The Standard: Media Raps Microsoft and IBM

“Even a profit bump of 30 percent couldn’t buy Microsoft (MSFT)
positive ink. …despite beating analysts’ quarterly estimates and
issuing an energetic press release that cited ‘awesome’ PC demand
as the reason for its new pile of cash, Microsoft came off in the
media as vulnerable.”

“The New York Times’ Steve Lohr called the announcements ‘a
practiced quarterly ritual in which Microsoft reports extraordinary
profit figures accompanied by guarded commentary about the many
challenges the company faces ahead.’ Despite Microsoft’s bouncy
adjectives and the upbeat demeanor of its usually understated CFO,
according to Lohr, the media questioned the $110 million
decline in deferred revenue from last quarter
, a figure
analysts view as an important financial cushion. But as for what
happened, Lohr left readers hanging with the comment that Maffei
chalked it up to seasonality.”

“…while the event was scripted to convey the image of a
company on the road to Net success, analysts wonder whether
Redmond’s software has the stuff to compete with IBM and Sun

(SUNW) to run the fired-up data-center computers
that make the Net hum. Microsoft made little mention of its newly
minted joint venture with Telmex… But the Telmex deal raised some
analyst eyebrows… ‘Microsoft hasn’t even done well with its own
portal,’ scoffed Michael West of research firm MWest.com. ‘Why
should they do any better in Mexico?’ “


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