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Microsoft Awards Execs with Millions in Stock

Several Microsoft execs received millions of dollars in stock awards as part of compensation program that the company rejiggered several years ago.

Several high-ranking Microsoft Corp. executives Thursday received millions of dollars in stock awards as part of a compensation program that the company rejiggered several years ago.

Three years ago, as its share price stagnated, making stock options less attractive, Microsoft switched from offering stock options to stock grants.

The executives reaped the first rewards of the new program Thursday, company spokesman Lou Gellos said. The first of three chunks of stock awarded under the program vested, making it available to the executives.

Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft division that includes Microsoft's Office business software, received stock worth $7.5 million at current prices.

Kevin Johnson, co-president of the group that includes the Windows operating system, received stock worth $6 million.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's top lawyer, received stock worth $2.3 million, and Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell received shares worth $1.2 million at current prices.

Robbie Bach, head of the division that includes the Xbox videogame console, received a grant worth $2.8 million. Lisa Brummel, head of human resources, received a grant worth $1.5 million.

Another 900 senior leaders also received stock grants on Thursday, Gellos said.

The second and third chunks will vest in August of 2007 and September of 2008, providing those executives still work for the company, Gellos said. Those will be for the same number of shares as the ones awarded Thursday.

Gellos said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Chief Executive Steve Ballmer were not included in the program.

Shares in Microsoft have remained relatively stagnant for years, as the company has grappled with varied issues like a major U.S. antitrust case and, more recently, its much-delayed effort to get a new version of Windows out the door. But through that time, the company has continued to make billions in profits, primarily from its Windows and Office franchises.

On Thursday, Microsoft shares fell 10 cents to close at $25.70 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have traded between $21.46 and $28.38 over the past 52 weeks.

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