Microsoft Sees More Brain Drain

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Another thing investors will want to hear about during Microsoft's ( MSFT) earnings call after the bell Thursday: Its management brain drain.

Four more top executives have left the software giant in recent weeks, prompting tech watchers to wonder about CEO Steve Ballmer's efforts to move Microsoft forward. Dave Thompson, the person in charge of Microsoft's cloud-based business services, said Wednesday he is planning to depart after Office 365 is rolled out later this year.
Microsoft
Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer

Last week, Salesforce.com ( CRM) announced that it was hiring Matthew Miszewski, Microsoft's former general manager of worldwide government. Microsoft is attempting to block Miszewski from working at Salesforce, saying it violates confidentiality and non-compete agreements.

Earlier this month Microsoft's Windows VP Brad Brooks said he is leaving for a role at Juniper Networks ( JNPR), while Kinect developer Johnny Chung Lee jumped ship for Google ( GOOG).

These departures are the latest in a string of exec exits to hit Microsoft. On Jan. 10, Ballmer said he was replacing server and tools business head Bob Muglia. And in October, chief software architect Ray Ozzie announced he was stepping down from the company.

This wave of management change is likely to cause concern among investors, JP Morgan analyst John DiFucci wrote in a recent note.

"A big worry with Microsoft is 'who's minding the store?'" added Laura DiDio, principal analyst at tech consulting firm ITIC.

In his departing remarks, Ozzie criticized the world's largest software company for its over-reliance on the PC to drive growth. As PC sales have slowed, Microsoft has had a hard time proving that it can be a viable player in the booming mobile device market.

The company is expected to report a profit of 68 cents per share, down from the year-ago period of 74 cents per share. Sales are expected to hit $19.14 billion, up from $19.0 billion last year.

Microsoft rose 0.21% to $28.84 in afternoon trading Thursday.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/Ozoran.

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