Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Microsoft FY09Q3 Results

Last time we did quarterly results, it was a doooozy. Immediate layoffs for 1,400 Microsofties and sometime-in-the-next-18-months layoffs for 3,600 more. Of course, the layoffs were offset somewhat by continued crazy hiring for Live Search (should we expect a work of Shakespeare to pop out of there sometime soon, too?).

What kind of questions do you want to be asked during the conference call? Some off of the top of my head:

  • So... how's that, ah, layoff... thingy.. going?
  • Which groups and products are specifically being affected by layoffs?
  • What other cost-cutting measures are in effect?
  • What are the causes in drop of revenue and what are the expectations going forward (will Microsoft give guidance this time)?
  • What bright spots are there in profits?
  • How is gaining share going?
  • The EU seems to be pulling its leg way back for a full-on kick to Microsoft's financial groin. How does the defense against EU charges look to protect shareholder money for additional EU fines?
  • What does a financial geek have to do to get a beer at The Commons?

And you know, speaking of The Commons: I trekked over there today (meh, not the sunniest day) and I have to say it's an impressive space. I walked around admiring the scope of the project, thinking "This is what Windows built. This is what Office built." I then reflected on the irony that it's Mr. Robbie Bach's Entertainment and Devices moving into the new campus with The Commons. Windows and Office funded this extravagant place for the folks who managed to burn through $8,000,000,000USD+ on the Xbox, be shown how it's done right from Nintendo with the Wii, dash the Zune against the juggernaut iPod, and have the iPhone drop-kick WinMobile to Mars.

Microsoft Senior Leadership Team is rewarding something here moving these people into such a great place, but it's not anything that I could make sense of while I wandered the new campus...

I'll update this post later with commentary about the quarterly results. In the meantime, some of my favorite places to track insights and opinions on MSFT quarterly results:

Update: closing the loop here a little bit later than I wanted (sorry, I was bounced off the grid for a while):

Wow: have a plunge in profits and get rewarded by your stock shooting up 10%+ in one day! Sweet! And by "Sweet" I mean none of this makes a lick of sense except to look at an article like Cost-cutting saves Microsoft stock after rough 3Q and realize that the market is supposedly rewarding the stock price and recognizing appreciation for the reduction in overhead and expenditures.

So now, we must have a plan to have constant announcements about reduction of expenditures.

Announcement #1: No more Company Picnic. Ever. Next?

What would be on your short list of things to cut back on? MGX? The Company Meeting? Beer at morale events? Soda? The Company Store? Whole product groups? Your group? Yeah, I don't know how often that last one makes the list. Though I have friends who have sniffed the way the FY10 wind is blowing and are getting the hell out of groups that have spent more time talking about what they are going to do than actually doing anything or - get this - shipping something to actual customers. You know, the type of groups that make Yahoo's Carol Bartz slip in the F-bomb.

I'm surprised to learn from Ms. Fried's Company Picnic article above that The Company Meeting is still on. As much as I love the Company Meeting, it was totally dead and gone to me in my mind. Talk about the most challenging Company Meeting ever. Yes, we'll have Win7 and coming in close Office 14, along with other emerging products. But how in the world to you manage to pull off a great Company Meeting within our current environment? You have to take the big issues head-on, and part of that will be looking at the upcoming MSPoll numbers and actually sharing with Microsofties who they hell were let go as part of the layoff. And why.

The Company Picnic boggled my mind just looking at the logistical nightmare it had turned into. Tell you what: if we reduce the company size back down to something reasonable, we should bring it back. But for now, I'll be happy with my group renting space for a family morale team event at Vasa Park.

CRF: unmoderated comment thread: Microsoft FY09Q3 Results.

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