Market Minute: Microsoft Chairman Under Fire; Apple's Eye-Popping Wealth

One of America's most-respected men comes under fire, and an unbelievable number about Apple's wealth. Those stories and more are what's in Wednesday's Market Minute.

Investors shook off the uncertainty of the partial government shutdown Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 62 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 13 and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) jumped 46 points.

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesMicrosoft co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates
Three of the biggest investors in Microsoft (MSFT) are calling for Bill Gates to step down as chairman of the company he founded. According to Reuters, these investors worry that Gates power would limit the ability of the company's yet-to-be-named new chief executive officer. Current CEO Steve Ballmer announced in August that he plans to retire next year.

We all know that Apple (AAPL) is a huge company, but get this: according to Moody's, Apple now controls 10 percent of all corporate cash, not counting financial companies. Its cash horde totals $147 billion. Add in the cash held by Microsoft, Google (GOOG), Cisco (CSCO) and Pfizer (PFE), and those five companies hold 1 in 4 dollars in corporate America.

Apple stock rose Tuesday after billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he knows what the company should do with some of that money. He's pushing for a $150 billion stock buyback.

Visa (V), MasterCard (MA) and American Express (AXP) are jointly rolling out a new technology to make Internet and smartphone purchases safer. The companies say their "digital tokens" would reduce fraud.

Three big initial public offerings hit the market today:
  • The company that owns the famed Empire State Building here in New York has priced the offering for the real estate trust at $13 a share, raising $930 million. That's at the low end of expectations.
  • But the real estate brokerage firm Re/Max is selling shares at $22, which is above the target range -- as the housing recovery continues to attract investor interest.
  • The third IPO is from Burlington Stores. The parent of Burlington Coat Factory priced its shares at $17, also above expectations.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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The amount of wealth apple computer has is NONE of anyone's business.

October 02 2013 at 6:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If the man has helped this company make that kind of money...wouuldn't it be smart to keep him as long as he wants???? Sounds like a little jealousy on someones part!!!

October 02 2013 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought Gates left Microsoft years ago to concentrate on giving his money away.

October 02 2013 at 3:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crazy ray

Ah, yes, the company that enslaves, saves a lotta money.

October 02 2013 at 3:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Ohyeah lets replace yet another company's CEO,with a CFO minded individual....First R&D will be killed OR shipped overseas,....Since under CFO's status quo is the only valid platform to stand on ,we will mine to death the existing product ,(actually it is already happening ),without bringing new cutting edge innovation on line,because that money would be best put in shareholders pockets...Good deal!....Then when customers abandon the product in droves ..replace this guy with another of his type.....Let us keep an eye on Men's Wearhouse,..for guidance here ......I see a Linux revolution on the horizon....

October 02 2013 at 3:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Kicking Gates out is equivalent to kicking Steve Jobs out. Use his expertise while you can...he actually built it and understands more than any corporate mercenary ever could.

October 02 2013 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Larry's comment

Microsoft became the standard for Business and doesn't care about the average consumer...Gates is clueless

October 02 2013 at 2:18 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ken's comment

WOW.....and you the rebirth of Elbert Einstein????

October 02 2013 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
crazy ray

You mean you think Gares is not a corporate mecenary?

October 02 2013 at 3:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Why is there no outrage for the rap "artists", basketball stars, and reality "stars" who earn gazillions a year and posses the IQ of an Amoeba ???

October 02 2013 at 12:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to goatcars's comment

Because the "stars" are supported by fans and patrons who pay to see them(or watch, listen on media), and advertising......(but many fans posses the IQ of an amoeba)

October 02 2013 at 2:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

These investors seem unhappy how MSFT grown to a over $200B cap value, has sales of $100B/yr, profits of $22B/yr, gives over 3% dividends/year. In view of this, they should just go and invest their money into Amazon, Google, Apple, HP, Salesforce and/or Facebook. I doubt very much if they even get a voting power to oust the founders from Google or Facebook.

These investors together own about 5% of the Company vs. Gates/Ballmer and Allen controlling about 10%. These investors motives are evil, just want to extract the money from the Company into their coffers and get out. They have no clue on how to run huge conglomerate like Microsoft which offers hardware/services/software to the enterprise world, or if they do I demand as an investor for them to show us the candidate who has the experience and capability of running such an organization. Are these investors willing to hold on to their MSFT portfolio for the 10 years?

This is a classic example of a tail trying to wag the dog!

October 02 2013 at 12:24 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
crazy ray

And they say slave labor doesn't pay.

October 02 2013 at 12:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Bill needs to step down as chairman and back as CEO. Then he has to undo everything Ballmer has done to this company, dump windows 8 as fast as can be get windows 9 together with a true desktop and return of the start button with start menu. He could even just reskin windows 8 with a good ui similar to what those who got stuck with it do with windows shell. Thwen drop the ridiculous prices on the windows tablets no more metro crap and then put them in actual stores so people can handle them see them and buy them. Thius would stimulate desktop/laptop sales, increase tablet sales and help the dying wp sales while giving Microsoft an in with hardware and good pr to its customers it has turned away after decades of loyalty to Microsoft. Any other way MS may be dead and gone.

October 02 2013 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply