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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.

Topic: windows

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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.

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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.

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

August 27, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Parallels launches iPad app that makes your PC or Mac apps run like iOS apps

Could Parallels’ new app make the question of whether Microsoft will release Office on iPad a moot one?

Renton-based Parallels is launching Parallels Access, an iPad app that allows users to tunnel into their Mac or Windows-based PC, and then remotely use those apps on the iPad as if those apps were made for the iPad.

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: ipad, mac, office

August 26, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Five challenges and five advantages facing Microsoft’s new CEO

[In case you missed it, this story ran Sunday in the print edition of The Seattle Times. Also, here is my colleague, Brier Dudley’s column on retiring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s legacy.] There was Windows Vista, but then came Windows 7. There was the Kin, but there was also the Xbox. The company fell way behind…

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: ceo, cloud, office

August 22, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Former Windows head Steven Sinofsky joining Andreessen Horowitz

Former Windows President Steven Sinofsky (Photo from Microsoft)

Former Windows President Steven Sinofsky (Photo from Microsoft)

Former Windows President Steven Sinofsky has become a board partner in venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

As a board partner, Sinofsky will represent Andreessen Horowitz on the boards of portfolio companies “when the opportunities present themselves,” but will not be a full-time member of the firm, he wrote in his blog, Learning by Shipping.

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: steven sinofsky, windows

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