Microsoft trims MVP benefits, allows shareholders say on executives' pay

Microsoft is trimming some of the benefits it is offering to participants in its Most Valuable Professional (MVP) program.It's also introducing a say-for-pay provision to its shareholders.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Instead of trying (and failing) to do full blog posts on the many different Microsoft news bits I've read recently, I decided to do a quick link list. Here are a few new items that might be of interest:

Microsoft is trimming some of the benefits it is offering to participants in its Most Valuable Professional (MVP) program, no doubt due to cost-cutting measures affecting the company overall. In a note to MVPs (posted on the ActiveWin.com site), Microsoft claims to be "expanding our investment in the MVP Award Program" with a new online MVP portal coming next year. But in the same note, officials acknowledge that they are cutting a number of the "less significant" benefits, as of October 1, including Company Store (MVP Bucks), E-Academy, E-Reference Library and MS Press Book Reviews. The worldwide MVP conference is not cancelled; it's on for mid-February 2010 (but in Redmond/Bellevue, not in Seattle).

Microsoft is allowing shareholders to have a formal say about its executives' compensation. In Microsoft's case, the "say on pay" input will be collected once every three years. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer just got a 4 percent raise for fiscal 2009, by the way (not counting bonuses). Microsoft is one of a growing list of public companies adopting the say-for-pay provision. The first nonbinding vote on executive compensation happens in conjunction with this year's shareholders' meeting on November 19. Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky is slated to release a book later this year, co-authored with Harvard management professor Marco Iansiti that will offer insights into how to make a large organization not just survive, but thrive. The book will be published by John Wiley & Sons. Think of it a detailed analysis of Microsoft's Windows client unit -- which Sinofsky reorganized and pruned in order to get Windows 7 done in a timely way and to create the groundwork for future Windows releases. (TechFlash's Todd Bishop found a Barnes & Noble listing for the forthcoming title,  -- tentatively named "One Strategy!" and due November 28.

Microsoft has made available another piece of its Azure cloud platform puzzle: The Azure management API. The API is meant for developers who need to deploy and manage the compute and storage components of the Windows Azure operating system. The Azure management API is REST-based and will allow developers to code against in their toolset of choice to manage their services.

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