Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer dealt with his fair share of grumbling from investors during his 14 years at the helm, but now the tables have turned.
While his successor, Satya Nadella, was busy fielding questions from investors during the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, Ballmer was in the audience speaking critically of one of the company’s financial reporting practices with Bloomberg reporter Dina Bass.
Bass reports that Ballmer said he’s not happy with the way Microsoft is reporting financial data for its cloud business, arguing the company should release profit margins and sales numbers. Instead, Microsoft talks a lot about its annual run rate, which extrapolates what the annual revenue of the business would be based on current sales numbers.
Ballmer, who is Microsoft’s largest individual shareholder, didn’t mince words when he said what he thought of the use of the run rate metric: “bullshit.”
“They should report the revenue, not the run rate,” he told Bloomberg.
Ballmer also weighed in on the company’s strategy to use Windows 10 in order to close the so-called “app gap,” or the absence of popular apps like Snapchat on the Windows Phone platform. When an audience member asked about the issue, current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that universal apps for Windows 10 will appeal to more developers because they can code once and have the software work across computers, phones and tablets.
“That won’t work,” Ballmer said as Nadella spoke, according to Bloomberg. Instead, he said Microsoft should allow Windows Phones “to run Android apps” in order to attract more developers. A plan to do just that has reportedly stalled inside the company.
Chris Suh, Microsoft’s general manager for investor relations, told Bloomberg, “We enjoy a regular dialogue with Steve, and welcome his input and feedback, as we do from our other investors.”
Although Ballmer may disagree with some aspects of the approach, the overall impact of the changes at Microsoft has been positive. Since Nadella took over in February 2014, the stock is up more than 50 percent, closing today at $55.21.