In addition, employee benefits were substantial. The upward trend of the stock market during most of the 90s led to a large accumulation of wealth by the option holders. Since Microsoft went public in 1986, it is estimated that between 90% and 95% of employees received options. During this period, the share price soared and Microsoft employees accumulated great fortunes in the value of their options. They were called the "Microsoft millionaires".
In this new context, Microsoft and many other companies changed their compensation strategy and replaced stock options with more predictable remuneration tools such as pension plans, delivery of shares and higher fixed salaries.
- Published in the quarterly magazine of the Law, Economics and Business Faculties of ICADE, No. 61, January-April 2004 on the article by Richard N. Ericson in Workspan, WorldatWork. September 2003, Volume 46, Number 9: The Microsoft Ripple Effect: Is It Your Time for an Overhaul Equity?