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Microsoft caps exec's pay at $20 million. Each.

Microsoft bigwigs share in bonus millions
Microsoft bigwigs share in bonus millions

While Wall Street is begging for a Washington bail-out, tech companies continue to buck the financial downturn.

The Seattle Times today reports that top Microsoft executives can expect to share an estimated $100 million (£54 million) in incentive payouts over the year ahead.

Eleven top executives, including CEO Steve Ballmer, software boss Ray Ozzie and research boffin Craig Mundie are eligible to receive up to 0.35 percent of Microsoft's operating income for 2009 as bonuses.

A nice Christmas bonus

Before they start splurging on solid gold airships and islands made of Roquefort, though, the top geeks should note that the maximum payout to any one person is capped at $20 million (£11 million).

The company stressed that it did not anticipate paying out the maximum sum to an individual in any one year, although I'm sure they'll make an exception if anyone can get Zune market share into double digits.

It's been a good day for Microsoft, after an federal appeals court ruled in its favour in a $1.5 billion (£800 million) action brought by Alcatel-Lucent. The case alleged that the Windows Media Player infringed Alcatel-Lucent's patents for the MP3 file format.