backtop


Print 53 comment(s) - last by robinthakur.. on May 6 at 5:47 AM


Many investors feel Microsoft is fading, despite strong earnings. Apple, which recently passed Microsoft in profit for the first time since 1990 also recently passed Microsoft in terms of market cap. IBM -- another old rival -- is expected to soon do the same.   (Source: AP)

Investors fear that tablet and mobile devices will eventually minimalize PC sales, leading to Microsoft to go from a market leader to a bit player.  (Source: Level Ten Design)
You just can't please some people

Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) market cap -- a measure of the total current value of shares -- rests at $219.9B USD.  While that may sound great, competitor Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) cap is nearly 46 percent higher at $320.5B USD.

In all practicality, both companies are firing on all cylinders.  But Microsoft is earning far less respect for its work.

Fueled by record sales of its Windows 7 operating system and Office software suite, Reuters I/B/E/S expects Microsoft to post a profit of $4.7B USD.  That's approximately 27 percent less than Apple's record earnings of $5.99B USD.  But as you can see, the gap in share value is much larger, percentage wise, than the gap in profit.

There's much debate currently over the investment community's low valuation of Microsoft.  Basically, it largely boils down to that investors perceive companies like Google and Apple to be growing, while they feel Microsoft is fading in the market.

Sales don't currently agree.

Microsoft is expected to earn a record $16.2B USD in its third fiscal quarter (the first calendar quarter of 2011).  And sales for its Entertainment and Devices Division (Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360, etc.) are also rapidly growing.

But at the end of the day investors appear convinced that Microsoft is in for a rough landing.  They eye the fact that the company has been passed by Apple in profit for the first time since 1990.  And they also are well aware that International Business Machines (IBM) -- another foe Microsoft passed in the 1990s -- may soon pass it in value as well.  It currently sits at a market cap of $206.3B USD.

Following the post recession recovery the entire tech market is booming, but the investors' strongest evidence in their case against Microsoft may be PC sales.  Over the first three months of 2011, PC sales fell 1 percent.  It is believed that is largely due to the sharp rise in tablet and smart phone sales.  People are still buying PCs -- but they're doing so less frequently as they increasingly rely on mobile devices.  And that's troubling news for Microsoft, who has struggled thus far in the mobile sector.

Michael Yoshikami, Chief Executive of fund manager YCMNET Advisors is among those very concerned with this development.  In an interview with Reuters, he states:

What people are going to be focused on is what's happening with their core PC business.  Is that slowing down? That's really going to dictate what Microsoft's future earnings power is going to look like.  In the long term, their core cash flow business is going to be impacted, particularly if we start to see an ASP (application service provider) model where companies are essentially renting software.

His comments allude to a second major crisis facing Microsoft -- advertising supported and rented software.  Both forms of software tend to produce lower revenues.  And most of Microsoft's profit is still driven by software sales -- particularly the sales of business licenses.  As business software giants like SalesForce.com Inc. (CRM) and Google Inc. (GOOG) offer rented software, Microsoft finds its earnings under assault on a second front.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Growth is the big thing here
By KoolAidMan1 on 4/28/2011 3:06:23 AM , Rating: 2
Apple has doubled their gross revenue for three years in a row now, with absolutely no end or slowdown in sight. Microsoft's YoY revenue growth is much flatter in comparison. Stock prices factor future revenue growth as well as current revenue. It is why companies like AAPL and GOOG continue to grow, because the profits of those companies grow at a corresponding rate, while "mature" companies like Microsoft, Coke, Proctor & Gamble, etc etc, have much flatter stock charts. Growth isn't a factor in those stock prices anymore. It is also a reason why they pay out dividends to their shareholders.

The fact that Apple continues to grow revenue like this while making more than any other tech company out there is why they are priced this way relative to Microsoft.




By KoolAidMan1 on 4/28/2011 3:09:30 AM , Rating: 2
That said, IBM is surprising me bigtime. I don't keep up with them and I had no idea that their business was doing so well. I knew that Apple would surpass Microsoft in market cap, that didn't surprise me. IBM is a big one though, good for them.


“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki