Thursday, July 22, 2010

Microsoft FY10Q4 Results

FY10Q4 Microsoft earnings are upon us. So, what's been going on since last we met over the quarterly results?

  • The KIN phone collapse put WP7's future in doubt. Would WP7 meet the same fate? Is it under the same level of mismanagement? Fortunately, some fairly positive takes on pre-release WP7 have been coming out ahead of earnings to shore up confidence and excitement.
  • Market Cap - yes, Apple passed us by and there was an abundance of articles and postings questioning just how much longer Microsoft would have to endure Mr. Ballmer as CEO (hint: a long loooooong time).
  • Itsy-bitsy-layoff-committees: targeted small layoffs to kick of FY11 team budgets. If they are that low key and only disclosed on some random bit of the blogosphere, do they really amount to much accountability on Microsoft's sake? Again, our contingency hiring is out of this world so it's not like we're saving a bunch of money - we just have folks on the payroll we can easily cut loose as needed.

What kind of questions might be / should be posed during the earnings call?

  • Dates: firm dates for WP7 devices and Kinect and associated Kinect titles beyond the kind-of-interesting launch titles.
  • Win7 + Office 2010: are the cash cows still, err, bringing home the bacon?
  • Bing / Ad-center: is Bing on the upswing? Is Bing / Ad-Center doing anything more than eating the bacon that our cash cows bring home?
  • Legal: it's been very quiet on the European Union front. Office 2010 was released without a single investigatory squeak, as far as I know. Is this all behind us for now? That would be great.
  • WP7: application developers in the queue? We need to re-enforce the cool apps that we'll have ready when WP7 is launched. In a move that has totally delighted me, Microsoft is giving every employee the ability to write and deploy WP7 applications (and, what, ability to get a device at launch, too?) - wow! Now's the time to truly show off your stuff and write for WP7 and get your app out the door.

The glow of Windows 7 has dimmed and Office 2010 and the VS2010 eco-system need to pick up the steam as we head to WP7 and Kinect launch. Apple is rolling in the moolah being a content delivery channel and our story, other than some Xbox features, is still pretty fuzzy. For instance: Windows Media Center is one of those crown jewels we've let plop out of the crown and get kicked around the court. I love WMC but it seems to be a neglected feature, caught in the chop between E&D / Zune and Windows. After a phone, it's the next experience we should bring out some reference hardware for to easily DVR HD channels off the air and plug right into your HDMI system and watch it go.

My usual suspects for earnings discussion:

(I'll update the post later if there are interesting developments from the earnings release.)

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