If you want to see a scathing, satirical look at yesterday's MSFT news conference...
... head over to MSFTextrememakeover and read I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.
An excellent analysis, and one that puts into words many of the unspoken impressions I've had about Microsoft:
- Loss of focus by trying to go after every market niche
- Still relying primarily on two products... Windows and Office
- Spending billions in markets (Xbox) with little chance of ever recouping that investment
Over the last year or so, I've had this "haven't I seen this before?" feeling about Microsoft when it comes to their financials. Enron had this great financial picture, impressive growth numbers, and a compelling story. All it lacked was transparent detail about how they got there. When analysts questioned that, they were told, in effect, that they weren't smart enough to understand it, and that it was a trade secret. The reality was that there was significant trouble brewing, and the attempts to cover it up were becoming increasingly desperate. When it comes to Microsoft, no one questions where the dollars come from (can you say monopoly?). But the company is chasing after more and more opportunities for the next "big hit", none seem to be transpiring, and the cash cows are starting to be introduced to the backyard barbecue grill. When the analysts question the numbers and outlook, they're being given vague answers, contradictory statements, and vision with no substance.
I have to wonder if the big stock/company crisis for Microsoft is still to come... The dollars will still be flowing in, but flat or negative growth will send the stock spiraling, leading to massive cuts, retrenchment, and general panic.