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Top Microsoft Executives See Pay Hike

How do you reward the top executives at a company whose stock price has been stagnant for several years, which is experiencing dramatically slower growth and is having trouble shipping the latest version of its core product? Why, you give them all pay raises of course. This week, Microsoft disclosed that it had rewarded chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer with 11 percent pay raises in the most recent fiscal year.

Both Gates and Ballmer received $1 million in annual salaries and bonuses, according to recent regulatory filings. For these men, however, that sum is chump change: Both are already among the top 20 richest men on earth. Gates, with an estimated net worth of $51 billion, is number one on that list, while Ballmer is number 11, with $14 billion.

The filing also revealed Microsoft raised the salaries for the four men---Robbie Bach, Kevin Johnson, Jeff Raikes, and Eric Rudder--who are running the company's new top-level divisions--the Entertainment & Devices, Platform Products & Services, Business, and Server and Tools divisions, respectively. Also, Gates and Ballmer continue to be big investors in the company. Gates owns 9.55 percent of Microsoft, while Ballmer owns 3.85 percent.

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