Microsoft board refuses Ballmer roust

Despite calls for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to be toppled, the company's board of directors are apparently standing behind the outspoken exec. According to a source close to the board talking to Reuters, the nine-strong directorial team – which includes ex-CEO and current chairman Bill Gates – all support Ballmer; earlier this week, notorious hedge fund manager David Einhorn led demands that Ballmer be replaced.

"[Ballmer's] continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock" Einhorn had insisted at an investor event, pointing to the CEO's wishy-washy performance in the mobility sector and underwhelming tablet, smartphone and PMP offerings. His inability to compete had left Microsoft "stuck in the past" the fund manager argued.

Microsoft has declined to comment officially, though inside whispers suggest it isn't simply loyalty-among-execs keeping Ballmer in his role. "Bill Gates is a ruthless capitalist" a fund manager reportedly at one of Microsoft's largest shareholders said. "If he wanted to, he'd walk Ballmer to the door himself."