Microsoft's decision this week to replace stock options with grants of stock itself was groundbreaking. In the early days, Microsoft used stock options to recruit employees who dreamed of becoming rich quick. However, changes in the stock market and the economy have made 'Microsoft millionaires' a thing of the past. Under the new stock award plan, employees will still be offered stock, but they will be able to make money on their stock-based pay even if company shares are not rising.
See Sarah Kershaw, The New York Times, July 9, 2003