Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wants to see the company disclose profit margins and sales for its cloud and hardware businesses rather than annualized revenue run rate, which it currently reports.
In conversation with Bloomberg at Microsoft’s annual meeting this week, Ballmer said that profit margins and sales of those divisions are key metrics and should be reported as such.
Ballmer said that margin is important because though gross margins for software are very high, they are far lower for things like hardware and cloud services.
Ballmer stepped down from his CEO post at Microsoft last year, handing over the reins to Satya Nadella in February 2014. Ballmer stepped down from the Microsoft board in August 2014.
In an open letter to Nadella announcing his departure from the company’s board of directors last year, Ballmer said “…[i]n the mobile-first, cloud-first world, software development is a key skill, but success requires moving to monetization through enterprise subscriptions, hardware gross margins, and advertising revenues. Making that change while also managing the existing software business well requires a boldness and fearlessness that I believe the management team has. Our board must also support and encourage that fearlessness for shareholders to get the best performance from Microsoft. You must drive that.”
During the shareholders call this week, Ballmer also said he wants to see Windows Phones support Android apps, dismissing Nadella’s answer to an audience member who questioned the lack of key apps on the company’s phone. According to Bloomberg, Nadella said Windows developers can write universal applications that work across devices, which Ballmer said “won’t work.”
While its Windows phone app ecosystem may be lacking, Microsoft is hoping to help its enterprise customers create and share business apps with the launch of Microsoft PowerApps earlier this week.