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Old 12-07-2012, 01:04 AM   #61
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[[[ update of Post 22 this thread ]]]

I finally went and looked for the date of that Electronics Show in Atlanta.
It was COMDEX in 1997 in Atlanta I believe though it is possible it was 1995.
15 to 17 years ago.


MS was selling Vaporware and the rest is history.

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Old 12-07-2012, 01:22 AM   #62
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It's like saying take away Ford's Profitable cars and whatchagot?
Edsel?
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:33 AM   #63
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Many of Microsoft's corporate products, such as SQL Server, Exchange Server, Sharepoint Server, Commerce Server, etc, are leaders in their fields. A very high proportion of the largest companies in the world run...

These products ... are highly commercially successful products.
Hmm, am I really being that obtuse? Since I can't figure out how to say it any more clearly, I'll repeat my previous quote again:

Quote:
"Microsoft has *tried* many other things. It has made money at *none* of them."
"Leaders in their fields", certainly. Widely used, absolutely. "Commercially successful"? If by "commercially" you mean "financially", I'm not sure I agree.

I've just spent the past couple of hours googling, and have been unable to locate a breakdown of operating income by product for Microsoft, so I'll do a bit of speculating based on overall numbers.

A recent WSJ article, commenting on the importance of Windows and Office to Microsoft's profitability, observed that in FY12 Microsoft's "three other divisions together generated 42% of revenue but no operating profit between them." That is, while Server and Tools, Entertainment and Devices and Online Services brought in 42% of MS's FY12 revenues, after subtracting off operating expenses Microsoft made no money on them, which is exactly what I said. But that's a bit disingenuous.

Here is Microsoft's FY12 operating income breakdown by division (in millions):

Windows & Windows Live: $11,460
Server & Tools: $7,431
Online Services: ($8,121)
Business: $15,719
Entertainment and Devices: $364
Coporate-level activity: ($5090)
TOTAL: $21,763

Since I haven't been able to find a breakdown by product, for the sake of argument I'll just pretend the Tools side of Server and Tools accounted for 50% of the S&T profits, and (again, for the sake of argument), we'll give Exchange and SQL Server each one third of that half.

That works out to about $1.25 billion profit per product. Given a total operating income of nearly $35 billion ($31 billion of which derived from Windows and Office), that's what I define as "made no money at". Certainly, it's not money Microsoft could survive on. (In addition, I would argue that both Exchange and SQL Server are only as successful as they are because they're tied to Windows, but that's an argument for another day.)
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:44 AM   #64
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Indeed. Any one of those generate a lot more profit than entire companies.
But they wouldn't even pay Microsoft's legal bills. Microsoft couldn't survive on what it makes from any of them.

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The fabled "man in the street" should, however, be at least somewhat aware of a certain 70-million-unit-and counting XBOX 360 business that is generating a few hundred million in profits a year.
In FY2012 the entire Entertainment and Devices Division generated $364 million in operating income, only part of it from X-Box (nor is X-Box consistently profitable). And don't forget that for most of its existence X-Box has been a financial sinkhole for Microsoft, which overall is still several billion dollars shy of seeing a profit from the video console.

Compare that with total operating income of $21 billion in FY12. X-Box profits are a rounding error for Microsoft.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:54 AM   #65
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But they wouldn't even pay Microsoft's legal bills. Microsoft couldn't survive on what it makes from any of them.
That's not really the point. A company like MS can't afford to have all its eggs in one basket; it relies on revenue from a wide range of different products for its total income. If it makes $1bn a year from server products, that may only be a small slice of its $30bn overall profit, but that $30bn comes from lots of different sources.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:15 AM   #66
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In FY2012 the entire Entertainment and Devices Division generated $364 million in operating income, only part of it from X-Box (nor is X-Box consistently profitable).
Uh, no.
XBOX is the revenue generator in that division--their online efforts (Bing, ad sales, etc) are the sinkhole eating up XBOX revenues. XBOX generates north of a billion in profits by itself.

Nonetheless, $364 million net profit is about as much as Nintendo makes in a good year.
More than Amazon itself nets, too.

There aren't many business that will clear you $3-5 billion in annual profits no matter who you are. For that matter, there aren't many million-dollar-a-day business, either. But building a few of the latter is relatively "easier" than hitting a jackpot with a much bigger cash cow. Those are few and far between.

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Old 12-07-2012, 10:41 AM   #67
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Microsoft couldn't survive on what it makes from any of them.
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That's not really the point.
It's my point, and it's the only point I've been trying to make: Microsoft is far too dependent on its Windows/Office revenue stream, which is already in decline.

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A company like MS can't afford to have all its eggs in one basket; it relies on revenue from a wide range of different products for its total income.
Not really. Looking at the numbers I provided in my previous post, of the nearly $35 billion in operating income Microsoft had in FY12 roughly $31 billion came from two sources: Windows and Office. Everything else Microsoft does put together accounted for only about $4 billion, and of that, perhaps $3.5 billion (the Tools side of Server and Tools) came from products so closely tied to Windows they couldn't survive on their own.

Put another way, Microsoft could comfortably survive the loss of every other product it sells. If the words "relies on" mean anything, then Microsoft's cake comes in only two flavors; everything else is just icing.

