Microsoft posts first ever loss

The BBC: "The computing giant Microsoft has made its first-ever quarterly loss after it wrote off some of the value of its online advertising business."


  1. Their financials for the quarter actually looked mostly OK… except for the whole ‘6.2 billion goodwill writedown on a company you paid 6.3 billion for’ thing.

    It will be interesting to see if the shareholders are largely content with the ‘most of the other stuff’ results, or whether they will demand that Balmer’s still-living body be immolated on a pyre of burning Form 10-Qs and the distilled lipids of the board of directors as a burnt offering to the invisible hand…

    1. From the article “Shares were up 1.6% after the results were announced. “

      Profits were higher than expected, sales are basically on track, everyone seems keen to forget this unpleasantness and put it behind them.

    1. This is just accounting. They still have $6 billion  more now than they did 3 months ago. Microsoft blowing 6 billion on a bad acquisition is about the same thing as me spending $1,000 in Vegas.

  2. This makes me kind of sad, like when you first saw Darth Vader with his helmet off sitting on the crapper in Empire Strikes Back. I like my villains inexorable.

  3. The fact that Ballmer isn’t already pilloried is a sign that Microsoft shareholders aren’t paying any attention whatsoever. It should have happened years ago.

    At this point rooting for Microsoft is basically rooting for the underdog. The enormous, milquetoast, uninspiring underdog.

    1. Oh, I think they *are* paying attention, looking at share prices rising after the call. It’s just that they are, by now, a different type of investor from, say, Amazon’s or Apple’s. Microsoft’s stock has been basically flat since 2003, but it also survived the 2008 crash fairly well, and has paid regular dividends since 2004. It’s a “stock of last refuge” for institutional investors looking for a rock-solid source of cash, which Windows and Office still are (yeah, iPad, whatever: businesses still buy grey boxes; and yeah, Google Docs, whatever: the world still runs on Office). It’s not the ticker for 10x returns and exponential growth, but it’s an IBM-like choice that nobody will berate you for buying.

      From an industrial perspective, Microsoft is probably less glamorous than it used to be, especially in the consumer space, but they still have a stranglehold on businesses and humongous reserves of cash. Google and Apple could have moved for the kill by acting together for a combined hardware+cloud attack, but they’re now quarrelling in the mobile space, which leaves Microsoft free to chug along on the desktop — and as much as you like your iPad, unless Apple can deliver Google-style cloud services for the enterprise (hint: they can’t), your boss will keep buying you a “grey laptop” and an Office license for the next decade or so.

    2. I don’t know if they need to get rid of Ballmer from a management perspective, but they seriously need to remove him from PR events.  The guy couldn’t sell me a free beer.

  4. It galls me that Microshaft can be all la-di-da about writing off $6 billion. They stole large amounts of that money through monopolistic business practices that they were convicted of in Europe, if not here in the U.S.

  5. i live and work ( well, hobby ) mostly in my imagination ! and yet , even my unicorn pals are slightly baffled and sad about this accounting , and possibly even “reality of the financial world ” issue !! why , we seem to remember back when bill gates co-wrote a real nice basic languange interpreter that ran , and well , on 4 to 8 K of memory , and superbly within a 64 K total memory footprint in later editions !! everyone wanted and used it !! and now , this ? the rainbow incense bearing foo dogs cry gently ; and chuckle gently when no-one is watching !! end of an era , and with no truely new paradigms in sight !! oh ! for a mainstream journaling file system , with ecc memory , and automagic backups !! and , while we dream , maybe a real time micro kernal ?? ( i know , most of this is available ( or almost ) in linux , and i do dual boot , but , wouldn’t it be nice for all ?? )  and , while we are at it ! let’s start now to petition microsoft to bring back a standard basic ( or similar language ) interpreter for release with every operating system sold !!
    hahrahrharhrharhrah  we laugh ‘less we cry !

        1.  ok , python , scheme , pascal even , pick one !! perl , forth , hypercard , squeak , whatever !!  and , especially modern basics can be structured , and ” spaghetti ” can be written in any language , all praise to the fsm !! ( and bastet )

  6. I’m sure IE9 will pull them up by their boot-straps. (ha!) I’d love to know what those commercials cost. Who still uses IE?

    1. Damned if I know why they are running commercials to try to sell IE back in the consumer space; but as long as you can push IE patches to all computers on a domain from WSUS while barely conscious and FF doesn’t even have an official MSI, they have corporate locked up…

    2. From my experience it’s only those with little computer knowledge that use IE these days, and then that’s only because it was pre-installed on their machine when they purchased it. You know, the people that only know to double click the internet, i.e (!), the blue ‘e’. If it wasn’t for pre-installations I think IE would be long gone.

      1. An awful lot of business software is written upon IE. And a great number of NEW programs are created to work with IE. In many corps the IT dept does not allow the installation and use of anything but IE. IE will surely outlive us.

      2.  I use IE because 75% of all web-based business software i use is only officially compatible with IE (and thus does not always work properly, or at all, in Firefox or Chrome). 

        Hell, even our proprietary systems are only tested for compatibility with IE 8.

      3.  “then that’s only because it was pre-installed on their machine when they purchased it ” and that is why a programming language should also be pre-installed !!

  7. Well, I’m running windows 8 and office 2013, and I like what I see. It’s a pleasant experience, in a way that it hasn’t always been, so someone deserves some credit.

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