MarketWatch is reporting
that Robbie Bach
, head of Microsoft's entertainment and devices unit (which includes the Xbox 360), sold $6.2 million in company stock between May 2 and last week's announcement that the company would extend the warranty
on the system for certain failures to three years. Bach's sales came after eight months of selling no company stock.
Bach himself did not comment on the story, but a Microsoft spokesperson insisted that the stock sale and the warranty were completely unrelated, saying "[He] continues to hold a significant stake in Microsoft and remains confident in the long-term success of the company." In the two months before the announcement, two Microsoft employees sold more stock than Bach: General counsel Brad Smith, who said he used the money he made to purchase more Microsoft stock, and Bill Gates.
One analyst, who said that bad timing for insider trading is often by chance, said he believed that Bach should be given the benefit of the doubt in this case, especially considering that the announcement barely moved Microsoft stock. We'll have more on this story as it develops.