Wires

Microsoft CEO's bonus trimmed for Windows, browser misstep

SEATTLE, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp ChiefExecutive Steve Ballmer got a lower bonus than last year's,partly for flat sales of Windows and his failure to ensure thatthe company provided a choice of browser to some Europeancustomers.

Ballmer, who took over as CEO from co-founder Bill Gates in2000, earned a bonus of $620,000 for Microsoft's 2012 fiscalyear, which ended in June, down 9 percent from the year before,according to documents filed Tuesday with the U.S. Securitiesand Exchange Commission.

His salary -- low by U.S. corporate standards -- remainedessentially flat at $685,000.

It is the third year in a row that Ballmer has not earnedhis maximum bonus, set at twice his salary.

Microsoft's recent financial year was scarred by a massive$6.2 billion write-down for a failed acquisition and lowerprofit from its flagship Windows system as computer sales stoodstill.

In the company's filing, Microsoft's compensation committeesaid it took into account a 3 percent decline in Windows salesover the year, as well as "the Windows division failure toprovide a browser choice screen on certain Windows PCs in Europeas required by its 2009 commitment with the EuropeanCommission."

The company's failure to provide a browser choice in Europewas an embarrassing setback for the software maker, which hasbeen embroiled in disputes with European regulators for morethan a decade and paid more than $1 billion in fines forincluding its own Internet Explorer browser on Windows. It nowfaces further fines from a new investigation.

(Reporting By Bill Rigby; Editing by M.D. Golan)

((bill.rigby@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 206 418 9236)(ReutersMessaging: bill.rigby.reuters.com@reuters.net))