When Microsoft announced earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter
on July 22, the after-hours markets sent its stock down by 5%.
Investors clearly had already finished celebrating the Colossus of
Redmond's bold announcement two days earlier that it would issue a
$3-per-share one-time dividend, part of a total $75 billion
stock-buyback and dividend plan over the coming four years.
"Why is the stock being punished? Because the market sees
something different from the upbeat picture CEO Steve Ballmer
painted on the day of the dividend announcement. It recognizes that
Microsoft faces increasing competition in both PC operating systems
and in desktop applications, the software giant's key product
areas. And it's watching Microsoft's difficulties repeating in new
global markets the dominance it has gained in America..."