The word around the room is Microsoft’s Financial Analyst Meeting was more cautious than in past years. The day’s last presentation came from Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell, who began his presentation with this downer of a joke: “What genetic disposition do you need to be CFO? You need to be miserable. You need to take drinks away from people at the end of the day.” (Incidentally, most analysts have now decamped for the Microsoft reception as I file this.)
Liddell recalled that last year he gave financial guidance of 11 to 13 percent growth. When the books closed this year, the company had lost 3 percent in sales from the year before.
“Clearly we had a tough year,” he said. “We’re building new muscle in some areas that are necessary. In areas where we have had muscle we are getting stronger.”
Five of Microsoft’s execs took the stage for Q&A. Analysts asked questions about Bing and cloud computing. In the last question about the economy and projections for the future, Ballmer had a fire lit under him.
“We had the most excited sales force ever last week, they were PUMPED,” Ballmer said. “We’re gonna do our very best. We make a lot of money. Even with decline in economy we make a lot of money.”
I’m getting kicked out by people who are taking the room apart now. Signing off. Thanks to all the readers for joining me today at the Financial Analyst Meeting.