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Ballmer's annual bonus capped at $682,500 as Windows Phone misses 2011 sales target

Ballmer's annual bonus capped at $682,500 as Windows Phone misses 2011 sales target
Microsoft may be looking to the future with Mango, but Windows Phone's slower than expected start has had a financial impact on CEO Steve Ballmer.

According to a filing with securities regulators, Ballmer took home a bonus of $682,500 for fiscal year 2011 – a figure that matches his actual salary, but is somewhat down on the $1.37 million he was eligible for.

The reason? Ballmer's annual bonus is tied to Microsoft's performance, and Windows Phone's failure to fly out of the blocks kept his reward in check.

Phoney success

Indeed, it's the second year a phone's performance – or, rather, lack of – has had an impact on Ballmer's bank balance.

Last year his bonus yet again went no further than his actual salary thanks to Microsost's Kin – the firm's attempt to roll out a range of phones aimed at users of social networks.

Poor sales in the US post launch resulted in the handset's roll out in Europe being canned, and the project as a whole folded into Windows Phone.

Official Windows Phone sales figures are not known, but Gartner estimates the OS accounted for 1.6 percent of the global smartphone market in Q2 2011.

Making Kinections

However, while the filing also made reference to the impact iPad is having on Microsoft's Windows business – noting "the need for further progress in new form factors" such a tablets – Ballmer was praised for the success the firm enjoyed with the launch of Kinect, which became the fastest selling consumer electronics device in history.

Microsoft has also enjoyed success with its Google search rival Bing, which ships with all Windows Phone handsets, plus the firm's strategic partnership with Finnish giant Nokia earned praise.

Ballmer will be looking for an improvement to his bonus next year – if only as a sign of Microsoft's health – with the first Nokia Windows Phones expected out before the end of 2011, and Windows 8 tablets from next spring.

[source: Reuters]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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