Microsoft’s stock closed at $38.94 this afternoon, a level that the company hasn’t seen since 2000. As Dow Jones noted today, the last day that Microsoft managed to close above $38.49 was July 18, 2000, when it wrapped up the day’s trading at $39.25.
Since then, Microsoft essentially mucked about in the $20s and low $30s, kicking out an endless stream of dividends. It’s worth remembering that the company did split its stock 2:1 in February of 2003. We’re using post-split numbers to allow for an apples:apples comparison.
Irony abounds in today’s essentially record high for Microsoft. CEO Steve Ballmer took the reins at Microsoft in January of 2000. He had been president of the company since 1998, helping to oversee Microsoft’s massive run through the end of the millennium.
When Ballmer did put on the CEO mantle, he did so essentially at the moment that the technology bubble burst, something that knocked Microsoft down several pegs in quick order. In the final moments of 1999, Microsoft spiked as high as $58 per share. By the end of 2000, Microsoft would trade under the $22 mark.
Ballmer’s fault? No. That correction was coming to whomever was sitting atop the Microsoft org chart. The irony begins now: As Ballmer is preparing to step down as CEO, the stock price of the company he has led for so long has returned to the level that it was just seven months into his long tenure.
Microsoft is currently worth $325 billion. Google, by way of comparison, is worth $353 billion, and Apple is worth $508 billion.
Microsoft has had a very big year, with its stock rising now a total of 45.79 percent in the period.
Yahoo also celebrated a landmark moment today, closing above $38 per share for the first time since 2006. This year has been something of a comeback year for a number of classic technology companies. You’ll note that Microsoft and Yahoo had to dramatically reform their businesses to be rewarded by investors for their progress. There’s a lesson there.