Today Microsoft announced in a combined press release that it has named ValueAct Capital’s President Mason Morfit to its board, and that it will issue a quarterly dividend of $0.28.
Neither piece of news is a surprise. Microsoft and ValueAct created a “cooperation agreement” in which the investing group got “regular meetings” with executives, and the option for Morfit to join its board. Given that ValueAct has quite a lot of capital tied up in its stake in Microsoft, his decision to accept the offer is nothing short of devastatingly unsurprising.
What the hell does he want Microsoft to do that it is not currently doing? Bloomberg had a good report on that exact question in February. An excerpt:
Morfit, 38, and ValueAct want the world’s largest software maker to reduce its focus on Windows, the operating system that underlies most of the company’s offerings, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information is private. For two decades, Microsoft has focused on selling applications and server software designed to work specifically for Windows.
Now ValueAct wants Microsoft to accelerate efforts to unchain products and services from Windows so that they can be more widely adopted on smartphones and tablets.
Given that Microsoft is in the process of doubling down on Windows, that seems doubtful. For now, Microsoft’s new CEO has a new voice in his head.