Back when I was a VP at a publicly-traded search marketing firm, I learned one thing: I would never make a good CFO.
It’s not that I can’t use a calculator, I just get soooo bored looking at cash flow statements, P&Ls, etc. We’d have our auditor in for meetings and I’d do my best to be busy “optimizing an important client’s web site!”
But, I’m not completely ignorant, so I’m sorry Microsoft, you can’t pull the wool over my eyes. You may say (emphasis added),
“Windows 7 continues to be a growth engine, but we also saw strong growth in other areas like Bing search, Xbox LIVE and our emerging cloud services,”
according to Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. But when I look at your numbers, I can’t help but see this:
Now, last time I checked, a loss of $713 million was worse than $411 million.
Now, there could be a bunch of reasons for this discrepency. Maybe Bing did well, but other “online services” sucked wind. Perhaps the “strong growth” was the few points of market share that Bing picked up since launch.
What I do know is that the numbers don’t lie: Microsoft continues to struggle with its online services division.