Sorry to learn Kenneth Steiner shareowner proposal to adopt cumulative voting failed. I don’t think most shareowners, including institutions, understand how important cumulative voting could be in the future, especially if proxy access is obtained.

Certainly, many California public funds should be voting in favor of such resolutions. Government Code, section 6900 reads as follows:

Whenever any governmental body is a shareholder of any corporation, and a resolution is before the shareholders which will permit or authorize cumulative voting for directors, such governmental body shall vote its shares to permit or authorize cumulative voting.

As used in this section the term “governmental body” means the state, and any office, department, division, bureau, board, commission or agency thereof, and all counties, districts,public authorities, public agencies and other political subdivisions or public corporations in the state.

Of course, funds can argue the law shouldn’t apply at companies like Microsoft, whose majority vote requirements came in long after the California statute. Since cumulative voting can be viewed as incompatible with majority voting, California funds can argue their fiduciary duty compels them to vote against cumulative voting proposals. Maybe, but I hope they arrive at a different conclusion when companies adopt proxy access. We aren’t there yet.

Anyway, Tu did a great job of reporting. I hope she provides the same coverage of other annual meetings in the area, such as Costco and Amazon.

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