Microsoft has spent most of the past two decades attempting to find a successful mobile strategy. So far all it has to show is a string of failures. And then a strange thing happened: while Ballmer was publicly laughing off the iPhone, and MS was still dorking around with WinCE, Apple was busy reconfiguring the tech world around its mobile offerings. Microsoft's failure to read the tea leaves handed Google the opportunity it needed to break into mobile, and Microsoft was once again left flat-footed.

Of course, that may actually be a good thing for Microsoft. By some estimates, Microsoft makes more money from Android than it does from its own mobile OS.

Maybe Windows 8 and Surface will finally change all that; I'm just not betting the farm on it.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:53 AM   #68
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It's my point, and it's the only point I've been trying to make: Microsoft is far too dependent on its Windows/Office revenue stream, which is already in decline.

...
Yeah, we get that. As I said, you can apply the same faulty reasoning to any company.

The thing I'm astounded about is why they didn't put you in charge of MS when Gates retired. ????

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Old 12-07-2012, 12:03 PM   #69
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XBOX is the revenue generator in that division--their online efforts (Bing, ad sales, etc) are the sinkhole eating up XBOX revenues. XBOX generates north of a billion in profits by itself.
Bing, et al, are over in the Online Services Division; X-Box is in the Entertainment and Devices Division (which includes Windows Mobile, keyboards et al., and now Skype).

The Online Services Division had a net operating loss of more than $8 billion dollars in FY12 (though that included a one-time goodwill impairment charge of $6.2 billion from the aQuantive takeover, which is a story in itself). Entertainment and Devices had operating income of $364 million on revenues of $9.6 billion, which is as close to break-even as you'll get in Microsoft terms.

I have not been able to find any breakdown by product of MS's operating income. Where do you get that the X-Box makes more than a billion in profit?

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Nonetheless, $364 million net profit is about as much as Nintendo makes in a good year. More than Amazon itself nets, too.
I'm sure it is. But in terms of Microsoft's bottom line it's insignificant. And that's been my point since I entered this discussion: Microsoft's revenues and profits are driven by two products, Windows and Office. And that's been true for nearly two decades. But that market has stagnated (operating income from Windows and Office has declined in each of the past two fiscal years, and looks set to decline again this year).

Microsoft needs to find replacements for its declining Windows and Office OI, but a few hundred million from its Entertainment Division won't come close to making up the difference. And early numbers coming in on Windows 8 and MS's tablet push in general are less than encouraging, as is implied in the topic of this thread.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:23 PM   #70
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I'm wondering if Microsoft might try to limit its success. After all, if it tried had enough a court might decide to split the company up, like it almost happened in 2000.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:47 PM   #71
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I'm wondering if Microsoft might try to limit its success. After all, if it tried had enough a court might decide to split the company up, like it almost happened in 2000.
It seems to me that the decision to make Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) the default anti-virus for Windows 8 is the kind of decision they would not make if consumed with anti-trust worries.* However, it's just two years since they got out from under supervision. See: The Anti-Trust Curse: What Apple Can Learn from Microsoft, IBM:

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Microsoft lost the case in 2002, and was subject to DOJ monitoring of its behavior for another eight years after that. It fundamentally changed the company. . . .

"Working at Microsoft today vs. five years ago is different," Kroese said. "If anyone thinks the antitrust case hasn't slowed us down, you're wrong. If I want to meet with a products manager for Windows, there needs to be three lawyers in the room. We have to be so careful, we err on the side of caution. We are on such a fine line of conduct."
_______________________
* Or am I wrong on the default anti-virus facts here? MSE is default with a home-built Windows 8 PC, but what what about a name-brand unit with bloatware? Does anyone know?
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:51 PM   #72
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Skype's profits, before it was bought by Microsoft, were ~$250 million per year. Microsoft paid $8.5 billion to acquire it.

Usage is up since last year, but they are deep, deep in the hole on that one.
Ditto aQuantive. They bought it for $6.3 billion, then took a $6.2 billion goodwill impairment charge against it, which is the equivalent of admitting they paid $6.2 billion too much.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:06 PM   #73
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* Or am I wrong on the default anti-virus facts here? MSE is default with a home-built Windows 8 PC, but what what about a name-brand unit with bloatware? Does anyone know?
I don't know about new name-brand units, but IIRC, when I upgraded my Duo to Windows 8 I was given the option during setup to learn more about other AV products, install one of my choosing or use theirs (or none at all).
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:44 AM   #74
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Ditto aQuantive. They bought it for $6.3 billion, then took a $6.2 billion goodwill impairment charge against it, which is the equivalent of admitting they paid $6.2 billion too much.
Can\t they do that just to lower their corporate taxes?
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:03 AM   #75
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Can\t they do that just to lower their corporate taxes?
The Tax Police would be "suspicious" if they did it *just* for that. And goodwill paper losses get scrutinized as a matter of principle.

It is not uncommon for mergers and acquisitions to result in significant paper losses because market conditions do change and by the time the deals are completed, the new property has declined in value. Plus, most mergers come at a premium over the true value of the property. Some are just more painful than others. It's all part of the "game".

But yes, those big writedowns are applied to the tax bill to a certain extent.
As a rule, companies take those "goodwill losses" in chunks, spread over time, but MS prefers to take their medicine at once. When they screw up that way they don't bother trying to sugarcoat it.
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