Microsoft is neither micro, nor soft
It was a momentous week for the venerable (in personal computing terms, at least) company: it finally, officially, launched its new operating system Windows 7 on Thursday and released its 3rd quarter results on Friday. Windows 7 is variously called “the Mac killer” or “Microsoft's way to apologise for Vista”, its previous high-volume operating system. Software critics and pundits mostly liked what they saw. Also, it looks as if the number of apparent bugs is relatively small this time around. Windows 7 started its life as part of many a bargain: in the US, for example, the retail chain Best Buy was offering HP Slimline desktop, laptop and netbook, together with an LCD, a wireless router and set-up service, all for $1,199. A pretty good deal, we think. As the weekend sales were drawing to an end, Microsoft was "pleased" with the "strong consumer demand" for Windows 7, whatever that means.
On Friday, however, it was back to the usual corporate game of results reporting and finding the best way to make them look good. Microsoft reported net profits of $3.57bn (£2.18bn), down 18% from the same period in 2008. The revenue actually dropped 14%, but the company attributed that to the tough market conditions and the obligatory free upgrades from the awful Vista to the already-mentioned Windows 7, for the buyers who had enough brains to request it. The drop was actually good news for the industry that was expecting a much bigger slump, so this latest chapter by the company founded by Bill Gates should make them pretty cheerful. And the shares jumped 7.5% on the day.
Read more: AP, Business Week, Christian Science Monitor