Microsoft shares up on ... talk of Ballmer's ouster?

Shares climb 2% day after hedge-fund manager says it's time for a change

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What an exciting week for hedge fund executive David Einhorn.

There was the news Thursday that Einhorn was entering into exclusive negotiations to buy a minority interest in the New York Mets for $200 million.

Then there was Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) 2 percent gain to 24.67 in Thursday trading following Einhorn's comments the previous day in which he called for the ouster of longtime CEO Steve Ballmer.

Perhaps one could argue that Microsoft's gain was unrelated, or that it actually was in response to the board's support of Ballmer. Maybe it was even prompted by Ballmer's vague promise Thursday that the company has "something unique" planned for the tablet market.

Hard to tell. What's clear is that Einhorn thinks it's time for Ballmer to go, Microsoft's boardroom support notwithstanding.

From Reuters:

"His continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock," Einhorn told fellow fund managers at the annual Ira Sohn Investment Research Conference in New York.

Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital, specifically criticized Ballmer for being "stuck in the past" and for allowing the software giant to fall behind in search and social networking (he left out mobile), adding that Microsoft suffered from "Charlie Brown management."

There is a little resemblance, now that he mentions it.

Despite consistently turning in decent revenue growth and profits, Microsoft's stock has been trading in the $20 to $30 range for the better part of the past decade. The last time it topped $30 was in May 2010.

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