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As Microsoft Goes, So Goes Nation?

By: Rick Ackerman, Rick's Picks

-- Posted Monday, 26 October 2009 | Digg This ArticleDigg It! | | Source:

Rick’s Picks

Monday, October 26, 2009

“Phenomenally accurate forecasts”


Although the Wall Street Journal’s classy copy desk deserves praise for adapting so quickly to the paper’s tabloid transformation under Rupert Murdoch, the headline writers appear to be struggling to find a balance between truth, sensationalism and, in this case, wishful thinking. Here’s the headline -- and see if you can spot the dereliction of syntax: “Microsoft Feeds Hopes for a Recovery”.  Did you infer that the hoped-for recovery supposedly being fed by Microsoft encompassed the broad U.S. economy?  We did too, since it was logical to think that’s what the headline meant. After all, who among us knows a single person who even remotely cares whether Microsoft itself recovers from its Vista-induced kamikaze dive?


Turns out we were wrong, for it is solely Microsoft’s recovery that is being hoped for (presumably by Steve Ballmer and the population of Greater Seattle, if no one else). Nowhere in the article was there any mention of hopes for a broad-based U.S. recovery. Nor did the article speculate on whether Microsoft, the General Motors of the software industry, might help pull the rest of the economy out of the hole. Alas, we are left to hope only that the fortunes of the Redmond software behemoth continue to improve. Considering that with each new version of its operating system, Microsoft continues to lose ground to its competitors, Americans might have more to gain from hoping that McDonald’s expands its breakfast menu in 2010 – or that the Chicago Cubs make it to the World Series.


A Disconnect


Concerning the Journal’s perennial state of hopefulness, the disconnect between headlines and news stories has become all too typical of the newspaper’s reportage on the supposed recovery. Mainly, it’s a matter of the stories failing to justify the bold headlines associated with decidedly sketchy “green shoots” items. This latest story fails to persuade, even, that Microsoft’s revenues are back on track. In fact, the company’s earnings for the last quarter were down 18 percent. Savvy investors lost no time pushing MSFT’s share price up more than 5 percent on this piece of fabulous news. But this was to be expected, since, amidst green-shoots mania, during which common sense and logic have routinely been stood on their heads, the worse the news, the more bullish the spin. 


The supposedly bullish side of this story was that Windows 7 sales look promising, driven by what the Journal described as “strong consumer appetite” for the product. Oh, really?  Maybe it’s strong in comparison to demand for the emetic Vista operating system. But we find no reason to “upgrade” from XP ourselves, since its only selling points are that it corrects Vista’s egregious flaws, and that it creates a user interface that is somewhat less boring than in the past. These factors have failed to stimulate business sales, however. Microsoft thinks its because business has been stingy about technology spending in the recession. That’s undoubtedly true, but it’s only half the reason they are not rushing to upgrade.





Information and commentary contained herein comes from sources believed to be reliable, but this cannot be guaranteed. Past performance should not be construed as an indicator of future results, so let the buyer beware. Rick's Picks does not provide investment advice to individuals, nor act as an investment advisor, nor individually advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment. From time to time, its editor may hold positions in issues referred to in this service, and he may alter or augment them at any time. Investments recommended herein should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor, and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company. Rick's Picks reserves the right to use e-mail endorsements and/or profit claims from its subscribers for marketing purposes. All names will be kept anonymous and only subscribers’ initials will be used unless express written permission has been granted to the contrary. All Contents © 2009, Rick Ackerman. All Rights Reserved.

-- Posted Monday, 26 October 2009 | Digg This Article | Source:


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