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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

Category: Financial
February 12, 2015 at 6:00 AM

Minority-owned firms handled 4% of Microsoft’s record bond sale

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, on a campaign to spotlight the lack of diversity in the technology industry, praised Microsoft this week after the company included minority-owned banks its largest-ever bond sale.

“Microsoft is making a major statement,” Jackson said on Monday after Microsoft raised its heap of cash.

How much of that cash did Microsoft put behind its statement? The company told us in a securities filing Wednesday.

Microsoft included four minority-owned firms — CastleOak Securities, Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Williams Capital Group and Loop Capital Markets — among the 14 banks and brokers charged with selling its bonds. The four together sold $422 million, or just under 4 percent, of the $10.75 billion in bonds Microsoft ended up selling on Monday.


Comments | More in Financial | Topics: bonds, diversity, microsoft

January 27, 2015 at 9:09 AM

Microsoft stock plunges as investors digest earnings

Update 1:49 p.m.:

Microsoft’s stock recorded the largest decline in 18 months after the company lowered the bar for its financial year ahead.

Microsoft released a mixed set of quarterly financial results Monday. The company’s profit met Wall Street expectations, but the report brought some signs that Microsoft’s Office and Windows businesses were stumbling more than investors had expected.

On a rough day for stocks across the board, Microsoft was hit particularly hard. Shares fell $4.35, or 9.3 percent, to close at $42.66 a share. The decline wiped out about 40 percent of the gains made in the 11 months since Satya Nadella was appointed as Microsoft’s third chief executive.

Tuesday’s swoon came as investors reacted to Microsoft’s dour outlook for the rest of its fiscal year.

The company’s expectations for how much cash it will bring in during the current quarter were “shockingly low,” John DiFucci, an analyst with Jefferies, said in a note to clients.


Comments | More in Financial | Topics: earnings, microsoft, stock

January 26, 2015 at 6:06 PM

Microsoft’s earnings: Looking under the hood

Microsoft’s most recent quarter was a good news, bad news affair.

The company’s business-focused cloud-computing unit continued its pattern of double-digit sales growth, weighing in as a $5.5-billion-a-year business. But Microsoft’s biggest moneymaker — its commercial licensing group, which sells businesses Windows, server products, and Office — stumbled a bit. One-time charges, from employee severance bills to a tax adjustment from the IRS to the pain of a stronger dollar, wiped out a few hundred million dollars in profit.

Our big-picture story on the 11% drop in Microsoft profit during the three months ended in December lives here. For a geekier take on how Microsoft’s two main business units fared, read on.


Comments | More in Financial | Topics: earnings, microsoft, office

January 23, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Microsoft earnings coming Monday: Holiday sales, the cloud and freebies

Microsoft plans to release its quarterly earnings after the stock market closes on Monday afternoon.

Not to spoil the surprise, but Microsoft almost certainly pulled in a ton of money during the last three months of 2014. How much, and where, exactly, is what Wall Street analysts are going to focus on.

Here are some things to watch out for:

Holiday sales. Microsoft, as usual, flooded the airwaves with ads (this year focused on selling its Surface Pro 3 tablet), and offered discounts and software bundles to get folks to buy an Xbox. Microsoft’s occasionally maligned Surface unit narrowly turned a profit in the three months ended in September (by a metric that excludes advertising and other costs). Did the Surface, mammoth holiday ad campaign and all, turn in another positive performance?

Record revenue, lower profits. Analysts polled by Bloomberg think Microsoft racked up a record $26.3 billion in sales in the quarter. But Microsoft’s profit is expected to dip, to about $6 billion (71 cents a share, excluding one-time items), from $6.56 billion (78 cents a share) a year earlier. Why? Part of the reason is Microsoft is now firmly embedded in the hardware business after buying Nokia‘s phone unit. Hardware is typically a lower margin business than software. Think of it this way: for every phone or Xbox Microsoft sells, the company has to buy the parts and labor to put it together. Copies of Microsoft Office software can be sold by the millions with much less in embedded costs. Holiday sales, weighted as they are toward gadgets, tend to drag on Microsoft’s profitability.


Comments | More in Financial | Topics: earnings, microsoft, second quarter earnings

December 3, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Microsoft board approves dividend, makes diversity tweak to governance language

Redmond continues to ship its dimes and pennies to the investing public. Microsoft’s board on Wednesday declared a cash dividend of 31 cents, the second straight quarterly dividend at that figure. The dividend will be paid on March 12, to shareholders as of Feb. 19. Microsoft executives at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday were asked why they, in September,…


Comments | More in Corporate governance, Financial | Topics: board, dividend, jesse jackson

December 1, 2014 at 6:50 AM

Microsoft shares benefiting from Redmond’s investor-friendly side

It’s not just warm feelings about Satya Nadella that have Microsoft shares trading near a 14-year high.

Excitement at the vision of Microsoft’s chief executive has played a role in the near doubling of Microsoft shares in the past two years, sure (for more on that, see my analysis of the rise from Sunday’s paper). But analysts say cost cuts and a healthy dose of financial engineering are also a major part of the story.

Microsoft spent $27.9 billion during its past two fiscal years to make its stock more attractive to investors. About 60 percent of that was paid in cash dividends, while the rest went to repurchase the company’s shares. By comparison, Microsoft spent $21.8 billion on research and development in that same period.


Comments | More in Financial | Topics: dividend, layoffs, microsoft

May 11, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Microsoft to offer debt

Update 5:08 p.m.: Microsoft confirmed that it will issue $3.75 billion in long-term debt and gave more details on the breakdown. They will offer $2 billion of 2.95 percent notes due June 1, 2014; $1 billion of 4.2 percent notes due June 1, 2019; and $750 million of 5.2 percent notes due June 1, 2039. Update 1:11…


Comments | More in Financial, Microsoft

April 23, 2009 at 7:00 AM

Replay the Microsoft earnings liveblog

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Microsoft earnings liveblog! Here’s the link to the earnings release. And click below for a replay of the liveblog. [do action=”custom_iframe” url=”″ scrolling=”no” height=”550px” width=”632px” frameBorder =”0″ >Liveblogging Microsoft’s Earnings Call


Comments | More in Financial, Microsoft

April 22, 2009 at 2:57 PM

Microsoft earnings preview, come back tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. for the liveblog

We will be liveblogging Microsoft’s third-quarter earnings call tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. so come back, click in and share your thoughts on the tech giant’s report card. Here’s what to look for in the earnings call. Analysts are expecting a weak quarter as the general state of the economy has pressured businesses to pull back…


Comments | More in Financial, Microsoft, Netbooks, Yahoo

March 12, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Billionaire Bill, down $18 billion, is back on top of Forbes list

Scroogeswim.jpg The Forbes list of the world’s richest people is practically a rite of spring around here. Are we home to the richest, second richest or, gasp, third richest person in the world? This year, as billionaires around the world saw their fortunes cut by the global economic downturn, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates lost the least among the top three — $18 billion — and edged back to the top spot on the list with about $40 billion in his money bin. Gates’ friend and partner-in-philanthropy Warren Buffett is No. 2 on the list, with $37 very large. (He had moved to No. 1 in last year’s survey.) Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu, who surpassed Gates as world’s richest in summer 2007 (by a different estimate), is third on the global list with $35 billion. Another software titan, Larry Ellison of Oracle, leaped from 14th in 2008 to 4th, at $22.5 billion.


Comments | More in Bill Gates, Compensation, Financial, Miscellaneous, Personalities, Philanthropy, Steve Ballmer, Tech Economy

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