Thursday, January 28, 2010

Microsoft FY10Q2 Results

Time for another Microsoft earning announcement. I'm going to be missing you, Mr. Liddell, and your New Zealand accent. With so many tech companies reporting good numbers and with Windows 7's success, I dare say that we're expecting a rosy quarterly earning report. And, if that's the case and knowing Mr. Ballmer's past record, he'll say something financially scary soon to rain on the parade.

Places I track for news on earnings include:

What questions do you expect or would you like to come up during the call? And if they don't come up during the conversation with the analysts, what Q&A do you want to send Mr. Ballmer's way during our upcoming Town Hall meeting?

  • Windows 7 continued success: how does that turn into profits and what kind of projections are we looking at?
  • Entertainment and Devices re-org: how does that align for future success and avoidance of being one big huge money pit?
  • Windows Mobile 7: we so dropped the ball in our early phone OS presence that now it seems like it's a losing battle to have a dog in this fight. But WinMo7 is out there. To me, I can imagine this becoming like the Zune HD: well praised and all, but not making a dent in the market because everyone has already moved on to the iPhone platform.
  • Bing: % of market share on track?
  • Efficiency: are back to our "we always fire the bottom 10% every review cycle" line of B.S. or are RIFs and layoffs still in effect? Given that the tech market at least seems to be turning around with-respect-to hiring (at least looking at the internal openings in Microsoft and how often I get pinged by recruiters), does Microsoft need to close down on the layoffs loudly and publically for both morale and recruitment's sake?
  • iPad iPad iPad! So what, the techie echo-chamber screams for the iPad? I'll be quiet happy with my Kindle for now, just because I do need it for lots of book reading vs. momentary goofing around with apps and browsing. Still, it does extend Apple's reach into the Windows market. What 'cha gonna do about that, Microsoft? How come you never thought of something like this? Or a book reader? You had what and what? Wow...
  • Ballmer: seems as though people are questioning Mr. Ballmer's continued CEO-ship. How much longer did he say he's in for being CEO?

Going back to the layoffs: first of all, this round does need to wrap up by end of FY10. The stress of possible layoffs will continue to have a negative effects on Microsoft, let alone recruiting. We should have one last big flush and then call ourselves done. I'm tired of the layoff rumors as much as anyone else. Probably more so, given the comment fear-mongering. To paraphrase a commenter here: Mini-Microsoft has correctly predicted 12 of the last 3 layoffs.

One commenter made a good point in that it is going to take a while to work through the fat, though, because Microsoft dug itself into such a deep, undisciplined hole that when layoffs were needed, no one knew how or where to start and certainly didn't realize how bad it had become.


Thanks to the deferral $s, it was a break-out quarter. Some follow-ups:

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