In what looks like a superb publicity stunt Ballmer mentioned his dilemma at a recent tech industry event.
"The Ballmer children do not have their Xbox 360 yet," he said. "I'm in the same boat as many of you. Thanks to the wonders of Sarbanes-Oxley, management does not get a free Xbox 360."
Under financial disclosure rules, Microsoft would have to classify a free games console as income for Ballmer. The Premium version of Microsoft's next-generation game machine carries a $400 price tag in the US.
Rumours are circulating that 'Lauren the teenager', a character created by comedienne Catherine Tate, had only one view on Ballmer's little problem: "Look at my face. Am I bovvered?”
Ballmer was unavailable for comment.
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